Sep 7, 2021 - News
Colorado fall foliage forecast looks "great this year"
Fall colors prediction for Sept. 20. Image courtesy of David Angotti, smokymountains.com
Fall colors prediction for Sept. 20. Image courtesy of David Angotti, smokymountains.com

This is the time of year when the days grow shorter, the nights turn cooler and the hills explode with color.

In short: It's fall in Colorado (unofficially at least) and it's our favorite season to get outside.

What to know: The fall foliage forecast for Colorado "looks great" this year, according to one expert, but the trick is knowing when (and where) to go.

Mark the calendar: In the mountains, it looks like Sept. 20 is the target date, with peak colors further to the north and tapering hues as you move south, according to David Angotti, the forecaster at smokymountains.com, a tourism site that offers national foliage predictions.

  • For the Front Range, the site suggests Oct. 11 is the sweet spot.
A fall foliage map for Colorado. Image courtesy of Fox31's Chris Tomer
Image courtesy of Fox31's Chris Tomer

Zoom in: Fox31 meteorologist Chris Tomer tells John we're looking at a "mostly normal fall color season" after an early and short 2020 and a delayed 2019.

  • "Consistent monsoon rainfall in the mountains should keep the aspen trees on schedule barring any abnormally cold stretches," Tomer says about his forecast.

Yes, but: Everyone in Colorado knows that high-mountain passes like Guanella and Kenosha seem to consistently flame earlier than expected.

Be smart: Despite the scoffs of New Englanders, Colorado is far more than its yellow aspens.

Where to go: The most popular places to see colors near Denver include Kenosha and Guanella passes and the Mount Evans area. There’s a lot of traffic, but it's worth it.

Our thought bubble: Get out of the car and walk on the golden-leaf trails. My nearby favorites include Abyss Trail off the south side of Guanella Pass, Ouzel Falls in Rocky Mountain National Park, Beaver Lake outside Beaver Creek and the Raccoon Trail in Golden Gate Canyon State Park.

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