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Colorado Fall colors just beginning at lower elevations

fall colors
fall colors
Rich Grant

Colorado offers one of the longest periods of fall colors of any state in the country. Leaves start turning at high elevation in mid-September, but you can still find fall color down on the high plains well into November. Throughout Colorado, there are 1.9 million acres of aspen trees -- over one billion trees that if placed together would cover an area larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined.

Fall colors along Abyss Trail, on Guenela Pass
Rich Grant

Throughout the summer, the aspen, which seldom grows more than a few inches in diameter, is overpowered by mountainsides of dark green conifers. But around mid-September, an amazing transformation takes place and the little aspen becomes the "Clark Kent" of trees, suddenly turning into one of the most spectacular sights on earth -- a mountainside of shimmering gold.

While many of the aspens at higher elevations have already turned color and fallen, there are still wonderful pockets of color at lower elevations, as well as cottonwoods and scrub oak along river valleys. Down on the plains of the Front Range, from Fort Collins through Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo, trees are just beginning to turn, offering another six weeks of fall color.

Some great late fall viewing sites for color include:

Central City & Black Hawk. The low elevation hills around these two old gold mining towns have lots of aspens and cottonwoods and can still offer great fall color through mid-October.

Boulder. Just east of Boulder at 75th and Arapahoe Road, Cottonwood Farm offers a pumpkin patch and plenty of fall color. The Pearl Street Mall and the walk along Boulder Creek are also excellent for late fall colors. More pumpkin patches can be found all along the Front Range.

Denver: All of the city’s great parks, Washington Park, City Park, Cheesman Park, offer great color, as does the 66 mile long Highline Canal, most of which is lined with trees.

Colorado Springs: Garden of the Gods offers beautiful fall colors against brilliant red rocks for much of October.

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