Best Places to See Fall Colors Near Fort Collins
Where to go to see the aspens turning from green to yellow? Short answer – west. But we can give you more than that! There are plenty of places to experience this annual example of nature’s majesty, but can you make a family day of it? With this list you can. Here are the 3 best quick trips to see some fall colors and enjoy some family fun!
Rocky Mountain National Park
You can meet people from all over the planet on your trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. Just an hour’s drive up Big Thompson Canyon, through Estes Park and you there. The elk are bugling, the colors are changing, and you don’t even have to get out of your car to enjoy the sights! Try Old Fall River Road if you want to feel an adventure without any hiking. The little ones aren’t always up for a rugged 10 mile jaunt into the woods, so this dirt road offers a real backcountry feel without the hiking.
Driving up Poudre Canyon has more benefits than just being able to see the aspens. It might inspire you to make early plans for next summer’s camping trip as you pass Ansel Watrous, the Narrows, Dutch George and Aspen Glen. If you want a quick hike that will be very photogenic with a lot of aspens, Big South trail is the one. At around 8,000 feet in elevation, this is where the aspens live. Stop at Mishawaka in the canyon, or Vern’s in Laporte for a family dinner on the way back down.
Red Feather Lakes
Another one within about an hour of Fort Collins, this trip is a little bit more of a Sunday drive. On the others, there are plenty of places to stop and gawk or stop and eat. Red Feather is a bit more DIY, but still has some pretty incredible vistas. Instead of heading west on 14, keep going and then turn left at the historic Forks onto 74e. The Forks does have a rustic, Colorado style restaurant for the family. The drive is going to wrap you around onto 14, so you can also head up 14 do it the opposite way.