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Fall Color Drives - recommended routes

New Braunfels, Texas
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Fall Color Drives - recommended routes

My fiance and I are planning a honeymoon in Colorado for the last week in September. We are interested in seeing the fall colors and the aspen trees. We want to lodge in the same location for the week and take scenic drives. Any recommendations on a central location that woud give us access to several beautiful areas/ recommended driving routes?

WestSlope,CO
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1. Re: Fall Color Drives - recommended routes

Here's an article on Colorado.com to give you some ideas.

www.colorado.com/Articles.aspx?aid=42023

I would recommend checking Ouray, Aspen or Redstone, Crested Butte, or Buena Vista. Durango or Pagosa Springs would be good bets, too. Actually, Montrose is more central to most of these areas and a very convenient location for many color drives as day trips-- but it is in a valley with mountain views so sometimes is overlooked as a destination by vacationers wanting to actually stay "in" the mountains.

For a week vacation in this area, fly in to Montrose, Grand Junction, Gunnison, Durango. If your were to fly in to Denver and wanted to drive to the area, I'd recommend a modified loop trip: Maybe drive to Buena Vista or Glenwood Springs/Redstone/Aspen your first night (or spend your first night in Denver/Boulder/Golden or maybe even Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor or Manitou Springs), then proceed, depending on arrival time), then to your main central location for 4 or 5 days, then back to Denver with maybe another intermediate stop along the way.

I'm sure you'll hear from others with great ideas, as well.

Ohio
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2. Re: Fall Color Drives - recommended routes

hmm... I think I'd choose 2 places to base. Estes Park for the roads in RMNP. Perhaps Montrose for the other base to do the San Juan Skyway areas. Another plus for the last week of Sept would be the elk in RMNP. It is the rut season and the meadows will be full of elk.

http://angel-gallery.com/travel-slideshows/

If you'd like-- this is a slide show put together from our end of of Sept trip to Colorado and New Mexico 2 years ago. Slide show starts in RMNP-- can watch that, then skip the rest :) Gives you an idea of the area that time of year.

Ohio
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3. Re: Fall Color Drives - recommended routes

same page-- the link for Colorado and Utah-- started off in Montrose and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison then down the San Juan Skyway. Went a couple of weeks later last fall for that trip, but will still look quite the same.

Pagosa Springs...
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4. Re: Fall Color Drives - recommended routes

The above suggestions are great. A few more to consider:

Kenosha Pass is incredible at peak (especially on a clear day!), Independence Pass, especially on the east side of the pass is wonderful for color. Wolf Creek Pass also has incredible colors, Big Meadow Reservoir and the West Fork Valley Overlook are great view points (last year, we had a moose hanging out for the fall color around Big Meadow).

Charleston, South...
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5. Re: Fall Color Drives - recommended routes

Telluride and Ouray are gorgeous areas. From there you could take day trips to the Black Canyon, Mesa Verde, drive the Million Dollar Hwy, go to Silverton and ride the narrow gauge railway. There is also plenty of great (scenic, beautiful) hiking around both the Telluride and Ouray areas. Check the thread "Road trip for 50something Brits".... I listed quite a few links there that you might be interested in. For my personal preference --- I much prefer SW Colorado to the areas that are closer to Denver, primarily due to fewer crowds, etc.

WestSlope,CO
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6. Re: Fall Color Drives - recommended routes

Getting in a variety of fall color drives and scenery in different areas is a lot easier with a road trip, driving from point to point and staying in a different place each night or two! That way you can avoid a two to four hour drive to backtrack to your "base camp" each night.

New Braunfels, Texas
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7. Re: Fall Color Drives - recommended routes

Is ouray more of a meadow mountain area or is there actually lots of Aspen trees?

WestSlope,CO
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8. Re: Fall Color Drives - recommended routes

Ouray is not in an open area, but is in a canyon surrounded by cliffs and peaks, as is Telluride. Of the two, Ouray would be a little more centrally located for scenic highway drives but Telluride would be an excellent honeymoon option, too. You would also want to plan a jeep tour or two (or rent a jeep). The road to Yankee Boy Basin just outside Ouray was one we took last fall and the aspen were gorgeous.

Ridgway just to the north of Ouray is in more of an open area, with beautiful views all around, and would also be another location central to several scenic drives. The drive over Dallas Divide and to Telluride and Lizard Head Pass, plus the drive between Ridgway to Ouray, Silverton and Durango are two of the most beautiful drives in the state.

Most towns aren't located in aspen groves, but many have aspen on the surrounding slopes with a few trees right in town. Getting out and driving, jeeping, or hiking will get you the best views. Did you have in mind finding lodging right within the aspen trees? Hmmmm, I'm sure the Trip Advisor folks could come up with some options.

New Braunfels, Texas
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9. Re: Fall Color Drives - recommended routes

Our lodging doesn't have to have a particular view we just want to make sure we locate ourselves centrally so we can find aspens. Our lodging will be restricted to a single location as part of a trip deal, but we have options on which town to choose so it sounds like the Ouray area would be a great option. Thanks for the info.

Windsor, Colorado
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for Estes Park, Rocky Mountain National Park
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10. Re: Fall Color Drives - recommended routes

Sarah, I love fall in Southwest Colorado. Do see my reply to your same question on the RMNP forum.