Many people think of snow and winter fun when they think of Colorado. But the state is an incredibly enjoyable destination in all seasons, including autumn. Here are some ideal places to go as the weather turns brisk and the leaves turn bright colors. Remember to take plenty of photos, as Colorado has some of the best scenery of anywhere in the country – or the world.
Colorado National Monument
Head over to the Western Slope to see the red-rock cliffs and sandstone spires at the Colorado National Monument, which is not far from Grand Junction and Fruita.
It’s a perfect spot to savor the beauty of fall leaves. Some of the highlights of the Monument are Sentinel Spire and Independence Moment. To get to the area, travel to Rim Rock Drive, which offers 19 overlooks.
Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
Located in southwest Colorado, the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad has been up and running since 1881. This was once a major mining area, and the train proved essential as a way to access the mines. The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is one of the most scenic rail rides in the country, going around cliffs and through the mountains with views of such spots as the Animas River.
Most people have heard of iconic Aspen, a town in the Colorado mountains that is known as a ski destination. Autumn is an ideal time to visit too though, with all the spectacular colors at places like Maroon Bells, which are two angular mountains standing over a valley. The aspen tree groves in the White River National Forest provide many places to “ooh” and “aah” while snapping photos. Downtown Aspen is also a fine destination for taking in fall colors and mountain town charm.
The southwest part of Colorado makes for a great area to check out during autumn, especially in places like Durango. The historic Main Avenue is delightful, as it includes buildings from the late 1800s that harken back to the time when mining was big in the area. An amazing scenic drive is the 235-mile San Juan Skyway, which goes through the towns of Silverton, Ouray, Telluride, Cortez and Mancos, in the vicinity of Mesa Verde National Park. The Million Dollar Highway gets up to more than 11,000 feet in elevation.
Maroon Bells Scenic Area
Maroon Bells Scenic Area gets it name because of its maroon-colored bells, which are stunning all year but even more so as the leaves change during autumn. They might just be Colorado’s peaks that people photograph the most. The area is only about 12 miles southwest of Aspen and features two Fourteeners, which are peaks that are more than 14,000 feet in elevation. A great way to explore the area is via the Maroon Lake Scenic Trail.
Vail is yet another town in the Colorado mountains that is world-famous as a skiing destination. But it is also a wonderful place during autumn, where colorful leaves contrast with the background of snow-capped peaks. There are so many things to do, from riding on a gondola to hiking through the trails and strolling in the adorable town.
Just a day trip from Denver is the town of Georgetown, which is in the mountains of Colorado and one of the best places to see fall colors. A ride on the Georgetown Loop Railroad is a fun way to view fall leaves and other breathtaking scenery.
The places to explore in Colorado during autumn are seemingly endless. So get out there and enjoy – and remember to snap plenty of photos to capture the memories.