It’s all over the local news: Colorado’s autumn aspen foliage is changing sooner than usual this year! It’s the perfect time to take advantage of this beautiful late-summer weather, and see some of the most beautiful foliage in the West. Why not take some time to schedule your own fall-foliage trip to the Rockies?
We here at TruLog love the mountains in the fall. So we’ve put together a handy guide to viewing Colorado at its best!
First of all, timing is important. Since the latitude and elevation of the Rockies is so variable, the aspens change in stages. Starting at the northernmost parts of the state, aspen leaves start to change around the middle of September. On towards Gunnison and the San Luis Valley, the aspen leaves turn closer to the middle of October. All in all, you’ve got about a month to plan your trip.
But where do you go to see the best aspen leaves?
That all depends on what you’re feeling! There are hundreds of places in the Colorado Rockies to see beautiful fall colors, from the well-traveled to the hidden gems. For instance, one of the most popular destinations in Colorado is Maroon Peak and the Maroon Bells, just north of Crested Butte. But how about Mt. Elbert and the rest of the White River National Forest? Featuring some of the best hikes in the state, the White River National Forest is a great place to take a couple end-of-the-season hikes. Just be sure to prepare for high country winter weather!
If hiking isn’t your speed, that’s all right. There are a lot of options to get your fair share of autumn color! If you’re so inclined, take a trip along the Peak to Peak Byway, just outside of Estes Park, CO. Known nationwide for its gorgeous views, the highway just recently recovered from the flooding that ate away at portions of it a few years ago. Before the snow flies, you can drive the length of the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway from Golden all the way up to Estes park. A perfect autumn road-trip!
How about the out-of-the-way destinations?
There are a couple of other destinations that may be a little lighter on the traffic than those we just mentioned. We’re split– on the one hand, it’s tempting to keep these destinations to ourselves. But on the other, if you want the real Colorado autumn experience, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than Fairplay, CO and the Pike National Forest. Some of our favorite autumn foliage is along the trails near Sheep Ridge– beautiful creekside aspen groves galore!
If you’re looking for outdoor adventure, keep checking back to TruLog’s Blog! We’ve got the low-down on the best wilderness experiences out there!