Aspenglow at its best

The western United States does not have the color of the east coast fall foliage tours. However, if you find mountains covered with patches of green, gold, orange and bronze to be an amazing view, it is hard to beat the aspens in the mountains.

The aspen tree is the most widely distributed tree species in North America. The states of Colorado and Utah have the largest natural acreage of aspen in the world. It seems fitting that a drive through Colorado, in the fall, would be a great place to view these trees.

~ Peak to peak
This is a 55 mile drive. It was established as a scenic byway in 1918 and the oldest one in the state of Colorado.

Along the way you may want to toss a few chips in Blackhawk at the casino. It is a great little mining town and a fun place to stop for lunch and some entertainment.

This byway allows you to view the color changes of the aspen in a continual progress from the valleys and meadows to the high mountain tops.

~ West Elk Loop
This byway circles the West Elk Mountains. It goes through Paonia, Gunnison, Crested Butte and Carbondale. It covers 205 miles.

You will enjoy three national forests. One of the best parts of the viewing  the aspens in this area is the diversity of other trees that are coupled with the aspen. The terrain also varies enough that you will see the aspens in every stage as well.

The highlight of this trip may be McClure Pass. There are just enough red oaks with bright  red fall leaves make a patchwork of extreme colors as it clashes with the greens, auburns, and yellow aspen.

~ San Juan Skyway
This is not a drive for wimps. The cliffs are high and there is a reason it is called “Road to the Sky.”  This drive is a little over 236 miles. This byway goes through Durango, Telluride, and Ouray.  This drives goes by Mesa Verde National Puebloan cliff dwellings and it is a great place to visit.

It is also an excellent place to catch a ride on one of the great trains of Colorado.

There is something special about aspenglow. Sing along with John Denver as you enjoy they byways.

“See the sunlight through the pine
Taste the warm of winter wine
Dream of softly falling snow
Winter’s gold, Aspenglow”

Aspen is a life to live
See how much there is to give
See how strongly you believe
See how much you may receive