Tags Posts tagged with "fall"


By Matt Payne, 

One of my favorite parts of living in Colorado is the fall colors that come each September and October. Over the years, I’ve come to note in my mind the best areas to view fall colors around the state, and I thought I’d share my top five areas with you!

1. Dallas Divide

Not only is the Dallas Divide home to some of my favorite mountains to climb, it is also home to some of the most breathtaking areas for fall foliage. Start in the town of Ridgway, which is located south of Montrose. You will see the mighty 14er, Mount Sneffels as you enter Ridgway. Mount Sneffels is one of my favorite mountains to climb. From there, head west on Colorado Highway 62 over the Dallas Divide. You will be afforded incredible, classic views of the Sneffels Wilderness Area and a bounty of color will explode before your eyes from the aspen trees. At Placerville, drive southeast toward Telluride on Colorado Highway 145. From here, you will head towards Lizard Head Pass and see incredible views of Wilson Peak, which I climbed back in July. Did you also know that Wilson Peak is featured on the Coors Beer can?

2. West Elks and Kebler Pass

I’ve not had the chance to visit this area yet, but through my admiration of one of Colorado’s best photographers, Kane Engelbert, I feel like this is one of the best areas for viewing fall colors in the country. To get there, head west out of Crested Butte on Gunnison County Road 12. You will be immediately pleased by the fall colors in this area. The aptly named Ruby Range add contrast and more color as you continue. This would be a great area to stop and hike in. At Colorado Highway 133, you should drive north toward McClure Pass for more incredible colors and opportunities for incredible fall hiking.

3. Maroon Bells – Snowmass Wilderness Area

The Maroon Bells are quite possibly the most photographed mountains in the world, and it is really no wonder as to why. The fall colors, as seen in this area, are quite splendid indeed. I feel that this area needs no further introduction, and examples can be found in the slideshow. According to the Colorado Tourism website, on weekends in September, access to the Maroon Bells is limited to shuttle buses that leave Aspen on a regular basis. But if you reserve a campsite along Maroon Creek Road, you can drive your vehicle all the way to the scenic Maroon Lake. This whole area is incredible – I visited it twice this year, once to backpack to Snowmass Lake, and another time to climb Snowmass Mountain and Hagerman Peak.

4. Cottonwood Pass

The mighty Sawatch Mountain Range is home to several 14ers and 13ers, including some of the best fall colors around. When driving in from the east on Highway 285, the majestic Mount Princeton greets you with huge groves of aspen at its base. Driving up to Cottonwood Pass places you between both Princeton and Mount Yale, another huge 14er. As you pass beneath the 14ers, you’ll find yourself in a valley full of aspen trees ranging from green to gold. Last year, I was able to view all of this from the summit of six 13ers, all in one day!

5. Guanella Pass Scenic and Historic Byway

To reach this superb area, drive south out of the historic town of Georgetown to the summit of 11,699 ft. Guanella Pass. The changing aspen are pretty amazing, especially on the south side of the pass. Turn right on US Highway 285 and take the highway for 15 minutes to the top of Kenosha Pass, where you will be afforded more incredible views of aspen trees near South Park.

By Anthony Dezenzio,

Experience an exciting rafting adventure on five of Colorado’s best known rivers – the Arkansas River, Colorado River, Dolores River, Gunnison River and the North Platte River. It’s an adventure that thrill seekers will enjoy. The great Colorado outdoors offers something for everyone – from horseback riding to mountain biking.

Day trips are suitable for a wide range of activities for families with young children to the most hardened adventurers! Rafting and mountain biking trips include a complimentary continental breakfast, while day trips include lunch. If you decide on a camping trip, you will be provided with fresh prepared food. The tours offer meals and lodging to some of the area’s best bed and breakfast inns.

There is a minimum age requirement for all of the trips, depending on which one you choose. There may also be restrictions on group size depending on the trip. It’s best to check with the tour guide and website before you decide on a trip.

1/2 Day trips start around $50 with full day trips beginning at $75. Overnight camping trips with a stay at a bed and breakfast inn that includes a warm restaurant meal starts at $275/day.

By Chrissy Morin,

The color in the Rocky Mountains is at its peak September through October so plan your short trip form Denver to the Aspen Snowmass area through October to see some of the most spectacular fall color that Colorado has to offer.

Not only is the hike accessible to everyone, but once you are done with the hike you are just a short distance from Aspen for shopping, gourmet restaurants, and perhaps a bit of celebrity sighting along the Aspen mall if you are lucky.

If you’ve never been to Aspen you might think of it as a stuffy expensive place to visit however in the off (non ski) season you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the reasonable pricing at the bed and breakfasts and hotels in the area.

If you aren’t up for the full Maroon Bells hike you can also enjoy some fabulous scenery at the John Denver Memorial Tribute Park.

This spot is one of the most photographed mountain peaks in the world and once you witness it for yourself you’ll understand why.

By Josh Cooley, 

In Breckenridge, Colo., Aspens, Cottonwoods and a smattering of other deciduous trees are fully ablaze in hues of gold, yellow, red and orange.

Fall colors peak earlier here due to colder temperatures at higher elevations. With an elevation of 9,600′, Breckenridge generally sees leaves start transitioning by mid-Aug. and peak by the end of Sept.

Now’s the perfect time to explore some classic trails in and around Breckenridge to experience the full glory of fall foliage in the high country.  But hurry, it’ll go fast.  Colors are peaking in stages depending on the area and elevation during the next 10 days or so.  Many trees have already lost their leaves.

Following are five great areas to explore in and near Breckenridge on foot or mountain bike to see vibrant fall colors:

  1. French Gulch – two miles East of Breckenridge, this area has a network of mellow trails with spectacular fall colors amongst remnants of mines and views of the Breckenridge Ski Resort
  2. Boreas Pass – one of the area’s most popular destinations for viewing fall foliage with great views of the Tenmile Range
  3. Breckenridge Ski Resort – the ski area has some nice stands of Aspens on the lower sections of the mountain with mellow easy to moderate hiking trails
  4. McCullough Gulch – the trail is located seven miles south of Breckenridge off Hwy 9 and is one of the areas most scenic hikes
  5. Placer Valley/Alma, Colo. – The area from the top of Hoosier Pass on the Continental Divide to the Town of Alma is ripe with gorgeous stands of Aspens and mountain scenery.

Pick up a trail map in Breckenridge at a shop like Carvers or Christy Sports for detailed directions to trails.

By Lindsay Godfree,

One of the rewards of road trip travel is the ability to stop, explore, see the sights, and discover new places. A stop along Interstate Highway 70 between Frisco and Vail Colorado unveils the Gore Range and Wheeler trailheads leading into the White River National Forest. A quick walk reveals hidden beauty of scenic views, colorful wildflowers and blue mountain lake reflections.

Wheeler Trail goes to the top of the pass and is part of both the Wheeler National Recreational Trail and the Colorado Trail. It climbs steadily through spruce-fir and lodge-pole pine forest for spectacular views of the Gore Range, Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, French Gulch, and the Front Range.

The Gore Range Trail is an easy, but long, 16 mile trail that runs the north-south length of the Dillon Ranger District portion of the Eagles Nest Wilderness and finishes in the Spring Creek area north of Green Mountain Reservoir. Hikers appreciate the mountain lakes and scenic vistas found on this trek.

According to the Forest Service, White River National Forest is the most visited recreation forest in the country.  This forest is a world-renowned recreation destination with more than 10 million visitors per year.

With National Forest that spans 2.3 million acres, and includes 8 Wilderness areas, 12 ski resorts, 4 major reservoirs, 10 peaks higher than 14,000 feet in elevation and 2,500 miles of trails. It is easy to see why it is so popular.