Colorado Vacation Destinations Announce 8 Unique Ways to See “Colorado Gold” This Fall

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The dry, hot summer means fall colors in Colorado have started early this year. Whether by air, on foot, by bike or in a car, there are many fun ways for those who have a hankering for the hues to catch the Colorado colors. Here are eight of the most unique ways to peek at the peak Colorado colors this fall.

The leaves are already starting to turn in Winter Park-Fraser Valley.

The dry, hot summer means fall colors in Colorado have started early this year. Whether by air, on foot, by bike or in a car, there are many fun ways for those who have a hankering for the hues to catch the Colorado colors. Here are eight of the most unique ways to peek at the peak Colorado colors this fall from some of the state's most recognized vacation destinations.

Traversing one of the world’s largest flat-topped mountains, the 63-mile Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway – nicknamed “The Alpine Oasis in the Sapphire Sky – starts in the town of Cedaredge. From there, head north on Highway 65 and up (quite literally – the Mesa’s summit is at nearly 11,000 feet!) onto Grand Mesa. Along the way, the road passes by fruit-filled orchards and hillsides covered with pinon and juniper, and eventually to forests of spruce, fir and aspen. There are also plenty of picnic areas, scenic overlooks and lakes (300 of them) to explore along the way.

The Colorado Headwaters Scenic and Historic Byway follows the Colorado River for 80 miles past quintessential Grand County landscapes that are alive with color in the fall. The route travels through the towns of Granby, Hot Sulphur Springs, Parshall and Kremmling. Reflections of the area’s autumn glory can be seen on Grand Lake, Shadow Mountain Reservoir and Lake Granby. At the end of the route travelers are rewarded with spectacular views of the rugged Upper Gore Canyon.

Grand Junction has some of the best road cycling terrain anywhere in the United States, highlighted by the Colorado National Monument. Hundreds of miles of little-traveled, scenic roads wind by local orchards and wineries (Grand Junction is the gateway to Colorado wine country!), as well as yellow-tinted aspen groves. Rides range from the 18-mile, relatively flat Colorado Riverfront Trail in town to the 7,000-foot climb up the Grand Mesa.

The area known as the archaeological center of America is also part of the only National Scenic Byway totally dedicated to archaeology – the Trail of the Ancients. Travelers must get out of the car to truly experience everything this byway has to offer, including the ancient Puebloan ruins at Mesa Verde National Park. Hike and climb the ladders in and out of the cliff dwellings for an aerial view of the spectacular fall colors in the surrounding vistas.

The city of Montrose is surrounded by public lands, making it fertile ground for all of autumn’s glory to be seen the way nature intended. One very beautiful way to soak in the splendor of the season is to explore the hiking trails at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. The fall fun begins on the drive up Highway 50 where scrub oak, serviceberry and aspen boast fiery shades of orange, red and yellow. While at the park hike the North Vista Trail, which was recently named a “Top 10 Canyon Hike in the U.S. Parks” by National Geographic.

The Box Canyon Lodge – one of Colorado’s most eco-friendly properties – is the perfect base camp for exploring the super-scenic Million Dollar Highway, which follows U.S. 550 between Ouray and Silverton. The 25-mile road was originally constructed to transport ore from Ouray’s prosperous mines. It treks through the Uncompahgre Gorge and climbs to the summit of Red Mountain Pass before progressing to the historic mining town of Silverton. Along the way, see the remains of Idarado Mine and take in the views of Mount Abrams and Bear Creek Falls.

Mountain Lodge Telluride is perched in picturesque Mountain Village, which is linked to Telluride by a free gondola. The ride lasts 13 minutes from start to finish and gives visitors a bird’s eye view of the fabulous fall tints in the surrounding San Juan Mountains. The gondola runs daily from 7 a.m. to midnight. Ride to the midway point (Station St. Sophia) to access hiking and biking trails. Or, ride all the way into Telluride to enjoy everything the historic mountain town has to offer.

Fall is the perfect time to discover the hundreds of miles of mountain bike trails in Winter Park-Fraser Valley, a.k.a. “Mountain Bike Capital USATM.” Fall foliage finders will delight in the off-season’s serenity. Some favorite trails include Meadow Creek Reservoir (Junco Lake) and the James Peak Protection Area, as well as Jones Pass and the Williams Fork. An added bonus is the savings available. Use the free Winter Park-Fraser Valley Key Card to take advantage of the “Play Free” promotion and get $50 to explore, dine or shop just by booking two nights at a participating property. Additionally, Winter Park Resort is offering Buy One, Get One 50% Off lodging specials through Sept. 30.

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Gaylene Ore
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