You would think a state with so many evergreens would miss out the colorful seasonal, leaf-changing splendor known as fall. However, Colorado has a few tricks up her sleeve when it comes to splashing her hillsides with the oranges and yellows that signal the new season—namely, aspens. These slender stunners change from vibrant green to brilliant gold during the month of September, creating bursts of color amongst the pines. We strongly suggest you head out soon, because these leaves don’t last forever. Pack some hot cider and your favorite sweater (some of these locations get chilly) and head out for a lovely morning of viewing fall leaves in Colorado Springs and beyond.
Aspen Gold Rush: Fall Leaves in Cripple Creek
There’s gold in these hills—not the kind you can cash in for millions, but certainly the kind you can deposit in your memory banks and photo albums. Cruise Highway 24 and catch CO-67 to Cripple Creek or take a more rustic route via Gold Camp Road to Victor and hitting CO-67 from the other direction. All along the route, you’ll find gorgeous views of the countryside and the trees preparing for winter. Up in the mining town itself, you can hop on the Cripple Creek and Narrow Gauge Railroad (closed for season Sept 7, 2020), which offers a slower cruise through rarely traversed hills and hollows. You can grab a bite to eat in the mining town, or maybe ice cream and fresh-made fudge in one of the local shops.
Peak Fall Leaf Viewing: Cruise, Hike or Bike Pikes Peak
Perhaps you’re looking to view leaves in a more … all-encompassing way? Pikes Peak is probably the best bet for those hoping to look out upon the region as a patchwork quilt of Colorado color. There are multiple ways to traverse this famous 14er. The easiest is to hop on the highway itself, and journey up its proud switchbacks and unique life zones with frequent stops for sips of cider and autumn photos. The next easiest? Bicycle! You’re probably thinking that is an insane idea and not at all easy, but this is an all-downhill adventure. Challenge Unlimited takes you to the top by van (feeding you breakfast first) and then lets you jam 20+ miles downward to a tasty lunch. The most challenging way to the top is via Barr Trail, a 13-mile hike (one way!) that is not for beginners, but allows you to traverse the countryside with multiple photo opps and a reward of hot cocoa, snacks and even more great views at the summit.
Take a Hike: Fall Leaf Viewing at Local Colorado Springs Parks
If you want to spend less time in the car and more time running about in fall splendor, head over to one of Colorado Springs many parks to hike the day away on numerous trails. For an easy walk, check out the paved trails of Garden of the Gods, which weaves through the famous formations and numerous bits of burnished foliage for all your fall viewing desires. For more challenging hikes, Red Rocks Open Space leads you through beautiful formations as well, plus a cool quarry. The flora and fauna here is touched by autumn and trails further in will provide cardio and views of the mountains and changing trees. And, if you’re looking for a trifecta of waterfalls, leaves and views, Cheyenne Canyon offers multiple trails of varying terrain to provide you with all the fall your little heart can take.
When you live in a Rocky Mountain jewel like the Pikes Peak region, it’s really not hard to find a place to enjoy nature’s artistry. What’s hard is fitting a visit to all of them in before the leaves drop and the color of fall is replaced by the white blanket of winter. Pack up the camera and head out soon, these views won’t last much longer!