Colorado’s Top 5 Leaf-Peeping Drives

Discover Leaf-Peeping Drives this Fall

Are you looking for some spectacular leaf-peeping drives this fall? Colorado has 26 designated scenic byways, all lighting up during autumn. Discover sights to behold and learn about the historical significance of these fantastic routes from times gone by. Below are some of our favorite scenic byways that are truly delightful, especially in the fall. Please look at our leaf-peeping guide if you need more information about the best places and times to experience the fall colors.

Colorado's Top 5 Leaf Peeping-Drives

Peak to Peak

The Peak to Peak tour is Colorado's Oldest designated scenic byway on the Front Range. This route connects Estes Park to Blackhawk, traveling north-south on a 115-mile stretch of roads. The trail passes through several significant waypoints for sightseeing or activities like hiking and gold panning—a truly spectacular drive. A front-range tour that is easy to access right off Highway 70 via the Black Hawk exit.leaf-peeping-drives

San Juan Skyway

a 233-mile-high mountain loop that travels between Ouray, Silverton, Durango, Dolores, and Telluride. In addition to the spectacular drive, the connecting towns are full of places to see and things to do, such as the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (D&SNGRR) scenic train ride, an incredible way to leaf peep.

Top of the Rockies

A 115-mile drive that crosses the Continental Divide three times and traces the Arkansas River nearly to its source in the vicinity of Fremont Pass. You will pass by two of Colorado's tallest Mountains, Mount Elbert and Mount Massive. Try the route from Twin Lakes over Independence Pass (which tops out over 12,000 feet) on Highway 82 to Aspen.leaf-peeping-drives-aspen

The Goldbelt Tour - Many Leaf-Peeping Drives

Start the tour from Florissant, just 34 miles west of Colorado Springs. Plus, the autumn drive on Highway 24 is also spectacular. The Gold Belt Tour is considered one of Colorado's most scenic byways and a renowned National Historical landmark. Another leaf-peeping option with historical significance is to take Highway 285, the old stagecoach route, out of Denver to Fairplay. Then, you can head south to Highway 24.

The Grand Mesa

On the western slope, east of Grand Junction, lies the Grand Mesa, the largest flat-topped mountain in the world. The drive goes through old-growth forests, past hundreds of lakes and beautiful vistas. Consider turning north to Paonia and taking Kebler Pass to Crested Butte for an extended autumn drive.

Take a Leaf-Peeping Drive this Fall

Fall is often considered the best time of year by many locals and tourists, and indeed, the best time of year to go on leaf-peeping drives. However brief, the changing colors and mountain-scapes take on new vistas and appreciation. With the busy summer season behind us, lodging, camping, and shopping opportunities are much more available throughout the State. Check out renting a cabin at one of Colorado's State Parks. The cool weather naturally draws people together to experience this marvelous time of year.

by Kathleen Fitzsimmons

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