Tips for Seeing Colorado's Changing Leaves This Fall

September 11, 2012 - Statewide Transportation Plan - Several state highways offer prime viewing of beautiful tradition.

STATEWIDE — The leaves are already beginning to change colors in Colorado’s high country! Seeing the changing autumn leaves is a longstanding Colorado tradition that generally takes place mid-September to mid-October each year, and AAA Colorado, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), and Colorado Parks and Wildlife want to let people know where to drive and how to drive safely for some of the best views this season.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has a website devoted entirely to Colorado’s fall colors (, where you can find information about where and when fall colors are blooming, where you can stay overnight, where you can take drive near the fall foliage for the very best views, and more. Take a look at the “Rush to the Gold/Fall Colors” brochure on that page and learn about eight recommended car trips in Colorado to see the splendor of fall.

CDOT’s Scenic and Historic Byways are also excellent routes for Coloradans and visitors alike to see the state. For more information about Colorado’s Scenic and Historic Byways program, including a map, visit Finally, AAA Colorado has identified routes that provide exceptional autumn drives including:

  • Aspen Ridge and Salida, accessible via US 285 in Chaffee County
  • Cripple Creek, accessible via US 24 at State Highway 67 from Colorado Springs
  • Independence Pass, accessible via State Highway 82 and US 24 near Twin Lakes and Aspen
  • Crystal River Valley, accessible via State Highway 133 south of Carbondale
  • McClure Pass and Kebler Pass, accessible via State Highway 133 south of Marble

CDOT recommends a few safety tips for motorists as they are driving:

  • If you are planning to take photos, pull completely off the highway into the right-of-way and turn on your hazard lights so other drivers can better see you.
  • Don’t forget to focus on your driving and try not to be distracted by the beauty surrounding you. Switching drivers is a great way to allow everyone to see the leaves and to keep drivers focused on the task at hand.
  • Be sure you and your passengers buckle up!
  • Be aware during dusk and twilight hours that wildlife is more likely to be on the road, and be sure to stay alert.
  • If you become tired, take a break and use the AAA Mobile app on your iPhone or Android to check out local discounts offered in the area around you.

CDOT would love to see any photos motorists take of the beauty that exists along our state highways. Photos can be shared on our Facebook page at

To receive real-time updates about road conditions in your area, visit and click on the green cell phone icon in the upper right hand corner of the page. Updates are also available via Twitter @coloradodot.