Finding the Fall Color Pop
Timing when and where to see Colorado’s fall colors takes both science and finesse. How do you know when it’s time to go? In general, September and early October mark when stands at higher elevation (and those that are farther north) will show colors. Lower, more southerly locations will follow.
Aspens take their cue to change as the days get shorter in the fall.
But color changes also depend on tree health, local weather, environmental factors like drought or increased moisture, elevation and latitude.
So many factors can make a leaf-peeping adventure tough to schedule. Your favorite spot one year can turn out to be a disappointment the next. Be flexible, adventurous and stick to the easier-to-predict leaf factors — such as elevation, latitude and stand health — when planning an outing.
Healthy trees are critical for aspens to display strong colors and retain leaves later into the fall. The more robust an aspen stand is, the more attractive its colors will be. Unhealthy aspen stands are less likely to have vibrant colors.
According to the United States National Arboretum, a wet growing season followed by a dry, sunny autumn with cool, frost-free nights results in the brightest fall colors.