Colorado’s scenery is grand any time of the year, but none more so than fall when the leaves change from green to brilliant shades of red, yellow and orange. It’s a quiet show of splendor that lasts only a short time, so now is the time to start planning your fall leaf peeping excursion.
For the best color displays, hit the road after a period when the temperatures have been consistently low (but not freezing) and the sun has been shining.
Here are four amazing drives:
Independence Pass: This road runs between Aspen and Leadville and features jaw-dropping scenery along the way. The only downside is that the road is so narrow and twisty in parts that the driver will need to concentrate on the road more than the leaves. That said, the passengers will see an incredible color show.
Kebler Pass: Northwest of Crested Butte, this 30-mile road connects Paonia to Crested Butte and features “the largest grove of aspens on earth,” according theoutbound.com. The pass is a dirt road, but the website notes that any vehicle can navigate it (although 4-wheel drive might help after heavy snow or rain). Kebler Pass is typically less crowded than Independence Pass, with equally stunning views.
San Juan Skyway: You can’t do better than this scenic byway that connects Durango, Silverton, Ouray and Telluride. The foliage along this splendid 232 miles is filled with yellows, oranges and reds that typically peak around mid-September and last through the first few days of October.
Guanella Pass: Only one hour from Denver, this is the perfect place for a quick day trip. As the pass climbs, it offers offers spectacular views of Mount Evans and Mount Bierstadt before dipping down into historic Georgetown, where you can finish the day in a quaint restaurant and browsing though the welcoming boutique shops.