This week is likely the best time in Colorado for seeing the most brilliant fall colors. Aspens and other trees are turning gold, orange and red, and drawing throngs of tourists. The Roaring Fork Valley is listed this autumn in two major travel guides as a top destination for seeing the leaves change. APR’s Elise Thatcher stops by one iconic location.
It’s a clear evening at the Maroon Bells, and there’s a steady stream of people walking along the Maroon Lake Scenic Trail. The mountains are popping with yellow patches up high and sunset purple on the skyline. Robert Stallard recently moved from Saint Louis to Denver, and this late-day visit to the Bells was unplanned.
“The color’s intense, and the air is just clean and pure. It’s just really nice, beautiful.”
Heather Hosack and her boyfriend Cory are relaxing at the side of Maroon Lake, ...watching a rainbow trout casually gobble up flies.
Heather Hosack: “We were here earlier this morning, well-- yeah this morning, and hiked all the way up to Crater Lake. So we thought we’d come back now, and see what it looked like at dusk at sunset.”
Two long time travel guides, Fodor’s and Travel + Leisure, have recommended points along the Roaring Fork Valley this fall. But that wasn’t a factor in Len and Wendy Eisenloeffel’s decision to visit. They’re from Ohio.
Len Eisenloeffel: “Well we were actually not expecting to see the colors on this trip. And, were pleasantly surprised when we started seeing leaves changing over the last week. We’ve been all the way to down to the four corners, and up here and now it’s just incredible.”
Wendy Eisenloeffel: “Every time I turn around the mountains look different. Whether it’s the meadows, or the, the Rocky Mountains, or the little glimpses of snow up high. It’s so beautiful every time.”
Len Eisenloeffel: “Had no plans on coming here today, we just wound up here, and, laughs, even more spectacular here now. It draws you in and you don’t want to leave. You don’t want the sun to go down.”
Other spots highlighted for great views of changing leaves are Aspen’s Smuggler Mountain, Snowmass Village, and Glenwood Springs. The brightest colors are expected to continue through this week.