12 Colorado Drives to See Fall Colors
Do you love fall colors as much as I do?! Colorado has a lot of beautiful places to see fall colors. If you're looking to plan a day trip or a weekend to include beautiful scenery and fall colors, this list of 12 Colorado drives is a good place to start! Each of the 12 are marked on the map below so you can see where they are in the state.
1. Trail Ridge Road
Trail Ridge Road is a 48 mile scenic drive in Northern Colorado in Rocky Mountain National Park. It's a great drive to see lots of elk during the fall rut. Since the drive is in the National Park, there is a $20 per car fee. Also check out the towns of Estes Park and Grand Lake!
2. Buffalo Pass
Located near Steamboat, Colorado, Buffalo Pass is a great 15-mile drive to see Routt National Forest as it winds up to 10,400 feet elevation at Summit Lake. You might need a higher clearance or 4WD vehicle if you go all the way to Walden.
3. Flat Tops Trail
The 82-mile Flat Tops Trail byway goes through a pristine landscape that's great for viewing wildlife! You'll pass active mines, ranches, Trappers Lake and woodlands on this scenic route.
4. Independence Pass
As the fourth highest road in America, Independence Pass is a 12,095-foot mountain pass filled with beautiful fall colors in September and October. You might even see ice caves and waterfalls tucked away along this drive!
5. Grand Mesa Byway
The 50-mile Grand Mesa Scenic Byway travels between Cedaredge and Mesa, CO, traveling through the Grand Mesa National Forest. You'll see Grand Mesa, the largest mesa in the world, spanning 500 square miles and rising between 5,000 and 11,237 feet of elevation. You may want to visit the Land's End Observatory or just enjoy the views of Plateau Creek and Debeque Canyon.
6. Highway of Legends Scenic Byway
The Highway of Legends from Walsenburg to Trinidad travels 80 miles on US-160 and CO-12 through impressive mountain views. You may want to check out the historic town of Walsenburg or Lathrop State Park along your way!
7. Alpine Loop
The 73-mile Alpine Loop National Back Country Byway is located near gorgeous Silverton, Colorado. I would recommend a 4WD vehicle for this drive and with nearly 9,000 feet of elevation gain, be sure to check that it's open before you go. Typically, July through October is best.
8. Last Dollar Road
Last Dollar Road is the most off-road scenic route in this list, but is worth it if you have the right vehicle! Colorful mountain views and fall colors are everywhere as you drive up this road in Telluride through the San Juan mountains.
9. San Juan Skyway
The San Juan Mountains are one of my favorites in Colorado! The San Juan Skyway travels through these mountains near Dolores and you'll see Durango, Silverton and Ouray. The drive includes the famous Million Dollar Highway between Silverton and Ouray that is guaranteed to give you white knuckles!
10. Top of the Rockies
The Top of the Rockies scenic and historic byway is 115-miles and a gorgeous drive full of scenery and fall colors amongst the backdrop of 14ers.
11. Peak to Peak Scenic Byway
The Peak to Peak scenic highway is Colorado's oldest scenic byway stretching from Estes Park south. It will take you past several ghost towns and high country lakes while displaying beautiful fall colors among many aspen stands.
12. Guanella Pass
If you've never been to Georgetown, Colorado, you should definitely check out this small, historic town. From Georgetown, Guanella Pass is 23-miles along tight turns and horseshoe curves. But I promise the views won't disappoint!