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Not many places in the country have such large amounts of aspen trees as Colorado does, arguably the most admired leaf-bearing tree in the state. When the sunlight reflects just right on yellow aspen leaves, it can seem almost magical.
Regarding the best times for fall foliage viewing, the colors tend to be most vibrant from mid-September to early October. In the higher elevations, the season begins sooner; the lower elevations, later. Each year the timing is different. It's good to check with a local visitor center for advise on when they may turn and where the viewing is the best.
In Fourteener country, below are five recommended scenic autumn drives that are well-known to dazzle autumn lovers:
Cottonwood Lake / Cottonwood Pass – Two scenic canyon areas approximately six miles west of Buena Vista.
Twin Lakes / Independence Pass – Starting in Twin Lakes, scenic Highway 82 runs through a beautiful canyon full of aspens.
Aspen Ridge – Miles of stunning aspen groves on this high trail, A beautiful ridge which runs about parallel to Hwy 285 to the east of the highway between the towns of Buena Vista to the north and Salida to the south. Miles of stunning aspen groves with amazing views of the Collegiate Peaks. From Johnson Village, 4 miles east on Hwy 24, right onto CR 187.
Winfield / Vicksburg / Clear Creek Canyon – Beautiful fall colors among the historic ghost towns in northern Chaffee County.
Chalk Creek Canyon and St. Elmo – From Nathrop, to St. Elmo, a scenic canyon that teems with aspens.