As much as we don’t want to think about it, Summer is almost over. With the end of Summer comes crisp air, cool temperatures, and perhaps most important of all, mountainsides turning gold. The fall colors in Colorado are very different than many of the places to the east. In Colorado, there is one main color, aspen gold. Walking through an aspen grove filled with golden light from all of the yellow leaves, looking up thousands of feet at snowcapped mountains while under a cloudless blue sky is something that draws people into the mountains every year. It’s something that has to be experienced.
So when are the best times to see the changing fall colors?
Some of our favorite places to see Colorado’s fall colors:
Guanella Pass between Georgetown and Grant gives fall color searchers a chance to see the colors at elevations between 9,000 and above. While the pass hits a high of 11,670, the pass is home to a 14,000-foot peak (Mt Bierstadt), so you can see the colors turning over a wide variety of elevations. With hillsides full of Aspen trees on both sides of the pass, this is a popular area for photographers.
The Maroon Bells, near Aspen, may be a bit of a drive from Denver, but thousands make the drive during the fall to take a photo of the Maroon Bells with the turning leaves reflecting in Maroon Lake.
Castle Creek Road
Castle Creek Road leaves Aspen through the same roundabout as the road to the Maroon Bells. The road itself travels through miles of aspen filled mountainsides as it transitions from mostly private property to National Forest and many popular hiking destinations. However, the one destination that sets this road apart from many others maybe the Ashcroft ghost town. A small ghost town renovated several decades ago, this ghost town is nestled amongst aspen trees with views of many more.
Peak to Peak Scenic Byway
The 55-mile long Peak to Peak byway provides wonderful views of the continental divide from Estes Park in the north to Blackhawk and I-70 to the south. The Peak to Peak is a wonderful drive any time of the year but comes alive in the fall when aspen light up all along the route.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Two of the most popular fall color hikes are the trail to Bierstadt Lake and Alberta Falls. It is nearly impossible to describe the beauty you will encounter while hiking along the Glacier Creek Trail to Alberta Falls. Thick aspen stands line the trail, their white scarred bark clashing against the yellow-golden hue emitting from their leaves. Check with the park rangers for their advice on where to go.