It is almost time to pull out the knit blankets, pumpkin decor, and apple cider – fall is on its way! Come September and October, cooler weather will blanket towns, forests, state and national parks, and scenic byways with the magnificent hues that characterize the season. Here are the best locations near TDS communities to see the red, orange, and yellow colors we all love.
Peak to Peak Highway – As Colorado’s oldest scenic byway, the Peak to Peak highway in Boulder is a lovely fall drive. It is three hours with stops along the way, including old mines where kids can pan for gold in the creeks. You can also venture into nearby Rocky Mountain National Park for more scenic drives and hiking trails.
Golden Gate Canyon State Park – Located 40 minutes west of Arvada, this state park displays some of the best fall colors in Colorado. Hike several trails, take a scenic drive, visit Kriley Pond, or check out the views from Panorama Point.
Kebler Pass – Kebler Pass is home to the largest aspen grove in North America, making it a can’t-miss fall drive. It connects Crested Butte and Paonia through Gunnison National Forest. The road is unpaved, but drivable for 2WD vehicles. There are also plenty of spots to camp along the pass.
Floyd Lamb Park – Located just northwest of Las Vegas, Floyd Lamb Park is a desert oasis with four lakes and natural springs. In autumn, giant cottonwood and oak trees range from golden yellow to crimson. This is also a great destination for fishing, birdwatching, and taking pictures.
Spring Mountains National Recreation Area – 20 minutes past Floyd Lamb Park is another leaf peeping opportunity, this one covering more than 300,000 acres of diverse plants and animals. Explore Spring Mountains with the whole family on several hiking and biking trails, and when you’re tired, drive up Mount Charleston for more breathtaking fall views.
Sunspot Scenic Byway – This highway from Cloudcroft to Sunspot is 15 miles of fall goodness. Zigzagging through Lincoln National Forest, the road is lined with tall, golden aspen trees. You can find numerous lookouts and hiking trails along the way for further exploration.
Dripping Springs Natural Area – This photo-worthy fall destination is an hour south of Alamogordo, on the western edge of Las Cruces’ Organ Mountains. Although there are no massive forests of burnt orange and crimson trees, you can count on seeing yellow turpentine bushes along your 1.5-mile hike to the “weeping walls.”
Davis Mountains State Park – Although Western Texas isn’t known for its fall foliage, Davis Mountains State Park is speckled with cottonwood trees, which turn vibrant yellow in fall. Located in Fort Davis, it is a short 30-minute drive from Alpine. There are several hiking trails and visitors can camp or stay at the Park’s lodge for an overnight experience.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park – Another location for a weekend camping trip is Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Salt Flat. In the fall season, maples, walnuts, oaks, and sumacs color the area, contrasting sharply with the dry Chihuahuan desert. This park is also a great fall destination for people from the TDS community of Carlsbad, New Mexico. Read our blog to learn more.
Zion National Park – This national park is breathtaking in all seasons, but be sure to visit when the crowds disappear and the leaves change colors. The vibrant fall foliage pairs with towering sandstone cliffs for spectacular views you can’t miss. Follow the Emerald Pools trail for the brightest colors.
Highway 14 – Also known as the Markagunt High Plateau Scenic Byway, Highway 14 runs for 40 miles between Cedar City and Long Valley Junction, and it is one of the best autumn drives in Utah. From the highway, you can stop at several overlooks, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Strawberry Point, and Navajo Lake. For the brightest fall colors, don’t miss Webster Flat.
By Hannah Drewieck, TDS Communications Intern