Top 5 Places for Fall Color in Grand County

Whether it is a long weekend escape to enjoy the mild weather before winter sets in or a long-awaited vacation during the peace and quiet of fall, autumn is a reliably gorgeous time to visit Grand County.

Here, the scenic highlight comes in the form of aspens, cottonwoods and willows, which add dashes of vibrant color to our hillsides and valleys. For the best foliage viewing, we recommend the following spots in the county.

1. Colorado River Headwaters Scenic and Historic Byway

Recognized as one of Colorado's 25 Scenic & Historic Byways, the Colorado River Headwaters Scenic and Historic route follows the mighty river from State Bridge to its source in Rocky Mountain National Park. In Grand County, the section from Kremmling to Granby offers an array of fall color amongst the large cottonwoods that line the stream, as well as in the aspen groves that dot the distant hillsides, particularly around Windy Gap Reservoir.

2. Muddy & Rabbit Ears Passes

The drive to Muddy and Rabbit Ears Passes in western Grand County is sure to be a vacation highlight. After a stop for lunch and a little shopping in the charming town of Kremmling, head northwest on U.S. 40, which passes through beautiful ranchland before climbing to the Continental Divide twice. Along the way, you'll see expansive stands of aspen presenting the whole spectrum of color — from lime green to rich gold. Have an evening picnic at Dumont Lake atop the pass, and keep your eyes peeled for moose.

3. Indian Peaks & James Peak Wilderness

Encompassing the nearly 40-mile-long chain of 12,000-foot mountains that stretch south from Rocky Mountain National Park, the Indian Peaks and James Peak Wilderness Areas offer hikers dozens of alpine trails to explore. The payoff in fall? Pockets of aspen, a mosaic of red and orange tundra, and views of the colorful valleys from above treeline.

4. Scenic Gondola & Chairlift Rides

Take in an aerial view of the brilliant, autumn colors as you soar high above the treetops on a scenic gondola or chairlift ride! You can take to the skies on the Granby Ranch chairlift for an unbeatable view of the Fraser River, or embark on an enclosed gondola ride at Winter Park Resort for front-row views of the Continental Divide from 10,700 feet. 

5. Shadow Mountain Lake

With the dramatic peaks of the Rocky Mountains in the background, Shadow Mountain Lake is a high-elevation reservoir offering breathtaking fall color views and plenty of outdoor activities. For a truly stunning afternoon adventure, get on the water to enjoy the fall foliage from a rental pontoon, paddleboard, or kayak courtesy of Trail Ridge Marina.

Fall Lodging and Activity Specials

Extend your fall foliage experience in Grand County, and stay the night or book a unique fall adventure with one of our activity vendors. This breathtaking change of season only happens for a short period of time each year, so make sure to make the most of your autumn and book your grand fall today. Learn more about fall specials and packages.