Article and Photos by Oxana Volokhova
Ahhh, it’s the best time of the year. Pumpkin spice everything has returned, the evenings are nice and crisp, Halloween is around the corner and best of all the leaves are changing!
It still may be toasty in Denver and surrounding areas, but don’t let that fool you! It is getting chilly up in the foothills and mountains and before we know it winter will be here. So be sure to pack up the family and take advantage of the beautiful Autumn foliage that is all around! There are so many great places to check out the beautiful Aspen trees changing from a bright green to a beautiful vibrant yellow. What’s even more exciting is that since Aspen groves are one of the largest living organisms when you find a large patch it can go on for miles and just light up everything in yellow! Like little gems hidden among the Evergreens (which stay green year-round).
Guanella Pass | Grant, Colorado
One of our favorite places to easily access the beauty is on Guanella Pass just a few miles past downtown Bailey traveling on Highway 285, you’ll make a right onto the historic Guanella Pass Byway located in Grant, Colorado. From there it’s about an hour start to finish to Historic Georgetown and this can connect you back to I-70 for a nice loop trip if you’re headed back to Denver, but don’t rush it! If you’re leaf-peeping be sure to not let the warm city temps fool you. It can get chilly up here and be sure to come before the frosts start. That can turn the trees brown early if you don’t time it right. We find the best time to come is early morning or just before sunset as the light is best then. Also, make a note to try and not travel South on 285 on Fridays and North on Sundays. That is a pro tip! Any other time is usually clear and free of traffic.
When you are headed on a leaf-peeping adventure be sure to have your phone charged, camera-ready and a few layering pieces ready as the weather can change in the mountains quickly. Pack a day bag, maybe a blanket and even a little picnic to make the adventure complete. Nothing like cherishing a crisp cider under a blanket of golden aspens as the sunsets. If you’re wanting to get some good photos a tripod is a handy friend to get the family pic and play around with which direction you shoot. If you are in an aspen grove and point towards the sun you can get some magical effects! Or lay on the ground and point the camera straight up for perspective and contrast with yellow ad blue sky.
Kenosha Pass | Jefferson, Colorado
If you keep driving past the Guanella Pass Highway you will wind up on top of Kenosha Pass where you may even find a moose buddy to greet you. Park your car and hike on in (easy hike) to find yourself under a blanket of gold. We love living in Bailey and are fortunate to be 20 minutes to the Guanella Pass Byway and really love taking day trips up there. If you’re feeling motivated you can even do some more intermediate to advanced hikes all along the road. Just make sure to be prepared for some cooler weather, beautiful views and fun times! Happy leaf peeping ya’ll!
Park County is home to many wonderful areas to see the fall leaves! Be sure to visit and enjoy them before they’re gone!
- On 285 from Bailey to Grant is where you can access Guanella Pass to Historic Georgetown and loop back towards Denver via I-70.
- Pass by Grant to head towards Kenosha Pass for trails, views and high likelihood to see moose!
- Continue to Fairplay where you can divert to Breckenridge, or travel towards Antero Junction to Buena Vista or Hartsel to Guffey or Lake George!