(CBS4) – Most of us think of leaf peeping as hopping in the car and taking a drive but in Colorado, there’s plenty of opportunity to get up close and personal with the trees by taking a hike during fall foliage season. Consider parking the car and getting out to enjoy all the season has to offer.

Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Golden
You’ll find 35 miles of hiking trails in Golden Gate Canyon State Park in Jefferson County. there are 12 trails, each named after an animal and marked with the animal’s footprint. The range in difficulty from easy to most difficult. Some are for hikers only, others allow horses and mountain bikes. The Burro Trail specifically has aspen as does Buffalo Trail.
https://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/GoldenGateCanyon/Pages/Trails.aspx

(credit: Golden Canyon State Park)

Eldorado Canyon State Park
Eldorado Springs
Just 30 minutes away from Golden Gate Canyon State Park, you’ll find another place to enjoy the colors. Eldorado Canyon State Park was once known as the “Coney Island of the West.”
These trails range in difficulty from easy (including one wheelchair accessible route) to moderate/difficult. The Crescent Meadows Trail offers great view of the mountains and an open meadow.
https://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/EldoradoCanyon/Pages/Trails.aspx

(credit: Eldorado Canyon State Park courtesy CPW)

Ptarmigan Lake Trail
Buena Vista
West of Buena Vista, you’ll find Cottonwood Pass and the Ptarmigan Lake trail. The hike to the lake is considered one of the nicest in the Arkansas Valley and keep your eyes open for goats. A fall hike can bring bright fall colors, sometimes accentuated by snow-dusted peaks. You may also want to add it to your July hiking trip when its full of wildflowers.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/psicc/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=12691&actid=50

Richard Kohlman took this photo on Sept. 20, 2012, while going “up Cottonwood Canyon to Cottonwood Pass west of Buena Vista.”

Colorado State Forest State Park
Walden
This gem is hidden west of Fort Collins and is CBS4 Meteorologist Ashton Altieri’s favorite state park. You’ll find 71,000 acres of forest with a number of multi-use trails. The park is a great way to getaway and really indulge in fall in Colorado, offering camping, fishing along with the hiking and leaf peeping.
https://cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/StateForest/Pages/Trails.aspx

A breathaking view of sunset clouds gathering over State Forest’s aspen groves with mountains in the background. (credit: CPW)

Upper Piney River Falls Trail
Vail
If you don’t mind company, this trail takes you through some of the most beautiful fall foliage in the state. It’s considered an intermediate trail that takes you along the Piney Lake and to the Piney River falls. It’s a gentle climb through an open meadow before entering the forest and reaching the falls.

Click to access stelprdb5186402.pdf

Lynne Ronk of Deckers took this photo on Oct. 5 of “Piney Lake with Mt. Powell in the background.”

Raetta Holdman