Every year, I try to visit the Colorado mountains for peak fall colors. And if possible, I try to time my trip for the first real snowfall of the season, because aspen with snow is one of my favorite things to photograph–the striking clash of the seasons, the juxtaposition of warm and cool colors.
Colors were a bit late this year, as was the first snow…but I kept checking the forecast and finally headed out for a whirlwind tour of some of the fall color hotspots in early October. My trip began in Buena Vista and the Collegiate Range. There were still some snow showers above 9,000 feet elevation as I approached the Rockies.
As I continued up towards Cottonwood Pass, I stopped frequently to take in all the fall colors and light snow on the ground.
There’s nothing prettier than the alpine tundra in fall, especially with a little snow. The striking whites, reds, and yellows are just awe-inspiring!
There was even more snow on the west side of Cottonwood Pass, and I got to see one of my favorite things–aspen mixed with snow-covered evergreens!
Next, I headed to Crested Butte and one of my favorite places to experience fall colors–Kebler Pass! Nothing beats its mix of deep aspen forests and snow-covered mountains.
I got to Kebler Pass and waited for good light to spotlight the famous patch of red aspen that are visible from the pass–I call it the “Great Red Spot” I’ve taken many shots of these trees, but this may be my new favorite!
Coming down from Kebler, I had to admire the vast stands of aspen to the west…
Next I headed to McClure Pass for sunset; the colors were extra special this year!
I could not resist a trip to the famous Maroon Bells the next morning for sunrise. It was cloudy and still snowing when I arrived at Maroon Lake, but the scene was as beautiful as always!
Perhaps my favorite place to photograph fall colors in Colorado is Twin Lakes. It probably is not the most popular amongst photographers, which is one reason I like it so much! To me, the combination of 14,000 foot peaks in the distance, the shimmering lake, and the small stands of extra-colorful aspen make the place unique. So I spent a whole day there, taking many photos as the light changed throughout the day…
A few stray clouds remained after sunset and added to the many colors found at Twin Lake! Another special fall colors trip in the Colorado mountains.