If you know me, you know my favorite season is fall. The dramatic changing of the leaves in Colorado is one of my favorite parts of living in this beautiful state. Everything from Halloween, pumpkins, sweaters, colors, and warm drinks are (in my opinion) some of the best things in life. In the changing of the season, there seems to be a new sense of starting over that emerges as nature sheds its old season and comes into a new. This sensation has always made me feel that the world is giving way for new possibilities and a clean slate. In the start of this new season, I was excited to spend my labor day weekend in the mountains. To my surprise, I was lucky enough to catch some of the first eager trees that were already beginning to change. This inspired me to write a blog on some of my favorite spots in the Rocky Mountains where you can catch the changing of the season through the beauty of nature.
I started out this weekend just driving up I-70 from Denver to Idaho Springs. From the point of Idaho Springs, there are several spots I could recommend since it is a pretty central location in the mountains. Driving a little further down I-70 into the historic town of Central City, there were tons of aspen groves that had already begun to change. If you want to stop in a small town, my suggestion would be either Idaho Springs or Central City. Although they are very small, they are a great lunch spot to watch around while looking at the scenery. If you continue a little further on this route to Black Hawk, you will find yourself on the way into RMNP on the scenic Peak to Peak Byway (Colorado Hwy. 72 and 7) from Black Hawk to Estes Park. Of course Estes Park has beautiful views and you can clearly see the changing of the season through the town as well as RMNP, so if you are interested, stop here and explore the lesser known trails of this area. If you’re looking for slightly less crowded areas, I suggest the region of Mount Evans which is just west of Idaho Springs on I-70. Although this is a 14er, this mountain has the highest paved road in North America. You don’t need to hike a 14er to reach the top, as this road goes all the way to 14,264-foot summit of Mount Evans. The views from this peak are spectacular; if you’re a hiker who wants to take on the mountain or someone who likes the comfort of their car, you can see the valleys of the Rocky Mountains and the changing of the season beautifully from this vantage point. One last recommendation for fall foliage and a small excursion would be the region of Lake Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne via I-70. This area is filled with aspen groves and is just a 75-minute drive from Denver. It may be slightly further away than my other recommendations but well worth the views. These mountain towns have plenty of attractions within their downtowns such as shopping, outdoor recreation options, and tons of food and drinks- so even if you make the extra trek to this area for the aspens, you’ll have plenty left to do.