Autumn yellow foliage on an aspen branch. Photo Credit: Natalia Kokhanova (iStock).

Autumn yellow foliage on an aspen branch. Photo Credit: Natalia Kokhanova (iStock).

It's almost that time of the year when the aspen trees turn gold and beautiful fall colors start to come out in Colorado. While predicting when the color changes will happen is not an exact science and can vary greatly by location, several sources have published date ranges regarding when leaf peepers can expect to see the best fall colors.

Based on predictions from SmokyMountains.com, here's a brief look at when the fall colors are expected to peak around the state of Colorado.

September 13th-20th

  • Steamboat Springs
  • Vail
  • Breckenridge
  • Eagle
  • Craig

September 20th-27th

  • Montrose
  • Crested Butte
  • Durango
  • Aspen
  • Grand Junction
  • Gunnison
  • Salida

September 27th-October 4th

  • Telluride
  • Silverton
  • Ouray
  • Durango
  • Cortez

October 4th-11th

  • Cañon City
  • Boulder
  • Fort Collins
  • Colorado Springs
  • Denver

RELATED: Take a fall road trip through Colorado to see the color-changing aspen leaves

Based on this forecast, viewing conditions in Rocky Mountain National Park and Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests are expected to be ideal around mid-September.

This time frame closely aligns with north central areas of the state, including Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests.

Meanwhile, fall colors in White River National Forest and the surrounding peaks of the Elk Mountains are likely turn a little later around mid-to-late September.

Fall colors in the Southwestern Region are likely to turn gold by late September and into early October. Surrounding national forests include Uncompahgre, San Juan, and Rio Grande.

On the Front Range, peak colors are likely to transform around early-to-mid October.

Predictions from KDVR differ slightly, forecasting an earlier peak arrival for southwestern areas of the state. 

On the other hand, the Farmers Almanac predicts peak fall colors to arrive around October 5th-14th.

Fall colors usually peak anywhere from mid-September to early October. Keep in mind that the timing and intensity of the color varies each year depending on a variety of factors, including temperature, winds, precipitation, elevation, insects, and fungus.

As a general rule of thumb, the leaves change sooner the higher up you go in the mountains where colder temperatures are present earlier in the season. 

But ultimately, it's up to Mother Nature. Twists and turns in the weather pattern will certainly have an impact on how the fall colors will shape up this year.

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