Best time to travel to Denver

Denver Fall Colors

Denver boasts an unusually long fall foliage season

Denver Fall Colors
Denver Fall Colors
Denver Fall Colors
Denver Fall Colors
Fall aspens in Rocky Mountain National Park

The city of Denver, located in the South Platte River Valley, is surrounded by mountains. With five climate zones in close proximity to the city, Denver offers fall foliage displays in the mountains as early as in mid-September and in the foothills and plains as late as mid-November. In the city, you can see plenty of hackberries, sycamore, and English oak trees that show golden shades. Texas red oak adds scarlet and red accents throughout the parks. When you get to the mountains, aspens dominate the landscape, adding bright yellow streaks in the sea of evergreen spruces and firs.

Fall colors in Denver

Check out City Park, the largest one in Denver. The area features two lakes and a beautiful Mile High Trail that provides great views with fall colors. Another spot to check out is Washington Park, the second largest in the city. The park is a great place to walk among vivid oaks, traditional for Denver. Besides, you will find two lakes, and biking and running trails.

Best time to visit Denver for fall colors

The city welcomes fall foliage a bit later than the mountains. Leaves start to change color in October and stay flashy till mid-November. So there is plenty of time to enjoy over a hundred parks and recreational areas in Denver.

Fall colors near Denver

Rocky Mountain National Park fall colors

In just 1.5 hours by car, you can reach Rocky Mountain National Park, located 75 mi (120 km) northwest of the city. The fall foliage season starts here early due to high elevation. Mid-to-late September is the best time to enjoy leaf-peeping in the park. Take a ride on Bear Lake Road, which links Upper Beaver Meadows and Bear Lake. This 23 mi (36-km) road offers spectacular views as well as access to many hiking routes, campgrounds, picnic areas, and the Moraine Park Discovery Center. Peak to Peak Scenic Byway is the oldest in the state. In the fall, it showcases brilliant foliage throughout Rocky Mountain National Park and the Continental Divide.

Guanella Pass fall colors

About a one-hour drive from Denver, you can get to Guanella Pass at an elevation of 11,669 feet (3,557 m). The mountain pass is located in the Front Range of the Rockies of central Colorado between the towns of Georgetown and Grant. Take a drive on the most scenic roads in Colorado—the Guanella Pass Scenic Byway, connecting Interstate 70 and Highway 285. The paved road is most beautiful during the last two weeks of September during peak fall foliage season.

Georgetown Loop

Georgetown is located just an hour's drive west from Denver (40 mi or 64 km). To enjoy the sight of golden aspens, take a ride on the scenic Georgetown Loop Railroad in a vintage steam train. The train passes aspen-filled mountains, picturesque creeks, and canyons. The trip starts at Devil’s Gate Depot in Georgetown takes you to Silver Plume.

More fall foliage hikes and drive ideas in Colorado are available here.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Denver for fall colors?

Fall foliage displays appear in the mountains by mid-September while the foothills and plains are best sighted from mid-October to mid-November. Denver is a great place to experience fall foliage from mid-September to mid-November with over a hundred parks and recreational areas waiting to be explored. Show more

Where are the best places in Denver to see fall foliage?

A perfect place to enjoy fall foliage is City Park, Denver's largest park, with a range of autumn hues. Another traditional spot is Washington Park, which features vivid oaks. Both parks offer exceptional biking and running trails. Numerous other trails and scenic drives are available in various parks and recreational areas throughout Denver. Show more

What types of trees can be seen in Denver during fall?

In Denver, an assortment of trees, including hackberries, sycamore, oaks, and Texas red oak, display golden shades as they add red and scarlet accents across the parks. The mountains offer aspens that dominate the landscape, enriching a sea of evergreen firs and spruces with bright yellow hues. Enjoy the splendor of fall foliage throughout the parks and recreational areas in Denver. Show more

Where can I find fall colors near Denver?

Guanella Pass and Rocky Mountain National Park are two ideal nearby locations to experience fall colors. Rocky Mountain National Park is an hour and a half away by car and starts the leaf-peeping season early, thanks to its high elevation. Guanella Pass is just an hour's drive from Denver and features a beautiful scenic drive on a byway. Georgetown Loop, with its vintage train ride, is also worth considering. Show more

What is the Georgetown Loop Railroad and where does it go?

The Georgetown Loop Railroad is a historic steam train that begins at Devil’s Gate Depot in Georgetown and travels to Silver Plume, meandering past mountains adorned with aspens, picturesque creeks and canyons, offering breathtaking views of fall foliage. Georgetown, located an hour's drive west of Denver, is a popular leaf-peeping destination. Show more

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Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen