Colorado Fall Foliage – Where to go

By: The Denver Channel
Sept 2016

The first day of fall is next week, but the leaves have already started turning. Many people are wondering where to go to see the best Colorado fall foliage viewing so here is our guide to the gold!

Kenosha Pass

Kenosha Pass on Highway 285 between Grant and Jefferson is popular with leaf watchers and photographers because you can get amazing shots right from the highway. The Colorado Trail crosses Highway 285 here so you can hike in either direction and be in the fall colors.

Guanella Pass

Guanella Pass between Georgetown and Grant gives fall color searchers a chance to see the colors at elevations between 9,000 and above. While the pass hits a high of 11,670, the pass is home to a 14,000-foot peak (Mt Bierstadt), so you can see the colors turning over a wide variety of elevations. With hillsides full of Aspen trees on both sides of the pass, this is a popular area for photographers.


Maroon Bells

The Maroon Bells, near Aspen, but may be a bit of a drive from Denver, but thousands make the drive during the fall to take a photo of the Maroon Bells with the turning leaves reflecting in Maroon Lake. Because this area is so popular with visitors and photographers, the road is open to shuttle buses only from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m and there is a fee. Learn more here.


Como is on Highway 285, past Kenosha Pass. It’s a nice drive to take Boreas Pass from Como to Breckenridge.

Rocky Mountain National Park

The leaves are turning around Rocky Mountain National Park.

Two of the most popular fall color hikes are the trail to Bierstadt Lake and Alberta Falls (see above). Check with the park rangers for their advice on where to go.

Need other Ideas? Here’s the top 21 Colorado locations for fabulous fall foliage viewing.

Colorado Fall Drives

  1. Steamboat Springs, Elk River country north on County Road 129.  Also, check the view on Rabbit Ears Pass and Buffalo Pass east.
  2. Colorado 14 through the Poudre Canyon west of Fort Collins
  3. Trail Ridge Road (US 34) through Rocky Mountain National Park
  4. Flat Tops country between Buford and Newcastle
  5. Tennessee Pass, US 24, from Leadville to Vail
  6. Boreas Pass between Como and Breckenridge, a 23-mile road cresting at 11,481 feet.
  7. Grand Mesa, Colorado 65 east of Grand Junction and north of Delta.
  8. Independence Pass, Colorado 82 between Twins Lakes and Aspen.
  9. Colorado 135 between Crested Butte and Gunnison.
  10. Kebler Pass west of Crested Butte on Gunnison County Road 12.
  11. Cottonwood Pass, Colorado 306 between Buena Vista and Taylor Park
  12. Monarch Pass, US 50 from Salida to Gunnison.
  13. Cochetopa Pass between Saguache and Gunnison.
  14. Gold Camp Road – Colorado 67 between Divide and Cripple Creek.
  15. Lizard Head Pass, Colorado 145 between Dolores and Telluride.
  16. Slumgullion Pass, Colorado 149 between Lake City, Creede and South Fork.
  17. US 160, Navajo Trail, between Pagosa Springs and Cortez.
  18. Platoro Reservoir, south of Del Norte and west of Conejos.
  19. Cucharas Pass, Colorado 12, from Trinidad to Walsenburg.
  20. CO 103 from Evergreen Parkway west to Echo Lake.
  21. McClure Pass – This is a spectacular 8,755-foot pass south of Carbondale along Colorado 133 and the Crystal River.

Happy photos and beautiful drives!!