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Where & When You Can Go Leaf Peeping


Leaf Peeping Colorado Style

Alice Carmody

After moving to Colorado in 1993 and working at a title company, I pursued a career in real estate...

After moving to Colorado in 1993 and working at a title company, I pursued a career in real estate...

Aug 24 2 minutes read

It’s time to get your camera ready, grab your favorite fall sweater and sip on your favorite pumpkin coffee or beer. The first wave of fall foliage will arrive in Colorado in less than a month. Fall color will mostly be on time, with peak color arriving by mid-to-late September. As always, a stretch of abnormally cold weather could alter this timeline a few days. The prolonged drought across Western Colorado could push some leaves to peak early.

When you can expect to see fall colors:

  • September 15-30
    • Steamboat & Flat Tops
    • Rocky Mountain National Park
  • September 17-Oct. 1
    • Aspen
    • Grand Mesa
    • Gunnison
    • Sawatch Range
  • September 19- Oct. 3
    • Northern San Juan Mountains
    • Southern San Juan Mountains
    • Sangre De Cristo
  • October
    • Denver

The Farmers Almanac predicts that peak fall color will arrive in Colorado on Oct. 5-14.

Gold Mine: Fall paints Vail in golden leaves 

Meteorologist Chris Tomer says he thinks the fall color in Colorado will closely follow the drought tracker this year. 

Where to see fall colors:

Within 1 hour of Denver:
Guanella Pass
Peak to Peak Highway
Rocky Mountain National Park
Winter Park
Kenosha Pass

Within 2 hours of Denver:
Tennessee Pass
Hoosier Pass
Grand Lake

Within 3-4 hours of Denver:
Rabbit Ears Pass
Buena Vista
Independence Pass
Monarch Pass
Grand Mesa

Last year, fall colors arrived slightly earlier than normal and didn’t last long. The colors weren’t as vibrant as normal. In 2019, fall colors arrived later than normal. 

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