Where to See Fall Colors in Colorado

Ahhh, FALLLL! When the weather cools off and the trees are ablaze. Whether you want to take in the views by foot or car, here are some of the best leaf peeping spots in colorful Colorado!

Scenic Fall Hikes in Colorado

Emmaline Lake Trail – Fort Collins

This 12-mile roundtrip hike is rated difficult, if only for the final 1-2 miles of switchbacks. The summit will have you smiling with views of Cirque Lake and Emmaline Lake—both surrounded by trees that’ll make you thankful for the trek in.

Maroon Bells – Aspen

Surrounded by tons of hiking trails, Maroon Bells takes its claim as one of the most photographed peaks in North America. The two 14,000-foot mountains are located in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness within the White River National Forest. 

North Tenmile Trail – Frisco

This 6.7-mile hike has glowing trees from start to finish. Right off the freeway near Frisco, you’ll feel worlds away from civilization as you meander along a creek through a valley with views on both sides.

Mule Deer Trail – Golden

Close to Denver, this hiking trail is 7 miles roundtrip and is one of the less trafficked trails in Golden Gate Canyon State Park that takes you to Frazer Meadows, which is a perfect spot for peeping fall colors. Start at the Ole’ Barn Knoll trailhead. 

Chicago Lakes – Mount Evans Wilderness

Not far from Denver, this difficult hike is worth every step. After a beautiful drive in, start the 9-mile roundtrip hike by heading down into a valley with trees of every shade surrounding the trail before reaching the lake with sweeping views in every direction.

Upper Piney Falls Trail – Vail

What’s better than just autumn colors? A waterfall! This 6-mile hike in the Eagles Nest Wilderness starts near beautiful Piney Lake and winds through as aspen forest before reaching a cascading waterfall. 

East Lake Creek Trail – Edwards

Just outside of Vail, this 5-mile roundtrip hike in the Holy Cross Wilderness is a great spot for spotting incredible fall colors. 

Scenic Fall Drives in Colorado

Peak to Peak – Boulder/Black Hawk/Estes Park

Established in 1918, this is Colorado’s oldest scenic byway. Start in Boulder and continue 60 miles to wind through several top wilderness areas—all ripe with fall foliage—including Rocky Mountain National Park, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, and Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. 

Guanella Pass – Georgetown

Just south of historic and quite quaint Georgetown, the Guanella Pass is a hub for outdoor exploration in Colorado. With views of firy aspens along the way, head to the town of Grant and hang a right on US 285 to the top of Kenosha Pass and South Park.

Dallas Divide – Ridgway

Start in Ridgway for this epic drive along Highway 62 and make your way past the towering 14er of Mount Sneffels and surrounding Sneffles Range. Keep driving to Highway 45 and head over Lizard Head Pass for views of Wilson Peak, a mountain you might recognize from Colorado’s iconic Coors beer cans.

Keebler Pass –  Gunnison/Crested Butte

Home to the largest aspen grove in North America. Enough said! Head to Ohio Creek Road in Gunnison to start the beautiful journey. 

Cottonwood Pass – Buena Vista

The Collegiate Peaks surround you on the drive down Cottonwood Pass Road just west of Buena Vista. Driving through Princeton and Yale, two of Colorado’s most iconic 14ers, you’ll find yourself in a valley with aspens in every direction in varying shades of colors. 

San Juan Skyway – Southwest Colorado

The San Juan Skyway is a 236-mile show-stopping loop that includes the 70-mile Million Dollar Highway. You can’t go wrong anywhere on this track.

Buffalo Pass – Steamboat Springs 

This 8-mile road twists and turns up to the Continental Divide and Summit Lake with picturesque aspen groves along the way. 

Free Gondola – Telluride

The (free!) Telluride Gondola is one of the best ways to take in the fall colors from above in one of Colorado’s most iconic mountain towns.

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