Want to immerse yourself in the colorful leaves this Fall, but don’t want to drive hours to do it? We’ve put together a list of the best trails near the Denver area to see the Fall colors of Colorado. Note: September is the best time to go!
Devil’s Head Firetower:
This hike is best in the fall season because the drive up there will take you up Rampart Range road which is full of changing Aspen trees. Once you are at the top, there is a beautiful 360 degree view of Colorado colors for miles. This is a 2.8 mile, moderate hike and it’s about an hour drive from Denver.
Elk Falls Overlook at Staunton State Park
Elk Falls is a bit more challenging hike and is near both Guanella Pass and Hoosier Pass. Both are beautiful in the fall. One of the perks of Staunton State Park is that you have other options; such as shorter strolls with aspen meadows and large pines, and more moderate hikes through the heart of the park. After the hike, there are options to drive further out route 285 to Hoosier pass or to take the seasonal road up Guanell Pass.
Sprague Lake Loop in Rocky Mountain National Park
Now for an easy one: Sprague Lake Loop offers an ½ mile loop hike with 360 degree breathtaking views of the changing aspens mirrored in face of the water and the leaden grey peaks in the distance. It’s a two-hour drive from Denver, and requires a park pass, but it is definitely worth it.
Raccoon Loop at Golden Gate Canyon
This 2.5 mile hike in Golden Gate State Park has panoramic views of the Front Range all lit up with gold and green. The Raccoon Loop hike weaves through meadows of changing aspen trees, past seasonal creeks, and through a pine forest. The drive from Golden to the park takes you along a curvy road, so take your time and watch out for cyclists!
Kenosha Pass Hike
Kenosha pass is one of the best places to soak in miles and miles of mountains and golden aspens in the Fall. This trail is easy/moderate and can feel very long. Most hikers will only go a short distance. However, if you are able to push further beyond the congestion to higher points, you’ll see views of South Park and the Ten Mile Range of the Rocky Mountains.
Butler Gulch Hike
You will never feel more submerged in the mountains than you do on this hike near Berthoud Falls, and it’s only about an hour drive from Denver! This trail gains altitude quickly and offers incredible views the entire way with beautiful fall colors. If you hike a little further, you will make it to the continental divide for a 360 panoramic view of mountains. Note: be sure to arrive early because parking spaces fill up this time of year!
This hike in Rocky Mountain National Park has aspen trees, mountain streams, cascades and a 40 foot waterfall at the end! Before you reach the falls, this hike follows a number of creeks and takes hikers past three other cascade waterfalls. Ouzel Falls is known as one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the national park. Be sure to grab a map of the park for parking details, trail info and tips!
This beautiful fall hike in Indian Peaks Wilderness leads to a high mountain lake surrounded by multiple peaks. The gold and red aspen trees throughout the hike will take your breath away, while continuing onto a waterfall and an old mine site on the way to Diamond Lake. Note: If you don’t get a chance to go in the fall, this hike is also particularly beautiful in the summer when you can catch the wildflowers.
This hike near Idaho Springs is a more difficult hike. It leads in the heart of the front range. In the canyon you will find incredible views of Clear Creek, mountain peaks and the Loveland ski area. The trailhead leads back to a spacious lake underneath Pettingell Peak. If you want to mix it up, this hike is also great for snowshoeing and skiing activities in the winter months!
There isn’t a hike on this list that will disappoint! Pack up your car and experience one of the best seasons this state has to offer.
Brought to you by Tara Schumann, Social Media/Marketing Manager for TJC Real Estate and Management Services.
Your Neighborhood Realtors® Since 2005