Day Trips to See Fall Leaves

September 20, 2016

Fall LeavesOne of the great things about living at Southshore is being so close to the golden glow of fall leaves as they transform mountain landscapes . Aurora has five different climate zones within a two-hour drive, so you can pick your elevation and view stunning fall foliage from mid-September to mid-November.

Starting in mid-September, aspens turn vibrant yellow at elevations of 8,000 to 10,000 feet. From mid-October to mid-November, you can see the beautiful fall hues down through the foothills and along the plains of Aurora.

This is peak color time, so grab your camera and a picnic lunch and head toward the high country for a memory-making day trip!


  • The elevation of Guanella Pass is 11,670 feet. Just 45 minutes from Aurora, the Guanella Pass Scenic and Historic Byway follows an old, 23-mile wagon route. This is one of the premier places to see swaths of quaking, shimmering leaves waving against the mountain backdrop.
  • Rocky Mountain National Park is less than two hours from Aurora and has many groves of aspens around Bear Lake. The trees are also along the way to the park via the scenic Peak-to-Peak Byway from Black Hawk to Estes Park.


  • One hour from Aurora (58 miles) are Georgetown and Silver Plume, both surrounded by aspen groves. The Georgetown Loop Railroad is another way to see the autumn leaves as a vintage steam locomotive pulls passengers up the steep grade between the two towns. Tickets are between $18.95 for children and $36.95 for adults.
  • The area around Lake Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne is filled with aspen groves, too, and just a 90-minute drive from Aurora. There are some scenic hikes nearby and an 18-mile paved bike path circling that lake offers spectacular fall foliage scenery in every direction. And that 360o view of the mountains ain’t bad, either!


  • Interestingly, a few of the old cemeteries near Central City have groves of aspen and other pigment-changing trees along the road to another old mining town, Idaho Springs. If you don’t pack a lunch, there’s plenty of great grub to be had there, from pizza and pub food to steak and BBQ.
  • In the foothills 45 miles west of Aurora (a one-hour drive), the Golden Gate Canyon State Park has its share of aspen groves at lower elevations, as well as one of the best panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains.
  • The city of Evergreen isn’t always green. Just 55 minutes from Southshore you can hike to fall color near Maxwell Falls or Alderfer/Three Sisters Park. Or, you can drive the Lariat Loop Scenic Byway from Evergreen to Bergen Park and make your way back down through Golden.

If you’re up for an overnight getaway, there are some pretty drives a little farther away from Southshore that might peak your interest. Some of the most photographed mountains are on this list, because they showcase the glory of high-altitude color.

This Fall at Southshore

The leaves aren’t quite turning in our Southshore community, but it won’t be long! If you don’t live here yet, tour one of the beautiful model homes from Village Homes and check out the spectacular new home designs from Richmond American Homes. Priced from the $400s to the $700s.