Sprawling 106 acres in Utah’s Fishlake National Forest, Pando is the largest known aspen clone in the world. But with research, experts suspect a larger one could be found — perhaps in Colorado’s mountains.

We asked where they would look (and now would be a good time, with leaves glowing). Here’s some of what they said:

1. Grand Mesa

The gentler topography of the planet’s largest flattop mountain could be perfect for an aspen clone to regenerate and thrive. Take a look for yourself on the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway, running 50 miles between the towns of Mesa and Cedaredge.

2. Kebler Pass

Autumn colors on Kebler Pass near Crested Butte, Colorado. Photo Credit :Brent_1 (iStock).
Autumn colors on Kebler Pass near Crested Butte, Colorado. Photo Credit :Brent_1 (iStock).

The 30-mile road between Crested Butte and Paonia has a world-renowned reputation for leaf-peeping and photography. And it makes sense, with massive groves complementing the Dyke, the jagged rock formation stretching over the seemingly endless canopy.

3. Owl Creek Pass

Moon over Owl Creek Pass 2014. Photo by Anne Barhyte, Photographer of Life
Moon over Owl Creek Pass 2014. Photo by Anne Barhyte, Photographer of Life

Chimney Rock and Courthouse Mountain are among the head-turners on this old cattle trail near Ridgway. Towering stands grow amid the scenery that defined the movie “True Grit.”

4. Rabbit Ears Pass

The end of Rabbit Ears trail is seen from the road of Rabbit Ears Pass on Thursday, September 20, 2018. Photo Credit: Kelsey Brunner, The Gazette.
The end of Rabbit Ears trail is seen from the road of Rabbit Ears Pass on Thursday, September 20, 2018. Photo Credit: Kelsey Brunner, The Gazette.

Straddling the Continental Divide, U.S. 40 offers all the mountain majesty you can imagine — plus immense groves. Dumont Lake, 22 miles southeast of Steamboat Springs, is especially recommended.

5. Red Mountain Pass

Aspens on Red Mountain Pass glow in the afternoon Wednesday, September 20, 2017, between Ouray and Silverton, Colorado. Photo Credit: Christian Murdock, The Gazette.
Aspens on Red Mountain Pass glow in the afternoon Wednesday, September 20, 2017, between Ouray and Silverton, Colorado. Photo Credit: Christian Murdock, The Gazette.

It’s a perfect showcase for fall foliage. Feast your eyes on this hilly stretch of U.S. 550 between Ouray and Silverton, two of the more picturesque towns in the San Juan Mountains.

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