Best Spots for Viewing Fall Colors in Colorado
Every year Colorado shows off it’s amazing landscapes putting on a dazzling show of vibrant colors. This year, because of the rain fall and warmer than usual temperatures, you still have a chance to take in the rich glaring golds, ambers, reds and glowing golden bronze in person. Here are our top picks for the best spots for viewing the fall colors in Colorado!
Rocky Mountain National Park –
Trail Ridge Road was constructed in Rocky Mountain National Park in 1931. Not much has changed in 85 years, which makes this the perfect spot to view autumn aspen trees right here in Northern Colorado. 48 miles through the park between Estes Park and Grand Lake. With 11 miles of the drive above the treeline, you can see the whole aspen covered landscape for miles!
The aspens begin turning from green to yellow in mid-September and the trees in the park provide crisp shades of gold and sometimes red into October. While hiking is the ideal way to experience the golden colors, you can also drive through the park to enjoy the views. Bear Lake Road, the Peak to Peak National Scenic Byway, the Cache la Poudre National Scenic Byway, and the Colorado River Headwaters National Scenic Byway make for ideal drives for fall color. This is also one of the best spots to see Elk!!!
National Park passes are valid in Rocky Mountain National Park, and one- and seven-day passes for cars and motorcycles are available online, as are passes for walking or biking into the park.
Kebler Pass and Crested Butte –
One of the most photographed areas in Colorado during fall — covers the 30 miles between Crested Butte and Highway 133. The road follows Coal Creek west from town to over 10,000 feet past the old Keystone Mine. It also passes through the once booming mining towns.
Along the way, there are turnouts and trails for walking and photographing the beautiful scenery.
Peak to Peak Highway:
This drive on Colorado Highway 7 from Estes Park to Central City/Black Hawk takes you along the eastern edge of Rocky Mountain National Park and offers excellent viewing. Drive this in the morning, as the majority of the aspen are to the west and will be lit up by the morning sun. Peak to Peak Scenic and Historic Byway is Colorado’s oldest scenic byway a three-hour drive through some of the most historic and interesting sights in our state. Along the way, you’ll pass ghost towns Hesse and Apex, multiple mining areas, and acres of aspen stands. https://estes-park.com/peak-to-peak-scenic-byway/
Georgetown Loop Railroad –
Take a ride on the historic Georgetown Loop Railroad between Georgetown and Silver Plume, only about an hour and half drive from Fort Collins and you’ll travel right through the colorful trees. Passengers enjoy the fall foliage, mountain views, and fun visits to mines and old mining towns. In October, the railroad features Pumpkin Fest and Oktoberfest events. Visit their website to plan your visit: https://www.georgetownlooprr.com/
Duango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad –
Make a weekend trip of it!!!!! If you want to see rushing rivers, hillsides of golden aspen, and cross high trestles in a historic train, the popular Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, based in Durango, Colorado, has a range of fall excursions, special events and even has a special domed observation car where you can get an amazing view of the cliffs and forests that you will pass.
The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad winds through breathtaking canyons in the wilderness of the 2-million-acre San Juan National Forest. You’ll travel aboard historic railroad cars pulled by a coal-fired, steam-powered locomotive and stop for lunch in the historic town of Silverton. Have lunch in an old saloon and listen to the honky-tonk piano player, shop for souvenirs, or just take pictures of the iconic steam engine as it readies for the return trip. https://www.durangotrain.com/
Routt National Forest –
Near Steamboat Springs, Buffalo Pass is a 15 mile dirt road across the top of the Park Range of the Rockies. From 6,700 feet of elevation in Steamboat to 10,400 at Summit Lake Campground, you’ll pass numerous hiking trails, campgrounds and alpine lakes before arriving above tree line. We promise the trek will be worth it! From the top, you’ll find a 360 degree view of the aspen groves below.
These are just a few ideas to get you started, there are hundreds of options to choose from, tell us your favorite fall viewing spot!
Stay tuned for more information on local Halloween & Harvest Festivals in Northern Colorado!!