The trees are starting to change and leaf-peepers across the state are at the ready, eager to get out and experience the fall elegance and artistry of the colorful foliage.
As the last few weeks of summer roll by, we know that means it's getting closer to the leaf-peeping season here in Colorado. Leaf-peeping is a very popular Colorado activity in early fall, as the foliage in mountain oak trees and aspen groves turns from green into an array of deep colors, making for some truly awe-inspiring landscapes.
People flock in droves to the peaks to catch a glimpse of the aspen trees as they change, which usually starts to happen in mid-September and will continue through mid-October.
2019 should be a prime year for colorful fall foliage, especially in higher elevations, in large part due to the very wet spring Colorado had this year combined with hotter temps in recent months. The southwest part of the state may see areas where trees have dropped leaves early, due to fungal leaf spotting caused by all the extra moisture last spring, though the show is still expected to be spectacular.
Fall moisture can put a damper on things, as it will soak the leaves and cause them to drop earlier, ultimately shortening the season for foliage viewers—this is always a concern this time of year. With all the different elevations around the state, a short drive can take dedicated leaf-peepers to peak fall colors all over the state.
But expect some heavy traffic if you head out in the next few weeks. It's no surprise to find slow, stopped, and heavily delayed traffic on peak weekends.
Temperature, location, moisture, and weather will all factor into the length and depth of colors. Statewide leaves should be changing by the end of September, with some areas peaking in early- to mid-October. The northwest portion of the state should see full colors and prime viewing at the start of October, while other areas in the southwest and central areas will peak a little later, near mid-October. By Halloween, leaves are expected to have dropped and most of the state will be passed the peak season for fall foliage.
If you are planning to head up to the peaks in the next months or so, you can check for prime foliage conditions before you go. An interactive Fall Foliage Map was created by smokymountains.com, and while it may not be 100 percent accurate, it's actually a rather helpful tool when planning a leaf-peeping trip. According to the map, most of the state will be past peak foliage season by October 26 this year.
Courtesy of Pixabay
There are plenty of easy-to-access and hard-to-find spots all over the Centennial State to catch the fall colors, snap a picture or two, and just relax and enjoy the view of the red, gold, orange, and yellows hues that blanket the state. Rocky Mountain National Park is always a popular destination, as is Estes Park.
Estes Park will host the Autumn Gold Festival in just a couple of weeks. The festival celebrates all that makes autumn in Colorado a virtual paradise; golden aspens, beer, brats, funnel cakes, and live bands will all be included.
There are so many places for folks to get out, explore, and catch one of the greatest shows out there, all courtesy of Mother Nature. Whether you go by car, by bike, or by foot, find some time to get out enjoy Colorado’s fabulous fall colors—just of the many natural wonders of our amazing state.
Where is your favorite spot to go leaf-peeping in Colorado? Let us know in the comments below and share your fall foliage photos with us!