Best Fall Colorado Motorcycle Rides for Leaf Peeping
As the fall foliage starts to change in Colorado, we know that riding season in the Rockies is waning. However, there’s still time to get in a few more epic rides. One way to choose your last rides of the season is to look for routes that feature some of the best fall colors.
Here are some of the best choices for seeing fall colors that are also great motorcycle rides.
Trail Ridge Road
Trail Ridge Road is one of the “must see” roads in Colorado. It features ten solid miles of some of the best fall colors in Colorado as well as being the highest continuously paved road in North America. Plus, it’s a fun ride, with lots of switchbacks that, if not white-knuckle at the recommended speeds, give you a decent workout. Don’t miss the Farview Curve overlook, and don’t get so caught up on the aspens that you miss the rest of the great alpine scenery on this road.
That said, the beauty of this road is by no means a secret. It’s popular and crowded, though the admission fee for Rocky Mountain National Park keeps traffic down a bit. If you hate crowds, absolutely don’t go when the Park has its free day, September 24.
Guanella Pass itself is a relatively short drive, just 22 miles, a cutoff from I-70 to US-285 along CO-381. It gives great views of changing leaves for most of its length, but the presence of the popular Mt. Bierstadt trailhead can make this a crowded road. Plus, neither I-70 nor 285 is a fun way to get back into Denver on a Sunday afternoon. Maybe make this one a Saturday or weekday ride.
Peak to Peak Scenic Byway
The Peak to Peak Scenic Byway is 55 miles of mountain scenery with several amazing clusters of aspens along the way. This is a great drive that’s near Denver. Running from Golden to Estes Park, it’s easy to get to this road. Obviously, that makes it popular. However, the route is long enough and open enough that you’ll probably only run into major slowdowns on the peak weekends.
Top of the Rockies
An 82-mile ride from Aspen to Leadville and beyond remains over 9,000 feet elevation for most of the ride. Enjoy views of Mt. Elbert and Mt. Massive on this ride, plus close-up looks at numerous 13ers. A little bit further from the Front Range, the traffic here is a little lighter (except on the peak leaf peeper weekends). Since most of the route is already at high elevation, it’s not loaded with switchbacks, except in the stretch around Independence Pass.
After Leadville, there are two forks of this drive, adding another 30+ miles to the route, and creating a rough triangle with I-70 as the third side. Head over Tennessee Pass toward Minturn or Fremont Pass toward Frisco, then decide if you want to pick up the third leg, or just head back into town.
San Juan Skyway
This is a big loop that you have to really commit to if you want to complete it all in one day. It’s over 230 miles meandering through the San Juan Mountains. Make an early start to get it all done at once, or divide it into chunks with hotel stops in Durango and Telluride or camping near Ridgeway and Mancos.
Note that this route includes the infamous Million-Dollar Highway, one of the most dangerous roads in Colorado for motorcyclists. If you’re not comfortable with that ride or if you’re just looking for the best color, head over the Dallas Divide between Ridgway and Placerville.
Grand Mesa Byway (Land’s End Overlook)
If you’re looking for a Western Slope ride, check out the Grand Mesa Byway. This beautiful route follows CO 65 off I-70 a little east of Palisade for just over 60 miles, including a 10-mile detour to Land’s End Overlook. This is an essential detour, and it’ll give you a beautiful view down into the valley. Overall, this drive gives you the opportunity to ride through several different types of terrain, and it features some nice curves to make it fun and interesting. Plus, it tends to be one of the less crowded drives for leaf peeping.
Highway of Legends
You don’t have to get really high into the mountains to see great colors. This 82-mile trip from Walsenburg to Trinidad features great views of the Sangre de Cristos and Spanish Peaks without ever cresting 10,000 feet. The nice thing about this ride is that you can easily build it in as a scenic detour on any longer trip going south on I-25.
Kebler Pass is one of the favorite places to see fall colors. It’s a beautiful 33-mile drive from Crested Butte to Paonia through the Gunnison National Forest. There’s only one difficulty: much of the route is a gravel road. It’s relatively smooth, but make sure everyone in your party is comfortable on this type of surface before committing to the ride.
Help for Motorcycle Accidents While Leaf Peeping
Unfortunately, many people get in motorcycle accidents while viewing the fall colors. The combination of heavy traffic, winding roads, drivers unfamiliar with the terrain, and distracted drivers leads to numerous accidents.
If you were injured in a motorcycle accident while looking at the leaves during the fall color season, let Denver motorcycle accident attorney Brian Pushchak help. He has extensive experience with motorcycle accident lawsuits and offers a unique Informed Decisions™ Approach to your lawsuit.
Mr. Pushchak takes the time to learn what’s really important to you about your lawsuit, and he prioritizes what matters to you. You’ll also receive Mr. Pushchak’s personal contact information so you can get in contact with him whenever you have questions or concerns about your lawsuit.
Please call 303-372-6145 or use our online form today to schedule a free initial consultation at Pushchak Law in Denver.
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