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4. Have a designated driver.
The worst driving on Colorado roads happens during leaf-peeping season. People weave, stop, back up, turn blindly, and park on the shoulder and in the road. Some of the most scenic roads are unpaved, and many have no shoulders or guardrails. You cannot drive and look at the same time. You cannot take pictures and drive at the same time. Make the person with a driver's license who cares the least about scenery take the wheel, and share your pictures later.
5. Some people will not be interested.
I’m talking about the children. Given the amount of portable electronic sedation available, this should not be a problem – except that parents are apt to snatch these soothing devices away from them during leaf-peeping time and yell, “Look out the window! It’s beautiful! Appreciate nature! You’re missing it!” Do us all a favor. Give the kids their phones back.
6. Be prepared.
Winter is nigh, and temperatures fluctuate from blazing hot to freezing cold quickly in the high country. Dress in layers, stay hydrated and use sunscreen; the UV rays are intense at high altitudes. Check the weather forecast for the area where you're headed: Many fall-foliage sessions have been cut short by early blizzards.
7. Buy something from the locals.
Some of these special autumn locations are in the middle of nowhere, flanked by small towns that pay a lot of winter bills with autumn tourism income. Buy a tank of gas from them, purchase a wacky refrigerator magnet, and attend their pancake breakfasts.
Tomorrow: Ten places to see the leaves turn (and maybe avoid the crowds).