It's the most colorful time of the year. Across the Colorado Rockies, clumps of trees in the pine forests are turning yellow, yellow, yellow. That's because our Front Range deciduous stands are aspen, aspen and aspen. If you want something that looks a bit more like New England, try Steamboat Springs. It's the only place I've seen in Colorado that really sprouts a variety of colors in autumn.
All the same, hiking through our yellow woods can be a gorgeous experience. My favorite autumn trails near Denver crisscross the aptly named Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Last fall a ranger there recommended a hike to Frazer Meadow, where the modest metal home of John Frazer, a one-legged homesteader, still rusts in an open field encircled by aspens. I hiked there via Ralston Roost, a relatively strenuous approach that crests with a grreat view of the Rockies from the roost's craggy summit. Dude's Fishing Hole, a pond in the aspens, is another good place to take a sandwich and a camera in Golden Gate Canyon. Of course Rocky Mountain National Park is always gorgeous. A ranger there says the autumn leaves are nearing peak color now. It's also a good month to watch the elk in Moraine Park. Before you set out, though, ask for a recommended trail. Trail elevations vary greatly within the national park, and trees at higher elevations may be bare already while lower forests are just starting to turn. Above, an example of the park's autumn glory, along the spectacular
My all-time favorite memory of Colorado's fall foliage, though, happened in a car, when our family was heading for the October scenery in Telluride. My daughter Gabrielle, 6 at the time, looked out the window at all the bursts of yellow in the green pine forests, and declared, "It's a mac-and-cheese explosion!"