Where to go, and when, for fall colors in Colo.

Posted at 3:49 PM, Sep 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-21 17:49:30-04

The first day of fall is this week but the leaves have already started turning.

Many people are wondering where to go to see the best colors, so 7NEWS Chief Meteorologist Mike Nelson has created a fall colors calendar for Colorado.

From Sept. 15-Sept. 25, Nelson recommends visiting Northern Colorado including Poudre Canyon and Steamboat Springs.

For the best colors in the upper elevations of Boulder County and into Summit County and Eagle County, the best times should be Sept. 20 to Sept. 30.

For areas south of I-70, in Leadville, Buena Vista and Aspen, the peak time for turning leaves will likely be between Sept. 22 and Oct. 3.

See more on Mike's calendar below and check out our special Fall Colors section for the best drives, how to take the iconic fall picture of the Maroon Bells, why the leaves change color and more.

7NEWS photographers hit the road this week, and we asked several other photographers who shot photos this week, to share their pictures with you.

--Kenosha Pass--

(Photo taken Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015 by Phil Tenser)

Kenosha Pass on Highway 285 between Grant and Jefferson is popular with leaf watchers and photographers because you can get amazing shots right from the highway. The Colorado Trail crosses Highway 285 here so you can hike in either direction and be in the fall colors.


--Guanella Pass--

(Photo taken Sept. 17, 2015 by Phil Tenser)

Guanella Pass between Georgetown and Grant gives fall color searchers a chance to see the colors at elevations between 9,000 and above. While the pass hits a high of 11,670, the pass is home to a 14,000-foot peak (Mt Bierstadt), so you can see the colors turning over a wide variety of elevations. With hillsides full of Aspen trees on both sides of the pass, this is a popular area for photographers.


--Maroon Bells--

(Photo taken Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015 by Jeremy Swanson)

The Maroon Bells, near Aspen, but may be a bit of a drive from Denver, but thousands make the drive during the fall to take a photo of the Maroon Bells with the turning leaves reflecting in Maroon Lake. Because this area is so popular with visitors and photographers, the road is open to shuttle buses only from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m and there is a fee. Learn more here.


--Como, Colorado--

(Photo taken Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015 by Cory Reppenhagen)

Meteorologist Cory Reppenhagan said he saw lots of leaf spot, but the colors were "still real nice" near Como.

Como is on Highway 285, past Kenosha Pass. It's a nice drive to take Boreas Pass from Como to Breckenridge.


--Rocky Mountain National Park--

(Photo taken by Erin Link Photography on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015)

The leaves are turning around Rocky Mountain National Park.

Two of the most popular fall color hikes are the trail to Bierstadt Lake and Alberta Falls (see above). Check with the park rangers for their advice on where to go.


Check out our special Fall Colors section for the list and map of best drives, Mike Nelson's fall colors calendar, the science of fall color and more.