City Cast

Leaf Peep Like a Pro

Peyton Garcia
Peyton Garcia
Posted on September 13
A high-level view of leaves changing colors along Guanella Pass

Leaves begin to change colors along Guanella Pass. (Olivia Jewell Love / City Cast Denver)

Autumn is almost here and it’s bringing glorious shades of gold and copper all across the Rocky Mountains, so bust out your binoculars, fill up the Subaru, and let’s go leaf-peeping.

How Good Will Leaf-Peeping Be This Year?

Based on the current health of Colorado’s aspens, state forestry experts are feeling especially excited. This year’s cool and wet conditions kept harmful pests and droughts at bay.

When Will Leaves Start to Change Color?

Local forestry experts are predicting the following schedule:

  • Northern mountains (Rocky Mountain National Park, Upper Poudre Canyon, Steamboat, etc.): Mid- to late-September
  • Central mountains (Vail, Aspen, Crested Butte, etc.): Late September to early October
  • Southern Mountains (San Juan and Sangre de Cristo mountains, Mesa Verde, Durango, Telluride, etc.): Second and third week of October

You can also track the color changes on this interactive Fall Foliage Prediction Map.

Where Are the Best Views?

The Coloradoan whipped up this list of “best fall color drives,” and Uncover Colorado offers up a few favorite picks, as well.

What Spots Should Be Skipped?

Experts warn that Kenosha Pass — normally a leaf-peeper go-to — may offer less than its usual grandeur due to some beetle damage. We should also keep our fingers crossed for no early frosts, which would bring leaf-peeping season to an early end.

📸 Tag us (@citycastdenver) in your leaf-peeping pics on Instagram, and we’ll share them in our stories!

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