Living in a region with four distinct seasons means autumn is full of opportunities for foliage drives. If you really want to experience the full beauty of the Denver area, set the GPS and get ready to experience the full fall colors. It’s also a great opportunity to bond with loved ones, explore little mom and pop shops along the way, and of course get some incredible photos.
The state’s Golden Aspen colors are at their peak this time of year, and there are plenty of roads that highlight this stunner. Here are the best drives in the Denver area to snap those fall selfies:
1. Kebler Pass
A long-time favorite of photographers, Kebler Pass is home to the biggest selection of aspen groves in all of North America. It’s a favorite of famed photographer John Fielder, and if you want the full effect head to Ohio Creek Road to start. You’ll see a number of small buildings that are home to the now abandoned Castleton (or “The Castles”), which is what remains of an eruption from West Elk Volcano around 30 million years ago. However, keep in mind that this particular pass is unpaved, so tread carefully.
2. Maroon Bells
It’s known for the massive 14,000-foot mountains in the heart of Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, and also holds the title of the most photographed peaks in North America. However, there’s plenty to explore in the White River National Forest which includes 2.3 million acres. Any pass through the forest is guaranteed to be gorgeous, but you can also hop on a bus on weekends until early October to let someone else take the wheel so you can focus on the natural beauty.
3. Dallas Divide
Along Colorado Highway 62, you’ll get to see one of the most legendary of Colorado drives. It all begins close to Ridgway, where you can get a peek at Mount Sneffels—it’s one of the state’s 48 “fourteeners” and is home to countless hiking trails (if you prefer to check out the colors on foot). Eventually, it connects to Highway 45 and the Lizard Head Pass where you can see Wilson Peak (inspiration for the Coors logo!).
4.Front Range Foliage
The oldest historic byway in Colorado is Peak to Peak Scenic and it’s aptly named. Established in 1918, it begins in Boulder and features incredible views of the Continental Divide. Since the byway is only 60 miles, it’s very feasible to see the entire span in a single trip. There are also many places to hop out and explore off-route, such as Rocky Mountain National Park and Golden Gate Canyon State Park.
5. La Veta Pass
At its peak, this pass stands at 9,400 feet and is located along Route 160 near the town of La Veta. It’s a favorite for fall drives and rich with Golden Aspens. Keep an eye out for the Spanish Peaks and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
There’s no better way to usher in autumn than immersing yourself in the golden colors. Which local drive is your favorite?