Posted by: Sandy Steinman | September 20, 2018

Rocky Mt. Fall Colors 9/18/18

Afield Trails reports

This report covers the weekend of September 20, 2018.

September 18, 2018 – Unfortunately, it appears the aspen are caught between the early-changing trees getting their leaves blown way and the later trees not yet having changed. This probably isn’t a good weekend for enjoying the aspen in Rocky. However, there is definitely color do be found and in a week or two, some big areas will be changing.

Last year at this time was kind of ideal: Hidden Valley, Bierstadt Lake Trailhead were all recommended. This year, Hidden Valley’s aspen are well past-peak, and Bierstadt Lake Trailhead’s magnificent hillside is still yet-to-change.

Your best bets are higher elevation (9500 ft+) areas that are more sheltered from the wind that can come off of the Continental Divide. I wasn’t able to get to everywhere to check (busy week), but also consider Gem Lake, Bear Lake and past Alberta Falls, and on the west side, Timber Lake, – let me know how it is!

The aspen near the Alluvial Fan and Beaver Meadows have yet to change. The area around Lily Lake and the drive along the Peak-to-Peak highway is really past-peak and most of the leaves have blown away. It’s not too attractive for leaf-peepers right now.

Trail recommendations

Timber Lake Trail – the aspen on the west side change a bit sooner than the east, but are also a bit more sheltered from wind. Timber Lake Trailhead has some great stands of aspen nearby, and through 0.7 miles up the trail. Unfortunately, our map doesn’t include all the aspen here – the distrubances that made space for them are more recent. The Kawuneeche Visitor Center is a also a good stop.

Bierstadt Lake Trail This area should just get better in the coming few weeks, and the aspen groves across the valley are still quite vivid. This hike is quite exposed and steep – try to do it in the morning or late afternoon.

See photos and more resources at Afield Trails

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