The glowing gold aspens of the Colorado Rocky Mountains are the talk of the town during this time of year. The annual “Changing of the Aspens” sends locals and visitors straight to the hills for some of the best aspen-peeping in the country. Usually beginning to change in mid-September, the colors typically don’t last long with the last of the leaves falling by the end of October. With so many scenic routes right in our own back yard, Denver has the perfect vantage point for a fall foliage tour.
Here are a few spectacular routes and day trips to consider for a look at one of Mother Nature’s most breathtaking seasonal transformations:
Georgetown Loop Railroad: Get a taste of autumn in the Old West with a 75-minute locomotive tour through Georgetown and Silverplume. The Georgetown Loop Historic Mining and Railroad Park is located less than an hour west of Denver and offers amazing views of the rugged Colorado landscape.
Rocky Mountain National Park: Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is the highest continuous paved road in North America. With more than eight miles lying above 11,000 feet and a maximum elevation 12,183 feet, Trail Ridge Road provides a stellar view of the golden aspen leaves and autumn mountain scenery.
St. Mary’s Glacier: Located just an hour west of Denver in Idaho Springs is a windy road boasting some of the state’s most beautiful aspen groves. The road ends at the St. Mary’s Glacier trailhead where you can opt for a short 45-minute hike through 3/4 mile trail surrounded by sprawling forests of glowing aspens.
Peak to Peak Scenic & Historic Byway: This 55-mile long route provides fantastic views of the Continental Divide and travels through six different scenic attractions including Rocky Mountain National Park, Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests, Indian Peaks Wilderness Area and Eldora Ski Resort.