This year I began the fall color season in Colorado. The weather was mild and dry for the last week of September, which is typically the peak for aspen colors in most of Colorado. The first destination I went to was Rocky Mountain National Park. I had seen a picture from Colorado photographer Glenn Randall of Bear Lake and Longs Peak framed by yellow and orange aspen trees. I could get a general idea of where the picture was taken, but after scrambling around through the bushes and rocks, it took me 3 attempts to finally find the exact spot to get the composition I desired. I was fortunate to find this spot at the time when the aspen trees were peaking.
The only thing missing was some fresh snow on Longs Peak in the distance. Maybe next year? Last year, I read an article in 5280 Magazine about some recommended fall color hikes in Colorado. One of these was near the town of Edwards, next to the ski resort of Beaver Creek. The East Lake Creek Trail not only featured some nice aspen stands, but also some understory bushes and ferns that was also colorful.
Another trail that was recommended was a small section of the Colorado Trail starting at Molas Pass. Molas Pass is along scenic US highway 550, known as the "Million Dollar Highway" in southwest Colorado. However, looking at the map, it dawned on me that a more unique attraction might be over 4 miles from the highway. After a nice hike to the bottom of the Animas River Valley, I arrived at the railroad where the famous narrow gauge railroad train takes tourists between the towns of Durango and Silverton. Intrigued by this, I decided to look at the train schedule so that I can plan my hike around when the 2 trains on this day would pass through this area where it intersects with the Colorado Trail.
I submitted this image to USA Today's "Your Take" website, where they featured this as their Image of the Day back on October 8th.
One my favorite places to visit is Telluride, especially during the last few days of September. This time I decided to get a different perspective of the expansive aspen groves surrounding the town. With the mild temperatures and no snow on the summits yet, I made the climb to 12,785 feet Ajax Peak. It was a long ascent to the top, but totally worth it!