Autumn has arrived in the Centennial State, and with it comes the golden flutter of our native aspens. From the Denver metro area west to Utah, Colorado's yellow leaf roads wind through some of the season's most spectacular scenery. In our September print edition, we declared Kenosha Pass, Independence Pass, the Million Dollar Highway, and McClure Pass as four of the very best fall-foliage journeys. But here, we give you 10 more drives not to be missed.
Kebler Pass (County Road 12)
Drive west out of Crested Butte on this dirt-and-gravel road to find one of the world's largest groupings of golden aspens quaking in the shadows of the reddish hues of the Ruby Range.
Guanella Pass (Georgetown to Grant) Switchback your way up and out of Georgetown on this now-paved "scenic and historic byway." Large stands of aspen hug the southern side of the pass.
Maroon Bells Take the Maroon Bells turnoff between Snowmass and Aspen and enter one of the most photographed wilderness areas in America. During the fall, spectacular streaks of yellow make their way up Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak (both fourteeners), which is no surprise, as you're only 30 minutes from a town called Aspen.
Cottonwood Pass (Forest Service Road 306) Aspens fill mountainsides, riverbanks, crevasses, lakesides, and valleys in the area around the Collegiate Peaks. West of Buena Vista you can head over Cottonwood Pass and experience brilliant yellows and oranges set against the deep green of pine.
Trail Ridge Road (U.S. Highway 34 from Estes Park to Grand Lake) One of the highest paved roads in the country, Trail Ridge skirts 12,000 in elevation and allows above-the-clouds views of the aspens below.
Mt. Evans Scenic Byway (Colorado Highway 103 from Idaho Springs to Echo Lake) This fairly short jaunt (about 24 miles) brings you upon the clear, blue miracle of Echo Lake, which is rimmed in sunny aspens during the fall.
Gold Camp Road (Colorado Highway 67) Between the towns of Divide and Cripple Creek, Gold Camp Road lives up to its moniker. Golden aspens line the route, which also crosses the striking Arequa Gulch on a 250-foot-high bridge.
Cameron Pass (Colorado Highway 14 through Poudre Canyon) This route rolls through beautiful canyon country along the babbling Poudre River, which is all the more beautiful spotted with fall foliage.
County Road 162 (off U.S. 285 near Salida to St. Elmo) Climb up the side of Mt. Princeton, along crystal clear Chalk Creek, and into the ghost town of St. Elmo. The aspens are everywhere—but they are only part of the must-see scenery.
County Road 103 (aka Laramie River Road) Turn north off of Colorado Highway 14 (on Cameron Pass) onto this dirt road that meanders its way through a beautiful valley and along the Laramie River. The aspens, some of which lean toward a reddish hue, make their home along the north side of the valley.