Our Top 5 Picks for the Best Leaf-Peeping
We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite spots where we think you’ll find the best fall-foliage views.
Colorado's autumn aspens are a miraculous sight—and are at their showiest for a criminally brief time! So, grab your pumpkin spice latte from the Buckboard Grill at Snow Mountain Ranch, or swing by a local coffee shop in Estes Park, and embark on one of these autumn adventures!
Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park
Start in either Estes Park or Grand Lake, Colorado and traverse the highest continuous paved road in North America. Trail Ridge Road reaches elevations of over 12,000 feet in places and is usually open through early October ( check conditions here). With numerous scenic pull-offs, you’ll have the opportunity to see the spectacular fall colors around every turn. Don’t forget your Rocky Mountain National Park Timed-Entry Permit, applicable through October 22.
Old Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park
As the original road for cars exploring Rocky Mountain National Park, Old Fall River Road is a narrow, winding route that takes visitors up to the Alpine Visitors Center. An 11-mile-long gravel road, this drive is one-way uphill, so you’ll return on Trail Ridge Road. It’s slow-going at 15 MPH, so allow yourself about an hour to drive up. You’ll feel like you’re truly amongst the trees and catch glimpses of impossible golds and orange leaves the whole way up. Old Fall River Road closes to vehicles for the season on October 3, 2023 – so don't miss out!
Peak to Peak Scenic Byway
From Estes Park: Take Highway 7 out of Estes Park to Highway 72 and behold the glory of the Peak to Peak in the fall. The dazzling views of the Continental Divide framed by the glowing aspen will create many picture-perfect moments. There are lots of enticing stops along the way—so make a day of it!
Snow Mountain Ranch – Nine Mile Trail
Nine Mile Trail has some of the best views at Snow Mountain Ranch. At 2.8 miles roundtrip (not 9!) this moderately challenging hike offers an expansive view of the mountains surrounding Snow Mountain Ranch. The bright yellow hues of the aspens framing this trail make for a journey you’ll thoroughly enjoy.
Estes Park Center - Bible Point Trail
This 2.5-mile trail provides views into Rocky Mountain National Park and the Town of Estes Park – so there’s lots of opportunity to spot the bright yellow leaves from any direction!