Where are the best places to see fall colors in Colorado?

Posted by Mic Ortega on Thursday, September 29th, 2011 at 6:07pm.

Where are the best place to see fall colors in Colorado this year? If you ask Denverites their favorite time of year, I would guess a majority would say fall. Sure the weather is usually perfect, and there are lots of fun events around town. But I am confident the real reason is the incredible color display that Mother Nature displays for us lucky enough to live in Colorado this time of year.

So where is the best place to view these amazing displays of gold, orange and red? Depends on how far you are willing to travel really. There are plenty of options within an hour or so of Denver. Luckily, more and more websites are popping up with a full list of these drives with great directions.

One of the best I found is Channel 7's guide, found here. They list as a short drive, one of my personal favorites, Guanella Pass between Georgetown and Grant. If you do this drive, make sure to head a little further south to Kenosha Pass on US-285 when leaving Grant though to see an incredible display of aspens overlooking the high plains of Fairplay.

When you are driving for one specific reason, then spending all day in a car checking out the scenery doesn't seem so bad. Because of this, then it is worth considering some of their recommended longer drives to see the most spectacular scenery Colorado has to offer. Independence Pass, Kenosha Pass and Grand Mesa are all spectacular and ones I highly recommend.

My all time favorite place to see fall colors in Colorado though has to be Kebler pass between Crested Butte and Paonia. This pass is 35 miles long and for 90% of the drive you travel through one of the largest aspen stands in the entire world. It is truly amazing and a must see. From there you can visit Cottonwood Pass which is impressive in its own right, along with McClure Pass. These three with Independence Pass can be combined for a perfect loop and can be just the right distance for an overnight trip. But be warned. Once you experience these passes, you will have to come back for more every single year.

So now you know my favorite spots, what are yours? Please comment and let us all know where else to check out Colorado’s fall colors off the beaten path.

2 Responses to "Where are the best places to see fall colors in Colorado?"

Irene Glazer wrote: Jeeez Mic -- this sounds like a lot of carbon emissions. I think looking at the apens from my computer screen is just as gratifying ;)

I would also recommend Buffalo Peaks Wilderness area. I drove my Chevy S10 extendo-cab there this past weekend, and it was amazing. It's one of the newest wilderness areas, so doesn't have the crowds just yet.
Watch out for the aspen-gawkers when going over Guannella pass, they are dazed and confused, and very dangerous to us carbon emitters.

Posted on Friday, September 30th, 2011 at 7:21am.

Jackson wrote: Jackass Pass over highway 40 is spectacular. And if your really feeling ambitious, hike into the Flat Top Wilderness to experience a seemingly ELECTRIC display of red, orange and yellow.

Posted on Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 at 2:07pm.

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