Every autumn, the trees across our state go on full display with shimmering yellows, oranges, and reds. This is absolutely one of the most beautiful times of the year, and fall leaf peeping can make for a stunning day trip or weekend getaway.
The best time for capturing the change of seasons in Colorado is usually mid-September through mid-October. Here are some recommendations for fall foliage views as well as weekend getaways that put you close to the colorful scenery.
TRAIL RIDGE ROAD
This road winds through Rocky Mountain National Park between Estes Park and Grand Lake. Trail Ridge Road, also known as Highway 34, offers views all the way up to 12,183 feet in elevation and provides an amazing vantage point for fall colors.
Stepping Stone residents can reach Trail Ridge Road up in Estes Park in about 2.5 hours from the Stepping Stone neighborhood. So plan on making a long day or an overnight excursion to visit this area.
If you are looking for a getaway weekend in the Rocky Mountain National Park area, The Stanley Hotel is located in the heart of Estes Park and comes with the unique history of inspiring Stephen King’s book The Shining. Situated near the entrance to the park, The Stanley is the ideal destination for a fall color mountain vacation.
SAN JUAN SKYWAY
The San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado offer some of the most breathtaking mountain views in our entire state. Every September and October, the San Juan Skyway is a vista through an incredible array of autumn colors, including a 70-mile stretch known as the Million Dollar Highway.
The San Juan Mountains are located down in the southwest corner of Colorado, so it’s a bit of a drive for Stepping Stone residents. We recommend planning a long weekend getaway for this venture. You’ll discover much to see and do in this part of the state!
A lovely place to stay around the San Juan Mountains is the Blue Lake Ranch Bed and Breakfast near Durango. Set on 200 beautiful acres including a trout-filled lake, this ranch is ideal for nature lovers and fall color viewing.
Outside of Ridgway, Colorado, pick up Highway 62 over the Dallas Divide and take in breathtaking views of Mt. Sneffels and the array of deciduous colors surrounding Sneffels Wilderness Area. This epic drive connects with Highway 145 and Lizard Head Pass, where you’ll find views of Wilson Peak – the mountain that inspired the Coors logo.
Ridgway is about 5.5 hours from Stepping Stone, so you may want to make a weekend excursion out of this. Not too far from Lizard Head Pass is Dunton Hot Springs. This “romantic restored ghost town” features natural hot springs and is located in an extraordinary alpine valley. Take in the views from the comfort of an authentic 19th century log cabin or any of their eight luxury tents.
We hope these suggestions inspire you to break out your cameras and find your way to the many beautiful sights around our amazing state. Feel free to share any of your fall foliage photos with us – we love seeing the changing leaves, too!