The aspens will soon paint the mountains in a breathtaking display of color. Each year, these slender white-barked trees show off a spectrum ranging from buttery yellow, champagne gold, amber orange, and blazing red –  but timing is everything when it comes to seeing fall colors in Colorado. If you’re eager to get out there and catch a glimpse, here’s when you can expect to see peak fall foliage across the Centennial State.

Note: Please check weather conditions, current road conditions, and closures before hitting the roads and trails. High-elevation sites are often inaccessible due to snow, even in the early fall months. 

Aspens make up about 20% of Colorado’s forests and are found between 6,900 feet and 10,500 feet in elevation. Peak viewing is typically between the middle of September to mid-October, depending on a number of factors including temperature, moisture, and weather. These factors impact when the leaves start to change, the intensity of color, and how long the colors will last. Aspen also typically change color faster at higher elevation sites.

SmokyMountains.com created an interactive map to determine peak fall colors across the nation for 2019. According to them, patches of color will start to roll into western Colorado as early as September 14, likely showing near full force in most of the state by the end of September. Leaves in the northwest portion of Colorado are expected to peak around October 5, while fall foliage in the north-central and southwest Colorado will be near or at their peak by October 19. As October comes to an end, fall colors across most of the state will have past their peak for 2019.

See when fall colors are expected to peak in other parts of the country here.

Keep in mind that it’s impossible to predict the exact timing of when the leaves will start to turn. Ultimately, mother nature will determine when the colors start to unfold. 

Some of our favorite hiking spots for seeing fall colors around the state include Kenosha Pass, Maroon Bells, Grand Mesa, Swampy Pass, La Veta Pass, Kebler Pass, Jones Pass, and Rocky Mountain National Park. If you’re looking to hit the mountain roads instead, here are 12 scenic drives that will leave you drooling. Happy leaf-peeping friends!

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