Colorado Fall Foliage 2023 – Some of the first aspen leaves change on the last weekend of September 2021 in the humid mountains west of Pueblo along Hwy 165.
The third week of September is usually great for leaf viewing in the high country. But Alex Rudney, a U.S. Forest Service forester in Chaffee County, said this year’s unusual outbreak of a pest species known as the Greater Aspen Tortrix destroyed tens of thousands of acres of aspen foliage in southern Colorado last spring.
Colorado Fall Foliage 2023
“It’s hard to predict the whole mountain range worth the colors, I’ve never seen (so widespread),” he said, “but I doubt it would be any less bright than it was without it.”
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Rudney said the leaves have grown, but they are thinner than normal and it is not clear what caused the damage.
He said there may be some areas that are not affected by the moth. The color change begins at a very high altitude, around 11,000 feet, which is the normal time. But that can change quickly, he said, depending on temperature and weather conditions. Later in September, State Highway 165 between Rye and Lake Isabel in the Pike San Isabel Forest west of Pueblo can get some good colors.
According to Rudney, State Highway 50 through Monarch Pass also has leaf-viewing potential, as do Cottonwood Pass and Aspen Ridge in Chaffee County.
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Other trees can make good mirror displays. “While most people go for the aspen, the oak can be very beautiful,” he said. State Highway 12 west of La Veta is where the oak leaves can be seen changing.
Cottonwoods, which grow at low elevations in valleys and river areas, are usually the last trees to change color. “So if you miss the peak season in the highlands,” you can always visit the backcountry later in mid-autumn to late October, where you’ll also see the most vibrant colors. Poplar trees often line the Arkansas River and other waterways.
No matter where you look at the changing colors, Rudney said, “It’s always an adventure. You’re looking for beautiful colors, and you never know what you’re going to find. So go out and try it.”
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Even if the colors aren’t what you’d hoped for, you’ll still see beautiful views, so it’s a day never to be wasted, and a reminder to be prepared for a change in high country weather.
Southern Colorado is changing a lot these days. We can help you save. Subscribe to KRCC’s Weekly Digest and get stories important to Southern Colorado delivered to your inbox. Fall leaves typically arrive in Colorado between mid-September and mid-October, but this can vary by season as it depends on the temperature. However, seeing the colors in colorful Colorado is worth the effort. This western state has the largest number of aspen trees in the United States. Your eyes will never forget to witness the dazzling golden streaks in the Colorado mountains as the skylights turn into a glowing barn.
Within a 2-hour drive from Denver, you can experience five different climate zones. This means that Denver and its surrounding areas have the longest streak of color of any city in the United States.
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The most popular tourist destination in Colorado is Rocky Mountain National Park, located 120 km northwest of Denver. During the third and fourth week of September, the park is completely transformed into golden tones. The biggest attraction in the park is Bear Lake Trail, which connects Upper Beaver Meadows and Bear Lake. This 22-mile drive offers spectacular views, as well as access to many hiking trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, and the Moraine Park Discovery Center. Some of the most popular fall hiking trails in the area include the Alberta Falls, Bear Lake and Wild Pool Trails.
Where to Stay You can camp overnight at Glazer Basin Campground or Sprague Lake Campground. Accommodation at Rocky Mountain Resort is also available.
Estes Park serves as the base for Rocky Mountain National Park in northern Colorado. Trail Ridge Road is one of the park’s most scenic hiking trails. The road is part of US Highway 34 from Estes Park through Rocky Mountain National Park to Grand Lake. It is also known as the Beaver Meadow National Scenic Byway. Trail Ridge Road boasts a postcard view of greens to yellows and bronzes in September.
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Another scenic drive is the Peak to Peak Highway, which leads south to Mount Evans. How about combining the beauty of fall foliage with the mating rituals of the giant elms in Estes Park? Dusk and dawn are the best times to hear elk blood. This unique mating call is unintelligible and sounds like a hum!
Where to Stay There are many cabin rental options in Estes Park, such as the YMCA of the Rockies or Fall River Village Resort. Make sure to book in advance as the leaf season is very popular with tourists.
Guanella Pass is an hour’s drive from Denver. Aspen leaves turn a beautiful yellow along the way, turning Colorado green this way. The pass rises to an elevation of 11,670 feet (3,557 m), with Bierstadt and Evans mountains visible in the distance.
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The towns of Crested Butte and Aspen are known for their great fall views. These ski resorts are surrounded by impressive shades of bright yellow and golden bronze.
Take a scenic drive through Kebler Pass, a scenic high mountain road between Crest Butte and Paonia. The route runs from West Crest Butte to Highway 133 near the town of Somerset Mountain. The route runs from approximately mid-June to mid-October.
On your way from Crested Butte to Aspen, stop at Crystal Mill, an even more spectacular spot surrounded by golden aspens. The road to Crystal Mill follows the glittering Crystal River through the mountains of the White River National Forest. Spend some time along the 13 km long Crystal Mill Trail, open from late May to late November.
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Where to Stay Crystal Mill offers cabin accommodation. Crested Butte and Aspen have many hotels ranging from luxury to budget.
The stunning San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado will delight any foliage lover with their beautiful scenery. Last Dollar Lane is the number one trend in October. Colors range from red to golden yellow. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy the spectacular views of the Sneffels Mountains and Wilson Peak.
Where to Stay Telluride has many bed and breakfasts as well as luxury mountain resorts. There are several campgrounds like Telluride Town Park Campground and Little Molasses Lake Campground where you can wake up to a spectacular view!
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Rocky Mountain National Park Bear Lake Road Estes Park Trail Ridge Road Peak Highway Crested Butte Kebler Pass Aspen Crystal Mill
Colorado Office of Tourism: 10 Places to See Colorado’s Fall Color 5280 Denver’s Mile High Magazine: Colorado’s Leaves Are Changing. Here’s when and where to see them in Denver: Fall foliage and day trips near Denver Explore Colorado: 11 colorful fall hikes in Colorado DenverPost’s Get Outdoors: Fall colors are here. Where to View Leaves in Colorado SAN JUAN COUNTY, COLO. (KDVR) – Yellows, oranges and reds are starting to appear on trees across the state. As temperatures drop lower and lower at night, vibrant foliage emerges.
Meteorologist Chris Tomers said the color quality will be vibrant this autumn due to the monsoonal moisture of the summer.
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A popular travel website recently published a list of the top 15 cities in the United States for fall foliage.
There was no specific ranking of cities, just a list of the best small cities. Silverton is located in San Juan County in the southwestern part of our state.
“The streets of the small town of Silverton are lined with historic buildings with restaurants, saloons, shops and hotels and are surrounded by the foothills of the San Juan Mountains. Oaks and aspens cover the hillsides, showing their bright colors in October. Enjoy the best of the best when you drive the 25-mile stretch of US 550 known as the Million Dollar Highway, which is alive with million dollar views at its brightest in the fall. Experience the Durango and Silverton Tar Go Railroad, said Trips.
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Meteorologist Chris Tommerside said peak color usually occurs in the last two weeks of September, with the last change occurring in the southern highlands.