Fall means those beautiful Aspen trees are about to change into the most gorgeous shades of orange, yellow and red. When the wind blows and the gold Aspen leaves flutter, it’s seriously one of the most beautiful sites in the entire world! I have put together a quick guide of my favorite spots to see fall foliage and how to find the most Instagram-worthy spots in Colorado.
This post was originally published in 2018 but has been updated and recirculated for 2021.
Colorado Fall Foliage Maps 2021
Colorado leaves turn at different times dependent on elevation and the length of daylight. Check the local news stations or SmokeyMountains.com for interactive maps.
2021 – The serious drought most of the western slope has experience may cause colors to change slightly earlier this normal this year. Closer to the Front Range where we are in normal drought conditions still expect late September early October.
A note on leaves changing – “Those leaves changing is really a factor of day length, and then cool nights,” West said. “The cool nights trap the sugars in the leaves and that gives us those reds. And if we don’t have those cool nights and it just kind of goes from really warm to really cold or frost, we just get the yellows and oranges that are already in the leaves.”
Get The Perfect Fall Instagram Shot
Want to know where the fall colors are peaking right now? Then slide on over to Instagram!
- Check the following hashtags to find the best fall foliage shots.
- Once you find a spot you like, check the geolocation – the amazing shot you’re looking at could be old so check the geolocation and then sort by the most recent post to see exactly what the colors look like right now in that area.
- Get in the car and go!
- Anytime you head out into nature, please be respectful. Leave no trace, don’t pick the foliage, and don’t feed the wildlife. Please!
- TAG ME! Tag your story or post with #bmbfallcolors and I will post it on my story!
Fall Foliage Hashtags
My Favorite Fall Color Drives in Colorado
Durago> Silverton> Telluride – Million Dollar Highway
Last September, I took a road trip across the state with Toyota and the leaves were incredible. We literally pulled over every five minutes to snap pictures. The gorgeous gold and red leaves against the severe snow-capped San Juan Mountains is hands-down one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. Read more about the trip and see more photos here.
Rocky Mountain National Park
The Front Range will turn a little later so if you can’t get out until early October, head to Rocky Mountain National Park. Note that you need to get a reservation to enter RMNP now. Read all about the reservation system and some easy hikes here. This shot is from Sky Pond which is amazing but long – details here.
Kebler Pass & Crested Butte
Make the trip to Crested Butte to see some of the most spectacular fall colors in the state. Kebler Pass is home to the largest living Aspen grove in the world which also means it’s the largest living organism in the world! Check out my guide to Crested Butte hikes, restaurants, and more.
Ohio Pass – Crested Butte
Crested Butte really has some spectacular drives. Last fall we took Ohio Pass from Gunnison to CB. This drive takes you right past the “The Castles” which are stunning. From here you get deep into Aspen groves with plenty of spots to pull over for pics or hike. Ohio Pass dead ends into Kebler so you can go right to Crested Butte or left to continue on Kebler away from CB.
Cottonwood Pass – Beuna Vista to Crested Butte
The drive from Buena Vista to Crested Butte is also littered with Aspen groves. The pass was just recently repaved making it a much more comfortable drive. There are tons of parking spots on the way down to CB along the Taylor River too! Read my Buena Vista guide here.
If you’re looking for a quick day trip from Denver, head to Guanella Pass. Take 285 to the town of Grant then head over the pass to Georgetown and loop back down to the city on I70 Read more here
I spent a fun fall weekend in Aspen a few years ago and the leaves on Independence Pass were great! I’d love to go back during peak season and make it to the Maroon Bells. Check out this hike while in Aspen and get dinner at Meat & Cheese. I also have a quick guide to Snowmass and the Roaring Fork Valley.
Peak to Peak Scenic Byway
Omg! This picture is so old! It’s from 2013! I feel like the roads were closed due to a slide so we didn’t make it end to end, but this is another great Front Range option. Read more here.
Send me or tag me in your fall color pics! I’d love to see your favorite spot and your best shot! While off on your Colorado Adventure check out my CO mountain town guides of where to go eat and drink!