One of the great things about living in Colorado is the plethora of scenic mountain drives that this great state has to offer. No matter where you live in Colorado, much of its beauty can be seen in a day trip or quick weekend getaway.
And there's no doubt that arguably, the most gorgeous time of the year is when the fall leaves start to turn. Across the Colorado Rockies, you'll see spectacular reds, oranges, and yellows littering the mountain sides - but only for such a brief time.
That's the downside to living in Colorado. The weather can be a bit unpredictable at times, so you never know how long the fall beauty will last before that first snowfall hits.
To make the most of this fall season, we've included some local attractions to visit if you want to experience some breath-taking mountain beauty! In no particular order, here are some must-see destinations to put on your bucket list this fall!
Trail Ridge Road
Just west of Estes Park, passing through Rocky Mountain National Park to Grand Lake, is Trail Ridge Road. Enjoy the beauties of RMNP at this high altitude, as Trail Ridge road is only open seasonally .Due to its elevation and annual snowfall, the road is typically closed during the winter & spring months.
Colorado Peak to Peak Scenic Byway
Also starting in Estes Park, heading south on Highway 7, this Scenic Byway takes you through lots of old gold mining, and now, ghost towns. Through Allenspark on Highway 72 to Nederland, and finally south on Highway 119 toward Black Hawk. This drive has lots to offer!
The quaint mountain town of Telluride is a valley nestled among the many mountain peaks just north of the San Juan National Forest. You can even take the gondola ride up the mountain for some really breath-taking mountain views!
San Juan Skyway
The San Juan Skyway drive forms a loop encompassing Durango, Silverton, Ridgeway, Telluride, and Cortez just southwest of the San Juan National Forest. The drive encompasses over 200 miles, but includes some spectacular mountain views from the San Juans, such as Dallas Divide, as well as passing by Mesa Verde National Park.
In the heart of the Colorado Rockies, Independence Pass sits along the Continental Divide Highway just outside of Aspen. Just like Trail Ridge Road, this pass is only open seasonally, as it's the highest paved highway that crosses over the Continental Divide.
Just west of Crested Butte, Kebler Pass is a favorite seasonal destination. Most of the road (referred to as Gunnison County Road 12) isn't even paved, but it's a quiet, secluded area with lots of great colors to see.
Perhaps one of the most photographic areas in Colorado is Maroon Lake, sitting in the valley amongst the spectacular Maroon Bells. Situated a little southwest of Aspen, this destination surely tops the list.