Colorado’s Best Spots to Watch the Leaves Change

Country music was born out of the love that Americans had for roaming the great outdoors in search of freedom and beauty. That’s why it makes such a great soundtrack for any exploring we may do – even though most of us have replaced our horses with cars.

Colorado has more beauty than most of the world, and one of the best times to take advantage of this is when the leaves brighten up in the fall. You don’t necessarily have to make a big trek to see some pretty trees, but there are some extra special places – some near, others far – that are worth visiting this time of year.

So put your favorite country tunes on the radio, grab your camera, and go build some memories!

Buffalo Pass

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 3 ½ hours, 172 milesLeaves Changing in Colorado

This pass is located near Steamboat Springs, and it’s a great trip for anyone wanting plenty of

hiking options. You’ll have the opportunity to wander through multiple of aspen groves, see some lakes,

and lounge in high-altitude meadows. After the seeing the leaves, why not take off your boots and rest

your sore feet in the hot springs?

Castle Creek Road

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 3 ½ hours, 166 miles

This is another good opportunity to see some aspen groves when their tiny, round leaves turn into various shades of orange and yellow. Also, it’s a pretty appropriate place to view them since it’s right next to Aspen – you know, the old mining town which turned into a hangout for the rich and famous. But, if you want to skip the glamor of the 21st century, you could stop by the nearby ghost town of Ashcroft. Only a handful of its old buildings are still standing, but it’s enough to take you back to the good old days.

Cottonwood Pass

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 2 ¾ hours, 144 miles

This pass sits between Buena Vista and Crested Butte, and it makes a pretty impressive crossing of the Continental Divide. It also allows you to drive (or do some walking) through some intense valleys full of Aspens.

Fall Leaves Change Color ColoradoDallas Divide

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 5 ½ hours, 335 miles

This one is a bit of a drive to get to, but it’s worth it. It’s down on the San Juan Range near Telluride, and you’ll have a lot of scenery to enjoy before you get there. Also, the 14,158 foot Mount Sneffels sits off in the distance, so you might even be lucky to see some snow shimmering on the peak.

Grand Mesa

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 4 ½ hours, 252 miles

This is another that’s a bit of a trek to get to, but you’ll mosey far out of the touristy areas, so you’re much more likely to have it all to yourself. Plus, you’ll get to follow the Colorado River for some of the drive.

Kebler Pass

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 4 ½ hours, 200 miles

Kebler Pass is pretty close to Gunnison, CO, and heading all that way is rewarded by seeing one of the largest aspen groves in the world. These trees grow so close together because they’re all connected by a common root system, so it’s truly a spectacular site to see a large group of them changing color.

La Veta Pass

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 3 hours, 200 miles

This drive goes up over 9,000 feet, and nature just engulfs you in an amazing way. There are groves of aspen trees mixed in with green pine trees, and the sharp contrast of colors makes them all seem more vivid.

Maroon Bells

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 3 ½ hours, 167 miles

Once you get to these peaks surrounding a lake near Aspen, you’ll probably have a feeling of déjà vu. No you haven’t been here before, but these two fourteeners are arguably the most photographed mountains in North America – and for good reason. It’s breathtaking any time of year, but the changing leaves make the view even more perfect.

Peak to Peak Scenic and Historic Byway

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 1 ½ hours, 70 miles

This historic road is the oldest scenic byway in Colorado dating back to the early 1900s. It starts in Estes Park, then it loops through some amazing scenery in the mountains for about 55 miles before hooking up with Interstate 70. It’s an easy trip from Denver, and a great loop to make in the autumn.

Colorado Leaves Color ChangeThe San Juan Skyway on the Million Dollar Highway

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 6 hours, 340 miles

This 236-mile long byway is one of the prettiest roads on the planet. It loops through Telluride, Durango, Silverton, and a view other towns to give you a diverse set of amazing views. In short, this one takes quite the drive to get to, but it’s worth every second you’ll spend in the car.

Trail Ridge Road

Distance from the Grizzly Rose: 2 hours, 110 miles

This one is pretty close to home as the crow flies, and it just so happens to be the highest continuously paved road in North America. It peaks over 12,000 feet, so you’ll get to see trees and plant life at all levels of oxygen.

Time to Go!

There are quite a few options to choose from, but don’t procrastinate! These epic views only happen once a year, and they’re gone before you know it. It’s time to go hit the ol’ dusty trail!

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