Ten Ways to Experience Fall Foliage in Colorado

Where to see the leaves change this fall in Colorado By: Janeen Christoff
See Fall Foliage from a hot air balloon. // © 2012 Fair Winds
See Fall Foliage from a hot air balloon. // © 2012 Fair Winds


As the fall season approaches, Colorado’s leaves transform the scenery into a color-soaked landscape. Clients can experience this transformation in several different ways, whether it’s via zip line, a scenic drive or a horseback ride in the wilderness. Here are 10 ways to discover fall foliage in Colorado.

Horseback Riding
Settle into a saddle on a guided horseback ride in Steamboat Springs to experience Colorado’s fall frontier just like the cowboys. Clients can amble through the Routt National Forest along American West trails with vibrant golden, red and orange leaves.

Bike A Byway
Begin this aspen-laden ride west of Pueblo on Colorado 96. The Frontier Pathways route climbs into the Wet Mountains and descends into the Wet Mountain Valley, passing aspens in autumn color along the way.

Historic Train
Travel through the scenic San Juan Mountains onboard the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Between Durango and the historic mining town of Silverton, this locomotive allows passengers to experience color-drenched aspens that line the free-flowing Animas River and ascend the rugged collection of mountain peaks and canyon scenery.

Four Wheels
With a summit at 12,095 feet, Independence Pass connects Aspen – a city named for the quintessential Colorado tree – and Twin Lakes, the largest glacial lake in Colorado. The pass is open during early fall and is rife with stunning autumn colors popping on both sides of the pass and ringed with five 13,000-foot peaks.

Tire Tour
Fruita’s dirt trails and challenging single tracks wind along huge flattop mesas allowing mountain bikers to discover panoramic views of valleys sprinkled with glowing yellow leaves.

Hot Air Balloon
Fall’s cooler climate and artist’s palette of nature’s colors make for an ideal time to take to the air. Float above pockets of fall foliage speckled along the Front Range’s peaks and valleys and throughout Rocky Mountain National Park. Take in colorful views on a hot air balloon ride with Fair Winds in Boulder

Leaf peep the quaking aspens nestled in Telluride’s box canyon while sailing through the trees. The first and only free public transportation of its kind in the U.S., this gondola connects riders between Telluride and Mountain Village, giving passengers an ever-changing view of the crimson and golden leaves along the way.

Two Feet
Fall’s crown jewel is nestled along Kebler Pass, where a massive aspen cluster of interconnected roots wows hikers with brilliant fall hues. The radiant yellow and red leaves on Kebler create a textured denseness that is unique to this area. Take the hiking trails Kebler Wagon Trail #606 and Dyke Trail #838 for even more leaf peeping opportunities.

Zip line
The landscape of fiery red, orange and golden leaves will shift as guests soar through autumn-tinted treetops and above deep valleys on one of 14 zip lines throughout the state. Thrill seekers will feel the rush and crisp autumn air as they glide over changing scenes at Zip Adventures near Vail.

Carbondale lies in the heart of the Roaring Fork Valley, home to some of the finest rivers for trout fishing, especially from mid-September to mid-October. The deep blue waters starkly contrast the foliage-lined banks bursting with deep scarlets and golds. Tranquility and a wide variety of water types await fly-fishers this fall with Roaring Fork Anglers.

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