As fall tiptoes into Colorado, the trees in each of Shea Homes' master-planned housing communities are changing. As you enjoy your cup of coffee on the patio in the morning sunrise, you might see golden tendrils creeping into the emerald leaves. Maybe you’re noticing that your evening walks are glowing bronze, russet, and copper. Autumn colors start early in Colorado elevations, so we want to help you get a jump on leaf-peeping with a list of our favorite places to watch nature’s costume change.
Beginning with Buffalo Pass — a dirt road just west of town winding eight miles up toward the Continental Divide and Summit Lake and lined with row after row of dazzling aspen groves — the area surrounding Steamboat Springs provides stunning views in multiple locations. You can also take the Steamboat Lake Loop, featuring vast pockets of colorful lakeside aspen trees as well as multiple easy hiking trails perfect for the whole family.
Kebler Pass is a gorgeous high-mountain pass connecting Crested Butte to Aspen near the quaint hamlets of Redstone and Carbondale. The pass runs through Gunnison National Forest and the West Elk Mountains — home to one of the largest aspen groves in the United States — and summits at 10,007 feet above sea level. The autumn colors riot here, drawing international nature photographers and locals alike to the astonishing crimson and honeyed hues.
The Telluride Free Gondola is a popular and environmentally friendly way to view Telluride’s amazing fall colors. Ride above — and through — aspen groves as they take on their elegant autumnal appearance. The aerial views include the picturesque town of Telluride, its iconic box canyon, and the nearby valleys bursting with colorful aspens and evergreens. Other options for viewing the trees include the perfect-for-biking Prospect Trail and the slightly more rigorous Jud Wiebe Trail, a three-mile loop that winds through immense aspen groves and passes by breathtaking Comet Falls.
Butler Gulch Trail (Clear Creek County)
Clear Creek County is barely an hour outside of Denver, making it a convenient location to check out the aspens in all their seasonal glory. Even though it’s close to the city, this trail offers a total mountain experience with mile-long views, waterfalls, fall foliage, and more. An important note: If you want to visit during peak leaf-changing season, be sure to leave early. The parking lot fills up fast on weekends!