The dramatic display of colorful colors is a terrific excuse to hit the open road and do some leaf peeping as the autumn season approaches. “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower,” Albert Camus said. Whether you take a leisurely drive around town, go on a day excursion somewhere nearby, or embark on a long road trip, staring at spectacular fall leaves is a free and enjoyable activity. What more could you want?
Autumn officially begins on September 22nd this year, but looking at the trees in most parts of the country, you wouldn't know it. Although the shift from green to brown varies significantly from year to year and is dependent on how long it takes for the hot summer temperatures to dissipate, trees in the far north of the country begin to show signs of fall color by mid-September.
As trees change color in the next weeks, the transition to color gradually spreads across the country's middle and lower areas. As you might think, the transition occurs later in the year in the warmer parts of the country, with the first signs appearing around early-to-mid October.
The first signs of fall color will always be detected in the most northern parts of the country – and also in the most elevated regions. For example, in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, colors change as early as the first or second week of September where the elevation is over 4,000 feet. The forested areas below this level remain mostly green until about mid-October.
The best times to view the colors here in Colorado are now through this coming weekend (October 17th) so if you don't have plans this weekend make a plan to hop in the car and visit the beauty of our state!
The best place in Northern Colorado to view the fall color changes is Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park.