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12 Scenic Drives to See Fall Colors in Colorado

By: Breanna Sneeringer

Toss your hiking boots aside, hop in the car, and get ready for a colorful adventure across some of the most magnificent landscapes in Colorado. Here's your go-to guide for seeing fall foliage across the beautiful Centennial State all from the comfort of your vehicle. Road-trippers get ready to be dazzled by mother nature's remarkable display of fall color. Editor's Note: Please check weather conditions, current road conditions, and closures before planning your travels to any one of these destinations. High-elevation roads are often inaccessible due to snow, even in the early fall months.

1. Soak Up The Beauty of Fall Along Boreas Pass

Seeking fall bliss? Step into fall with a mountain town adventure to Boreas Pass in Breckenridge, Colorado. Feast your eyes on 22-miles of fall foliage. From sparkling gold to fiery orange to cinnamon changing leaves, this is one beauty show you don’t want to miss.

Insider Tip: There are two starting points – Breckenridge or Como. Low-clearance 2WD cars are able to navigate from either side of the pass. Check road conditions before planning your scenic adventure, winter activity can result in large potholes and large debris scatter along this route. Like most mountain passes, anticipate for a bumpy ride jammed packed with breathtaking scenery. For more information click here..

Boreas Pass, Colorado. Photo Credit: jaygannett (Flickr)
Kebler Pass Fall Colors, Photo Credit: beklaus (iStock).

2. Drive Through Kebler Pass for Unforgettable Fall Colors

Twist and turn through the mountains as you take in all the fall glory to be explored along Kebler Pass. This 33-mile long route traversing from Paonia to Crested Butte is popular among fall seekers from as early as September to mid-October, depending on weather conditions.

Insider Tip: If you’re planning on pitching a tent, be sure to arrive early to find a spot. While some campgrounds require reservations, you’ll find a number of sites available on a first-come-first-served basis. Aways remember to Leave No Trace..

Kebler Pass Fall Colors, Photo Credit: beklaus (iStock).

3. Hunt Down Sprawling Aspens on Trail Ridge Road

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Parks offers some of the most breathtaking fall colors that you will ever lay your eyes upon. Brace yourself for a leaf-peeping adventure as you chase down mountain views framed in nature’s truest colors.

Insider Tip: Fall is a popular time for wildlife viewing in Rocky Mountain National Park. Plan to start your adventure to avoid crowds and delays. Here are a few things to know before visiting Rocky Mountain National Park.

Mountain National Park, September 19, 2014. Photo Credit: Kent Kanouse.
San Juan Mountains from Last Dollar Road Photo Credit: RichardSeeley (iStock).

4. Capture the Beauty of Autumn from Last Dollar Road

Enjoy colorful mountain views and fall beauty as you drive up Last Dollar Road in Telluride. Peep at fiery red and yellow autumn foliage as you make the glorious stretch through the stunning San Juan Mountains. Mountain vistas seen from this road include Sneffels Mountain Range and Wilson Peak.

Insider Tip: Due to road conditions, high clearance 4WD vehicle are recommended. Be prepared for off-roading conditions. This means navigating around potholes, muddy patches, and heaving bumps along the unpaved road. For more information on Last Dollar Road click here.

San Juan Mountains from Last Dollar Road Photo Credit: RichardSeeley (iStock).

5. Discover the Beauty of Changing Foliage at Independence Pass

Independence Pass in the fall is a true delight. Soak in blazing fall colors as you journey through the fourth highest road in America. This 12,095-foot mountain pass is filled with rich and radiant fall colors.

Insider Tip: Tucked away off this scenic mountain pass lies ice caves and waterfalls. Here are a few natural treasures worth exploring along Independence Pass.

There are hotspots for leaf-peepers to experience fall colors in many areas of Colorado. Photo Credit: tonda (iStock) .
Grand Mesa Overlook. Photo Credit: Stewart M Green - OutThere Colorado.

6. Enjoy The Beauty of Fall Along Grand Mesa Byway

If you’re looking for a blissful weekend surrounded by fall colors, a scenic drive on Grand Mesa Byway is the way to go. The route is exploding with color, and no other mountain drive captures the fall season quite like it. Thrill your heart with mountain views framed in autumn’s colorful hues of yellow, orange, red, and purple. This route is a favorite among fall photographers.

Photo Credit: Grand Mesa Overlook. Photo Credit: Stewart M. Green
Old Mine in Cripple Creek, Colorado

7. Discover Fall Color on Highway 67

You don’t know fall bliss until you drive along Highway 67 from Woodland Park to Cripple Creek. The aspens here are on full display throughout much of the fall season. Catch eye-popping views with magnificent shades of champagne gold coupled with the beauty of the blue mountain sky.

Insider Tip: Stretch your legs along the way by exploring nearby destinations including Mueller State Park and Pancake Rocks. For more information on visiting Mueller State Park click here.
The colors along Highway 67 to Cripple Creek are accessible, but hurry — they peak and fade quickly.
Photo Credit: CO_Wizard (iStock).

8. Color Your Adventure by Taking Guanella Pass

A 23 mile-drive on Guanella Pass provides the perfect fall escape for leaf seekers. Track down fall colors by taking the Georgetown exit right off I-70. Drive through the charming mountain town and make your way to Guanella Pass Road for unforgettable fall beauty.

Insider Tip: Add bagging a Colorado 14er to your fall bucket list. Mount Bierstadt is conveniently located right off Guanella Pass. For more information on hiking Colorado 14ers click here.

Guanella Pass near Georgetown, Colorado. Photo Credit: alexmerwin13 (Flickr).

9. Journey along the San Juan Skyway

Travel the Million Dollar Highway along the San Juan Skyway in Telluride for intense fall colors. Tap into the beauty of the season while enjoying grand views of the San Juans including Mount Sneffels. This fall drive is one that you’ll never forget.

San Juan Skyway. Photo Credit: (Flickr).

10. Experience the Magic of Autumn Along the Alpine Loop

Every autumn the aspens put on a colorful show in Colorado. Head up to the “Switzerland of America” and take the Alpine Loop for dreamy fall display. Let yourself be charmed by spectacular fall colors of rusty red, champagne gold, and blazing yellow.

Insider Tip: This scenic drive is only recommended for high clearance 4×4 vehicles. Jeep rentals are available at any one of the starting points including Lake City, Silverton or Ouray. Plan on reserving anywhere between four to six hours for driving the pass. For more details click here .
Alpine Loop, Colorado. Photo Credit: Larry Lamsa (Flickr).

11. Experience The Colors of Fall Along Pikes Peak

The fall foliage up Pikes Peak Highway is a sight to be seen. The exhilarating drive up America’s favorite mountain will take you to some of the most spectacular fall colors in Colorado. Get your camera ready, because this fall drive is a real beauty. Crystal Creek Reservoir and Devil’s Playground offer great pit stops along your scenic journey.

Insider Tip: Check road conditions before planning your travels to Pikes Peak. It’s also important to take care of your breaks while ascending down the pass. When traveling down any steep mountain pass in Colorado, drivers should shift into a lower gear to prevent brakes from overheating. For more tips on visiting Pikes Peak and some of our favorite things to do click here.
Crystal Lake at the base of 14,000 Pikes Peak Colorado in the autumn. Photo Credit: SWKrullImaging (iStock).
Bachelor Loop Fall Tim Engleman OutThere Colorado

12. Fall Wonder Awaits Along Bachelor Loop

Bachelor Loop is full of changing aspen leaves just waiting to be explored. Take a scenic 17-mile drive through historic mining districts and abandoned ghost towns near the mountain town of Creede. Plan to spend about 1-2 hours driving this beautiful road.

Insider Tip: Before you go, the weather and current road conditions. It’s also worth mentioning that four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended for traveling along the east route. For more information, click here.
Photo Credit: Tim Engleman

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