3 Scenic Fall Drives in Colorado: Maroon Bells, Glenwood Springs, McClure Pass

Activities, Vacation Prep

Fall in Aspen is spectacular, with crisp autumn air and a temporary lull in the crowds that will soon arrive for ski season. Aspen lovers from all over embark on fall-color pilgrimages in hopes of catching the splendor of the leaves of the town’s namesake as they turn their iconic golden hue. Peak leaf peeping season in this area typically runs from late September to early October, so it’s ideal to plan your trip around this small window of time.

Maroon Bells, Glenwood Springs, and McClure Pass are three popular Aspen scenic drives that are wonderful this time of year, but we’ve listed a few other favorite leaf peeping routes in and around Aspen that are well worth the drive.


Aspen’s Maroon Bells, the iconic 14ers that are the majestic centerpiece of the Maroon Bells area, are always a popular destination for those looking to truly experience the beauty of Aspen. While these stunning peaks are a sought after stop throughout the year, seeing them draped in the shimmering gold of the changing leaves is a must-see. 

Because of the popularity of the area, there is limited access during the summer and fall; but it is still possible to visit by car. If you arrive before 8:00AM or after 5:00PM, you can drive all the way to the Maroon Bells trailhead as long as you plan ahead and make a parking reservation.  

This area is particularly dreamy to visit this time of year, when these eye-catching peaks are cradled by the bluebird skies and golden aspen groves. With fewer crowds, it’s more peaceful than the busy summer months, but it’s still bathed in the beauty for which it is renowned.

Hikers can venture up the trails to overlook the sea of crimson, amber, and gold while enjoying the cool alpine air. With multiple trailheads scattered in and around the area that offer varying degrees of length and difficulty, there is truly something for everyone. 

Come see why this area has become a bucket list destination for so many. If you are planning a trip, visit their website to stay up to date with information on exploring the area and making reservations.


If you are looking to make a day out of checking out the fall color, head roughly 40 miles northwest to Glenwood Springs for multiple places to view the changing leaves. One of our favorite treks in Glenwood is to drive up Four Mile Road to Sunlight Mountain Resort, where the entire mountain glows with gold when the leaves are at their peak. The views are spectacular, and the drive up Four Mile Road is eye-catchingly beautiful.

While in the area, pay a visit to Iron Mountain Hot Springs or the Glenwood Hot Springs Resort Pool where you can enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains while relaxing in the geothermal waters of the springs. With Lookout Mountain and Glenwood Canyon to the east, the Flat Tops to the north, and Red Mountain to the west, the hot springs offer a front-row seat to the spectacular changing of the season.


Just south of Glenwood Springs and I-70, McClure Pass is one of Colorado’s scenic and historic byways traversing along the West Elk Loop. With panoramas of majestic scenery, this is a great drive for leaf peeping. The views in autumn are ripe with rich colors of the aspen grove contrasted against the deep green pine trees which stand out against the granite peaks. Plan a day trip excursion and come see why this  is considered one of the best Colorado scenic drives and a favorite of locals this time of year. Stay to check out the sunset, or visit the nearby town of Marble to check out one of Colorado’s many “ghost towns” to take a look into Western America’s mining past.


As a guest of Alpine Property, you can contact our concierge for recommendations or to arrange a guide for your Colorado leaf touring adventure. Our staff has the expertise to guide you on the best places to view the aspen leaf changing and make the most of your experience.

Browse our rentals to find the perfect place for your autumn stay. Our rentals come with features such as private hot tubs, daily housekeeping, media rooms, cozy wood-burning fireplaces, fully-equipped kitchens, and incredible mountain views to enhance your visit. When you are ready to book, call us at 1-866-209-1540.

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