Colorado Aspen Trees (Photo Credit: Matt Inden/Weaver Multimedia Group, Colorado Tourism Office)
by , SmarterTravel Staff
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on September 25, 2008. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: Alton, Arkansas, Asheville, Aspen, camping, Colorado, Connecticut, destination, Eugene, fall, hiking, Illinois, Kate Hamman, Litchfield, mountain, North Carolina, Oregon, Ozark, road trip, romantic travel, seasonality, shoulder season, state park, Vail, weekend getaways.


Beginning in the first weeks of September, luscious reds and golden hues start to creep across Colorado's hillsides, setting them ablaze with color. The one thing that sets this scene apart from other foliage destinations is the stark contrast of white aspen tree trunks against the flourish of changing leaves.

Since the state offers countless places to see the leaves change colors, planning a trip can be a bit overwhelming. However, timing is everything when it comes to leaf-peeping, so decide where to go based on when you can go. Call the National Forest Service Fall Color Hotline at 800-354-4595 to find out the best times to visit.


If you're coming from Denver, one of the easier-to-reach driving tours is along Route 70. Make Vail your home base, and take advantage of a fall foliage package that starts at $149 in October and November, and includes overnight accommodations, use of a Volvo, a picnic lunch, and a complimentary bottle of wine.

From here, travel east towards Grand Junction, where you can stop in the aptly-named town of Aspen for a quick break and a bit of shopping. The road follows the Colorado River, where you'll encounter cottonwoods intermixed with aspens. If you have time, veer off on Route 65 towards Grand Mesa for a bird's-eye view of the colorful foliage.

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