Fall colors in Colorado 2013: Where to go this week

Residents and visitors are already flocking to Colorado's high country in search of fall colors.

While peak colors usually occur between late September and early October in most of Colorado, it looks like the peak may be slightly late this year.

7NEWS asked three photographers and two reporters to shoot photos to give you the best look at what's happening right now so you can plan where to go this wek. Here are their trip reports:

-- Berthoud Pass to the west entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park (US 40). Photographer Peter Pereira said the fall colors were widespread on Berthoud Pass Thursday night.

"Jim Trail near Winter Park looks gorgeous," Pereira wrote. "Grand Lake looks great and the West entrance of RMNP looks fabulous."

-- Guanella Pass from Grant (Highway 285) to Georgetown (I-70). This is a great time for Guanella Pass.

On the Grant side, the trees are just starting to turn at the start of the road. As you get higher on the Grant side, there are pockets where the trees have turned right next to the road, making for some great photos without any walking. However, on the Grant side, there are just pockets of yellow, not large hillsides of turning trees.

At the top of the pass, above treeline, park and take a short walk to photograph the contrast of the fall-like vegetation on the hillsides and the snow on Mount Bierstadt.

On the Georgetown side of the pass, we hope you'll be impressed. There are large swaths of turning trees on the hillsides. While the area is not at its peak, there are places where 70 percent of the aspens have turned. Even though all of the trees have not turned, we highly recommend you visit this area this weekend because some leaves have already turned brown and some aspens have completely lost their leaves due to the rain and wind this week.

-- Kenosha Pass (Highway 285). Kenosha Pass is always a popular place and with good reason, there are so many Aspens here. As you drive Highway 285 from Denver to Kenosha Pass, you'll see an occasional yellow-leafed tree.  There are a couple clumps of yellow trees near Camp Santa Maria. After that, you'll begin to see more and more turning trees as you head to Grant and up the pass. If you want red leaves, there are just a few spots on the drive up the pass. There are not many at the top.

Near the top of the pass, you'll start seeing signs for construction. If you want to go over the pass, you may have to stop and wait, but on Friday, the construction work was past the two large parking area at the summit.

At the top of the pass, the hillsides on the south side of the summit are turning faster than the hillsides on the north side of the summit. While only about 25 percent of the trees have turned up here, we were able to shoot some nice photos of the yellow-ing hillsides. Drive or hike to the Colorado Trail on the south side of the pass, walk around the parking lot or even a short distance on the trail and you should be able to find plenty of turning trees to photograph.

- Clear Creek Canyon (Highway 6), Denver to Black Hawk. While you may be able to spot a few turning leaves, there's not much here.

- Highway 7 from Allenspark to Estes Park. Photographer Marsha Hobert said here was quite a bit of color on Friday.

"But many areas not peaking as yet," Hobert wrote. "I've heard that if you go on the Peak to Peak Hwy. that this is the weekend to see them."

Hobert will have a tent at Elk Fest this weekend in Estes Park -- stop by and say, "hi!." She says the elk herds are everywhere, but don't get too close because the bulls are very aggressive when they are in rut.

Now, we want to hear from you! You be the reporter! If you get out this weekend, send us your photos and trip reports. Tell us where you shot your photos, when you took them and if you think the area you visited is at peak yet. Send them to myreport@thedenverchannel.com or post them on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DenverChannel

Want more places to go? Check out this extensive list: http://www.thedenverchannel.com/homepage-showcase/where-to-see-colorados-fall-colors-2013

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