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The Ten Best Leaf-Peeping Places in Colorado

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We've already offered tips for transplants who want to go leaf-peeping. Now that we've gotten autumn etiquette out of the way, we're sharing our list of the best places to go see the turning colors. The most popular options are also the most obvious — Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Peak to Peak Highway from Blackhawk to Estes Park, Maroon Bells near Aspen. Here are some less-traveled but equally spectacular routes:

1. U.S. 285 to Kenosha Pass; back via Guanella Pass Road (turn on Colorado 381 at Grant) to Georgetown, return via I-70.

2. Oh-My-God Road, from Idaho Springs to Central City. It’s an unpaved combination of the Two Brothers Road and the Virginia Canyon Road;  the easiest route among conflicting choices is to stay on Colorado Forest Road 279, all the way.

3. Colorado State Highway 14 from Fort Collins up Poudre Canyon, to the top of Cameron Pass.

4. U.S. 50 from Salida to Gunnison (Monarch Pass).

5. Colorado State Highways 74/103 from Evergreen to Echo Lake.

6. Boreas Pass Road, Como to Breckenridge. Take Colorado Forest Road 404; it becomes Forest Road 10 at the top of the pass. Unpaved.

7. Dallas Divide/Lizard Head Pass, from Ridgway to Dolores. State Highway 62 from Ridgway; at Placerville, turn south onto State Highway 145.

8. U.S. 550 (Million Dollar Highway), Ouray to Durango.

9. West Elk Loop, including McClure Pass, Kebler Pass, Crested Butte, Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Paonia. This all-day trek starts at Carbondale, moving south on State Highway 133 and making a huge circle that includes State Highways 135 and 92.

10. Chaffee County Road 306, Buena Vista to Taylor Park Reservoir (unpaved from top of Cottonwood Pass to reservoir).

Go for the gold!

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