Come mid-September, the Rocky Mountains get swept with shimmering gold and rich red, as the changing aspens illuminate the rolling peaks and paths with Colorado fall colors. It’s quite a sight to see and it lasts until mid-October. This is the sort of leaf peeping you certainly don’t want to miss out on. It’s Pinterest-quality perfection enjoyed in real life.
Below, find a curated selection of spectacular, family-friendly hikes to see the striking Colorado fall colors. Bring your hiking boots, don’t forget to pack layers, and make sure you have a camera (maybe even a selfie stick) – this is too picturesque not to capture.
The Best Time to See Colorado Fall Colors
The peak time for Colorado leaf peeping varies a bit, depending on the season, the weather, and the elevation of your destination. The great news is that no matter the date in autumn, there are beautiful fall colors to be seen somewhere in the state of Colorado. Let’s dive into the specifics, based on the elevation of your targeted destination:
- Above 9,500 ft: Aim to go Colorado leaf peeping from mid-September to early October
- 7,000-9,000 ft: Pick a date between late September and mid-October
- 6,000-8,000 ft: Most of October will offer stunning fall colors
- 5,280 ft: If you’re heading to the mile high city (Denver) target early October to mid-November
So know that the higher the elevation, the earlier you will need to plan your leaf peeping adventure. If you live in the state of Colorado, just think about all the autumnal adventures to be had!
What to Pack for Your Colorado Leaf Peeping Adventure
Packing properly for your adventure is key. Whether you are going on a serious hike, or simply checking out the autumnal views from your car window, being equipped will allow for the most enjoyable Colorado getaway. Here are some items to consider packing:
- Wear lots of layers
- Lots of water (more than you think you need)
- Snacks (don’t be ‘hangry’)
- Thick pair of socks
- Hiking boots or trail running shoes
Where to See Colorado Fall Colors
Aspen: Maroon Bells
Drenched in aspen groves, few places top the list to experience fall’s glory more than Aspen. Just outside this sophisticated, authentic mountain town, Maroon Bells is our favorite spot to view the changing fall colors. With a picturesque lake, topped by two 14,000 ft mountains of Maroon Bells, it’s no wonder this stunning view is one of North America’s most photographed spots.
Cuvée Style: Look to your Cuvée Experience Curator to arrange the excursion, complete with a Go Pro to capture the moment, and a post-hike, red-checkered, gourmet picnic. How perfect does a charcuterie board and a bottle of bubbly sound, following your Colorado fall colors exploration?
Vail: Booth Falls
The 3.9 mile round trip to Booth Falls winds through glades of aspen trees, across babbling brooks, and ends at a beautiful waterfall. The trail is rated as moderate, which means almost everyone can enjoy it, but there is some elevation to get your heart pumping.
Cuvée Style: Look to your Cuvée Experience Curator to arrange an early hike, complete with transportation and a gourmet picnic lunch along the river, so you don’t have to fight over a parking spot with the locals. Enjoy seasonal produce and local meats for an al fresco culinary experience as fresh as the mountain breeze.
Beaver Creek: Beaver Lake
The Beaver Lake trailhead is situated just out the back door of The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch. This 4.8 mile round trip is family friendly and winds through beautiful aspen groves and guides you to Beaver Lake.
Cuvée Style: With every detail accounted for, you can focus on the friends and family you are exploring with, along with the stunning Colorado fall colors. Wrap up your leaf peeping with a Cuvée-curated trip to the area’s top breweries and distilleries (you’ve earned it!).