It’s your last chance to catch the fall foliage in Colorado‘s Rocky Mountains these next few weeks. Although the entire state of Colorado seems to be yellow, there are a few select areas in the mountains that take the cake.
The creme de la creme of aspen groves can be found in the area surrounding Aspen. Maroon Bells, Cathedral Lake, Carter Lake, Capital Creek, and Conundrum Peak are some of the most sought-after hikes in Pitkin County during the year and have some of the largest aspen habitats in the country. To the northwest in Garfield County, Glenwood Springs is home to terrific color. You can visit Red Mountain with views of Mt. Sopris and the Roaring Fork Valley or take a drive to Sunlight Mountain Resort on Four Mile Road, where the hills are alive with every shade of fall. It’s a photographer’s dream in this area of the state!
Byways and passes are some of the best ways to see fall colors in Colorado without taking an entire weekend away from football. The Peak to Peak byway near Estes Park, Guanella Pass, Kenosha Pass, and Cottonwood Pass are some of the best in the state.
- As you drive up the Peak to Peak byway out of Blackhawk you are thrown into a sea of yellow. The byway has groves located on National Forest land and multiple hikes can be found along the highway to fully immerse yourself in pumpkin-spice latte color.
- Kenosha Pass will take you from Conifer to Fairplay. Kenosha is home to multiple day hikes to alpine lakes and strewn with aspens.
- Cottonwood Pass is another favorite, but a little further from the Denver metro area. Cottonwood will take you from Buena Vista to Gunnison and is less traveled than most of the other passes. While the weather permits, take a weekend trip up to get the last views of fall before the pass closes!
- If you need a respite from the traffic on I-70, Guanella Pass takes you from Georgetown, through aspen and conifer trees, and past multiple hikes to alpine lakes. If you get up early enough, you can take Guanella to the base of Mt. Bierstadt for unencumbered views.
Although a lot of the most vibrant colors are found at higher mountain elevations, there are a few hidden groves in the front range. Golden Gate State Park, Chautauqua, Morrison, and Roxborough State Park all have incredible day hikes immersed in aspen trees.
Put on your sweater and get outside before the snow hits!