"Oh, it's so pretty."
"Oh my gosh, it's so beautiful."
That's what people said while hiking on the Colorado Trail Friday afternoon at Kenosha Pass.
I was concerned when I arrived. That's because the hillsides had some bare spots already and I knew I had missed the peak.
But I decided that since I had driven this far, I would go ahead and hike.
I parked on the side of Highway 285 and walked down the access road on the south side of the highway. There's another parking lot at the trailhead, but there's a $6-day fee to park there. It's free on the side of the highway.
As I started my hike, I was still worried because there were a lot of bare Aspens for the first tenth of a mile or so.
But it did not take long to get to the golden yellows.
Groves of Aspen trees surrounding you as you walk.
One hiker told me, "This is the best time."
Occasionally the trees open up and you get views of South Park in the distance. And bonus: a few red and orange trees, too.
My favorite section of the hike was the tall Aspen groves, where the trees soared more than 50 feet into the area. The trees were so tall I could not get a photo of the tops and the bottoms.
I asked one photographer if she got any good pictures. Her response?
"How could you not?"
I did find a few trees with orange and reddish leaves, but maybe you will get a better photo.
And on your walk back, enjoy the view of the nearby mountains through the groves of Aspen.
Directions: Kenosha Pass is on Highway 285, about 46 miles from C-470. At the top of the pass, you can park on either side of the highway. The Colorado Trail crosses the highway here, so it's on both sides of the pass. I recommend hiking the trail on the south side of Highway 285, technically, the eastbound or northbound Colorado Trail.
On your way back to the metro area, consider turning on Guanella Pass at Grant and driving the scenic byway to Georgetown and returning via I-70. Note, Guanella Pass is now paved on both sides of the pass.
Learn more about why the leaves change, when they peak in different regions of the state and more in our Fall section.