Fall colors 2022 map: When and where to see Colorado's best foliage
The arrival of September — despite these current hot temps — means it's time for leaf-peeping in Colorado.
The forecast: After a few years of early blooms, the forest foliage is expected to transition to bright yellows and pops of orange on a more typical timeline this year.
- The northern mountains and higher elevations get started in early to mid-September while the central mountains arrive in color at the end of the month. The southern mountains could show bright colors into early October.
- The prime week for most of the state is Oct. 3, according to the much-viewed fall leaf map from David Angotti at SmokyMountains.com.
What they're saying: "I think we will have a better show than last year," state forest entomologist Dan West told the Coloradoan. "But I wouldn't put it in the stellar category."
Mark the calendar: Steamboat Springs and the Yampa Valley are looking to turn Sept. 15-25, according to a map from 9News meteorologists.
- The Interstate 70 corridor follows Sept. 18-29.
- Aspen, Buena Vista and Salida hit peak between Sept. 22 and Oct. 3.
- Denver's foothills and Telluride come Sept. 25-Oct. 7. Farther south near Pagosa Springs may show as late as Oct. 16.
How it works: The shorter, warm days and cool nights spur the color change as trees lose the green chlorophyll from their leaves.
Where to go: Not all areas will show so bright, however. The northern portions of the state are expected to be the best, says West, who flies over the state's 24 million acres of forests each summer.
- The Front Range and I-70 corridor are expected to be a bit patchy, he says.
- Sadly, the yellow cottonwood trees that line river canyons are dealing with a beetle infestation that will lead to early leaf drops.
- The hugely popular aspens at Kenosha Pass also are seeing pest damage that may mute their annual show.
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