Where to See Aspen Leaves — Fall Color Guide!
Early fall is peak color time to see aspen leaves turn multiple shades of bright yellow and shimmery gold. From Crystal Valley you can drive to stunning mountain landscapes within two-hours. Pick your elevation and plan a day trip to take in beautiful fall foliage from now until to mid-November.
You’ll be able to see the beautiful fall hues down through the foothills nestling Castle Rock in another four or five weeks. But if you’re ready now, grab your camera and a picnic lunch and head toward the high country (8,000 to 10,000 feet) for a memory-making day trip!
LATE-SEPTEMBER TO EARLY OCTOBER ABOVE 9,500 FEET
- The elevation of Guanella Pass is 11,670 feet. An hour and 40 minutes from Castle Rock, the Guanella Pass Scenic and Historic Byway follows an old, 23-mile wagon route. This is one of the premier places to see swaths of quaking, shimmering leaves waving against the mountain backdrop.
- Rocky Mountain National Park is just over two hours from Castle Rock and has many groves of aspens around Bear Lake. The trees are also along the way to the park via the scenic Peak-to-Peak Byway from Black Hawk to Estes Park.
AMAZING ASPEN LEAVES UNTIL MID-OCTOBER
- One hour from Crystal Valley (68 miles) are Georgetown and Silver Plume, both surrounded by aspen groves. The Georgetown Loop Railroad is another way to see the autumn leaves as a vintage steam locomotive pulls passengers up the steep grade between the two towns. Tickets are between $18.95 for children and $36.95 for adults.
- The area around Lake Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne is filled with aspen groves, too, and less than a 90-minute drive from Crystal Valley. There are some scenic hikes nearby and an 18-mile paved bike path circling that lake offers spectacular fall foliage scenery in every direction. And that 360o view of the mountains ain’t bad, either!
- Kenosha Pass (9,900-foot elevation) has a three-mile pathway that may well be the most traveled portion of the 500-mile Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango — and for good reason. The panorama of fall colors against a backdrop of imposing 13ers and 14ers is stunning.
UNTIL LATE OCTOBER: 6,000 TO 8,000 FEET
- Interestingly, a few of the old cemeteries near Central City have lots of aspen leaves and other pigment-changing trees along the road to another old mining town, Idaho Springs. If you don’t pack a lunch, there’s plenty of great grub to be had there, from pizza and pub food to steak and BBQ.
- In the foothills 55 miles west of Castle Rock (a one-hour drive), the Golden Gate Canyon State Park has aspen groves at lower elevations, as well as one of the best panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains.
- Just over 50 minutes from Crystal Valley, you can hike to see fall leaves near the trailhead of Maxwell Falls. Not only will you be rewarded with fall color, you’ll get a look at one of the biggest waterfalls within an hour of your front door.
For an overnight getaway, there are some pretty drives farther away that might peak your interest. Some of the most photographed mountains are on this list, because they showcase the natural splendor of high-altitude color.
Fall Leaves in Crystal Valley
The leaves are starting to turn in our Crystal Valley community, a visual reminder of our beautiful surroundings. If you don’t live here yet, visit the sales offices of Richmond American Homes to see the newest ranch and two-story models. Priced from the $300s!