Fall is one of my favorite times of the year to hike. The scenery is quite extraordinary. Maybe not quite as colorful as the east and midwest, but they don’t have the backdrop of high snowy peaks in the distance either. These are my picks for the top fall hikes.
Timing: Timing is critical for these hikes if you wish to see fall colors at their peak. Unfortunately there is no hard and fast guide because it is a little different every year. The Aspens will start changing at the highest elevations in late August. The peak is typically mid-September, and gets earlier as altitude rises.
Kenosha Pass: Every year, huge crowds assemble at Kenosha Pass near Fairplay, directly on route 285. And I have to agree, it truly is the best leaf peeping I’ve seen in Colorado. The area has become so overcrowded, however, that I rarely go there anymore. The crowds really ruin the atmosphere of the place. But if you can get there on a weekday, you definitely should!
Hell’s Hole Trail: Don’t let the name scare you, this is an amazing hike in the Mt. Evans Wilderness west of Idaho Springs. The high elevation means you better do this one early. Mid-September is usually the height of color for this one. There is plenty of colorful ground cover in addition to the Aspens, especially as you get near Tundra level. Hell’s Hole Trail Description
Wheat Ridge Greenbelt: The lower altitude of this trail system near Golden makes for great October sightseeing. It is also paved most of the way and suitable for road bikes and mountain bikes. My favorite place to start is the trailhead just past the the Youngfield WalMart, then head east along Clear Creek through park after park along the Greenbelt. Wheat Ridge Greenbelt Information