Fall Foliage: Where to Go See Autumn's Aspens
Where to See the Aspen’s On Colorado’s Western Slope
There’s nothing quite like fall in Colorado, and September can be an ideal time to check out the famous color-changing aspens as they begin to turn bright yellow.
Fall will be here before we know it! Start planning your fall foliage trips now and consider adding these top Western Slope spots to your itinerary.
Watch Aspen come alive with color in the fall
It makes sense that Aspen would be a great place to see some stunning fall foliage. There are tons of places to watch the aspens turn in and around Aspen:
- Maroon Bells. This postcard-perfect spot is popular for a reason, so be prepared to share the views with other visitors.
- Independence Pass. This scenic road is surrounded by gorgeous quaking aspens and the entire path turns bright yellow when the leaves reach their peak. Again, expect traffic and crowds due to the area’s popularity. You can also pull off of the road along one of the many parking areas. A short walk deeper into the woods is a great way to stretch your legs and find some solitude.
- Castle Creek Road. This road makes for a lovely scenic drive or bike ride, and it leaves town via the same roundabout you take to the Maroon Bells. Plenty of hikes take off from Castle Creek Road, but the ghost town of Ashcroft is one can’t-miss highlight. Take a walk through history as you marvel at the changing leaves.
Fall foliage in Gunnison and Crested Butte
Whether you want to hike, bike, or drive, Gunnison and nearby Crested Butte pack a lot of color into the scenery.
If you’re game for a lung-busting hike or mountain biking excursion, try the Dyke Trail. It’s a 13.9-mile loop with stunning views of the Ruby Range, Anthracite Mountains, and all of the fall color you can handle.
If you’d prefer to drive, exploring Kebler Pass is a well-loved fall tradition in Colorado. In fact, there are a number of scenic drives that meander around this part of the state. This guide from GunnisonCrestedButte.com gives you the ins and outs of six of the best fall drives in the area.
Watching the leaves change in Pagosa Springs
Let’s finish our fall foliage guide with something a bit different. Pagosa Springs isn’t as popular as other areas for leaf viewing, but it should be. There are several scenic trails, roads, and aspen forests in the area, including these two spots:
- Nipple Mountain Road. This long drive will take you through lovely aspen forests, and the options for side trips are plentiful. If you find a Forest Service road that looks appealing (and your vehicle can handle the terrain), be sure to take it!
Opal Lake Hike. If hiking is more your style, this steep but short hike will take you through spruce and fir, and then aspen groves as you gain elevation. Opal Lake is a sight to behold. The water’s mineral content gives it its milky appearance.