Places to See the Leaves Change in Colorado

As the lush greens of summer fade into muted hues, fall is perhaps the most visually stunning of seasons in Colorado. The most important thing to consider when seeing the fall foliage in Colorado is the timing of your trip. Here’s how to make the most of the changes of autumn in the great Colorado outdoors with a destination highlight to Royal Gorge Bridge and Park!

Mid-September
Mid-September is the beginning of change in Colorado: the aspen leaves start to turn from green shades to golden hues, the temperatures cool off, and the daylight hours shorten. Now is the time to start your hunt for fall colors in Colorado’s forests to about mid-October when the changes are done.

The Pikes Peak Region, which includes the mountain towns of Cripple Creek and Woodland Park, is one of the best spots to visit in Colorado for the fall colors. The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park is an adventurous stop in the area to add more excitement, magnificent views, and a little bit of adrenaline to your trip.

Another must-see area in Colorado for fall colors is Rocky Mountain National Park, about an hour and a half drive west of Denver. The high aspens near Bear Lake is a premier spot in the park. Whether you take the scenic drive over Trail Ridge Road or an adventurous mountain hike, you’re sure to see beautiful fall colors here.

Keep in mind the visits to high elevations, about 9,000 feet above sea level and higher, will reveal the aspen leaves changing colors earlier than lower elevations of cities like Colorado Springs.

Early October
By October, your leaf-peeping trips should be happening in lower elevations. A scenic drive full of color this time of year is the Peak-to-Peak Scenic Byway along Colorado Highway 7 to Highway 72. Mountain towns, panoramic views, and more glowing aspens are the highlights of this drive.

A great detour from the Peak-to-Peak Byway is at Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Go on a hike, have a picnic, and take in the views of the rugged peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park and more fall colors that paint the landscape.

Evergreen is a small mountain town in Colorado that makes another great destination on this fall colors road trip. Evergreen is deceptively named for its wooded forests, which also include aspens full of color this time of year.

Mid-October
As most aspens in Colorado’s high elevation mountains lose their leaves around mid-October, this is the time to see the last of the splashes of yellow, orange and gold. Visit lower elevation foothills like Rampart Range, Pikes Peak, and Phantom Canyon. Nearby towns and cities include Colorado Springs, Cripple Creek, Woodland Park, and Cañon City.

Overall, Colorado has a seemingly endless number of destinations to catch the mesmerizing colors of fall. The landmarks mentioned here are a good starting point to start planning your leaf-peeping adventure in Colorado. Don’t forget to visit the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park to witness and walk across the historic bridge 956 feet over Colorado’s favorite section of the Arkansas River!

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