The aspens are starting to show off their colors from golden to tangerine to light garnet in Colorado. Based on what I saw Sunday, September 19th, they should be on their fall glory September 25-26 weekend through October 1st along I-70 and north. Early October is looking prime time for southern Colorado.
I drove up early Sunday morning and enjoyed watching the alpenglow on the mountains as the sun rose. My friend Kristen, her two pups and I headed to Boreas Pass about 8:15am. On the drive over we saw a moose family! I’ve seen a bunch of moose before, including twins and a momma and baby on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park, but have never seen a moose family. I often seen a moose or two in and around Breckenridge. As we drove past Kristen said she never sees moose and she lives in Breck. Guess I’m a moose magnet.
We had no problems parking, but parking area was full with people waiting about 9:30am. We decided to hike the road and enjoy the views. I’ve done the hike to Bakers Tank before and it’s lovely as it takes you through the pines to the historic railroad water tank and then you hike the road back. As we were starting two mountain bikers were pedaling up Aspen Alley Trail to Boreas Pass Road. I asked them how the colors were and not said “outstanding,” in unison. We almost hiked down the trail but decided to have a look on Boreas Pass first. There were some golden aspens, some aspens that had already fallen and some were still green. Normally around September 18-20th Boreas Pass is in full color and sometimes even past peak. The long, hot summer in Colorado is causing a little delay in peak color. There’s also a lot of burnt color this season as the leaves go from green to color to browning very quickly. Every fall is different! We did about 2.5 miles on our out-and-back hike on the road.
We took her dogs back to her house and headed to breakfast at Amazing Grace. They have a wonderful back patio and I love their breakfast tacos.
After breakfast we headed to Aspen Alley. It’s traditionally one of the best spots in Breckenridge to see an array of colors. It’s at Wakefield Ranch and there are a couple of mining relics near the parking area, which is very small. While the colors along the fence and where the trail is are wonderful, I always like to take the trail to the right of the pasture. Walk a couple of minutes to the spot that feels like you’re in a golden tunnel.
We only had a few hours for hiking, breakfast and leaf peeping since I wanted to try to beat most of the Sunday afternoon traffic back to Denver. I took Swan Mountain Road to Dillon then decided to take the scenic route over Loveland Pass instead of taking I-70 through the tunnel. I was glad I did! There was a wonderful stash of color as I got close to Arapahoe Basin.
Other places to see great color are the Overlook in Breckenridge, hike to Rainbow lake in Frisco or drive over Boreas Pass to Como then head to Fairplay, making a stop at South Park, then continue the loop over Hoosier Pass through Alma and back to Breckenridge.
Jennifer Broome goes leaf peeping every September in Breckenridge and other areas around the state. Check out her Fall Fun in Vail for great spots for color there too! Blog on 5 Tips for a Leaf Peeping Road Trip has great tips for seeing fall colors across the country.