Autumn has a lot of great benefits: pumpkin spice everything, cooler temperatures, better discounts if you're traveling, and in Colorado: aspen leaves!
If this isn't on your bucket list, we encourage you to add it. This is the type of experience that warrants renting a car if you don't have one. The vibrant leaves of aspen trees cover the mountains in fiery reds, oranges and yellows right before falling from the tree. It's a sight that will take your breath away time and time again.
Here are our preferred places to see this colorful display:
An hour and a half in the car will drop you at the foot of Mt. Bierstadt and Mt. Evans and give you stunning views of the Aspens during your drive up the canyon. This is a great option if you prefer to drive around and keep saying "wow" through the window. Leaves are best in late-September.
Mt. Evans Wilderness Area
You can see leaves from the trail head at Echo Lake, but the best views come to those who work. After donning a few layers, take the Chicago Lake's Trail (it's rocky and pretty challenging, but well worth it!) all the way to the Mount Evans Wilderness Area (about 2 miles of hiking) then hike into the valley beyond (that's about another mile). You won't regret it! Leaves are turning already and should last through early October!
Driving up isn't for the faint of heart (more than 2 hours of mountain highway driving, many of the roads don't have rails) but the reward is worth it! Miles and miles of uninterrupted leaves showing off. Visit in early to mid-September, because the leaves drop earlier in this area due to the altitude. Also, to make the drive more manageable, consider staying overnight at the Leadville Hostel.