Tuesday 10: Colorado Leaf Peeping

My wife and I arrived in Colorado from Nebraska in the summer of 1974.  One weekend late in September we took a trip to Aspen and were blown away by the colors along the way. The first snow of the season had dusted the pine and aspen trees with white powder and the effect was breathtaking! We made a vow to duplicate the same trip every year. 

Over the years we learned that autumn in Colorado is never the same. Some years we have snow and cold in September and some years summer continues to bless us with warm weather until October.  Two years ago we joined friends on a journey through New England and discovered the term “leaf peeping”. This means the full experience of traveling through the countryside and experiencing the colors of fall foliage.

 In Colorado, we happen to have five different climate zones so our leaf peeping season can last from mid-September to mid-November. Lucky us! Depending upon the elevation, one can enjoy spectacular colors in the mountains and on the plains. As a rule of thumb, from mid-September to early October, the aspen are changing above 9,500 feet. Late September to mid-October, the aspen will change from 7,000 to 9,000 feet. Most of October, the color blazes on trees from 6,000 to 8,000 feet. And finally, early October to mid-November all of the trees throughout Colorado’s plains and foothills are dancing with autumn colors.  This past week we were in Keystone for the annual Colorado Association of REALTORS state convention. The colors were close to perfect so I suggest you go to the higher elevations….. ASAP! If you want to see a map of leaf peeping in Colorado, go to the 9News Colorado website and look for When and where to see the fall colors in Colorado. #LeafPeepingColorado.  

Here are my Tuesday Ten Colorado Leaf Peeping Picks:

1. Rocky Mountain National Park. We are lucky to have this beautiful national treasure in our backyard! Not only can you enjoy the autumn colors, but you can be awed by the elk bugling.

2. The Autumn Gold Festival in Estes Park is this weekend, September 26-27.  A festival of bands, brats, beer and family activities.

3. Also in Estes is the 18th Annual Elk Fest, October 3-4. Hop an elk-viewing bus, participate in a bugling contest, experience the Mountain Man Rendezvous or enjoy the native American music, dancing and storytelling.

4. Bike along the Poudre River trail.

5. Pack a picnic lunch and pick your favorite hiking trail in the Poudre Canyon.

6. Spend an overnight in the Red Feather Lakes area.

7. Go to breakfast up Rist Canyon

8. Head out to Pawnee National Grasslands for bird watching.

9. Drive the Cache La Poudre-North Park Scenic Byway.

10. Read a book outside and experience the wonderful state in which we live!


What is your favorite thing about autumn?


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