As cool fall weather replaces warm summer days, a dramatic change can be witnessed in the high mountains of Colorado. Striking hues of gold and copper transform the landscape into a bright tapestry. You can take several roads or trails through Rocky Mountain National Park to view this autumn metamorphosis firsthand.
Species of Deciduous Trees
Rocky Mountain maple, narrowleaf cottonwood and balsam poplars are a few of the deciduous species changing their leaves. However, it is the quaking aspen that take the crowning glory. These can grow in high altitudes of up to 10,000 feet, where they stand in contrast to the rich emeralds of neighboring pines and firs.
Best Viewing Times
The peak color season varies each year. With leaf color dependent upon temperature and moisture, the dates and vividness can change. In general, the fall colors in Rocky Mountain National Park begin in August. Near the end of September the leaves reach their vibrant peak before fading sometime in October.
Best Places to View Colors
Drive the Cache la Poudre National Scenic Byway or the Colorado River Headwaters National Scenic Byway to see stands of Aspens changing at various altitudes. You can hike around Bear Lake on easy trails; both its road and hikes showcase the surrounding Aspens. According to Rocky Mountain National Park.com, the Peak to Peak National Scenic Byway is "a golden marvel in the fall."
Article Written By Sarah Shelton
Based in Oregon, Sarah Shelton has worked as a freelance writer since 2008. She enjoys covering travel, home and garden, and automotive topics. Her articles have appeared nationwide with Internet Broadcasting, Adventure Travel and Real Estate Experts. With a major in biology, Shelton received her Bachelor of Science from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.