Photo Blog: Where To Shoot Fall Colors In Winter Park

Winter Park, Colorado

Winter Park, Colorado, isn’t known for sweeping views of golden aspen leaves and Autumn colors in the fall like the San Juans or the Maroon Bells. However, my home-away-from-home still has some nice color at the end of September and early October if you know where to look. And with fewer crowds, spending time in this area not far from Denver is a great way to enjoy a few days.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to escape up into the mountains and Grand County before heading south to photograph the Cimarron Valley and Telluride area. As I headed over Berthoud Pass on Highway 40 and began dropping into the Fraser Valley, the splashes of gold were sprinkled across the mountain. Just seeing the vibrancy of these aspen made me want speed down the road so I could start scouting good places to photograph these fleeting colors. Over the next few days, I enjoyed slow drives down dirt roads and stopping at every bend to see what compositions and angles I could come up with. Here were some of my favorite places.

County Road 725

This little dirt road runs behind Winter Park and winds its way to Fraser. It is a bit bumpy but still do-able. Several little roads branch off from this road – some much rougher than others. Along the way, the gold and orange leaves of the aspen make for beautiful stops along the way.

CR 725 - Winter Park 930-1

Winter Park may not be known for is Fall colors like areas in the southern part of the state, but there are pockets of particular beauty just waiting to be discovered. This dirt road behind the main town offers bends and turns that show off amazing orange and gold aspen every year in late September - and you'll rarely see another car.

Morning Glow of Aspen 930-1

Taken with a fisheye lens, this image shows the beauty of golden fall aspen in the morning light as a sunburst spreads its rays through the pristine trees. On a county road behind Winter Park, beautiful scenes like this come alive each Autumn.

Heading northwest, CR 725 eventually runs into…

County Road 72

This little dirt road offers some nice bends with aspen draped over the road, as well as some nice views of the mountains east of Fraser.

Autumn's Curves 930-1

Behind the resort town of Winter Park, CR 72 shows off its fall colors on a cool, late September day. I loved how the winding road lead into the distance while aspen and pine added Autumn color to this lovely drive.

Autumn Colors on a County Road near Fraser 930-1

A quiet road near Fraser Colorado shows off its fall colors on a crisp, late September day. I love driving county roads in Autumn and looking for different views, and this is one of my favorites when the aspen are gold.

Just west of CR 72 is…

County Road 73

This mostly long, straight road is probably best known because it runs alongside St. Louis Creek and by the Fraser Experimental Forest. There are also a few places that allow Byers Peak to show through, though I’m still searching for the perfect place to photograph this nearly-13,000’ peak.

Byers Peak in Autumn 930-1

Byers Peak rises to nearly 13,000’ on a cool, late September morning. A hint of Autumn colors can be seen by the golden aspen surrounded by green pine trees. I also loved the wooden fence in the foreground.

Rollins Pass

Across from the Winter Park Ski Base, as you travel north on Highway 40, County Road 80 branches off to the right. Better known as Rollins Pass or Corona Pass, this dirt road bumps and grinds for 14 miles before dead-ending. The first several miles are passable with a standard car, but after that, I’d strongly recommend a 4WD. Along the way, several nice views appear that overlook Winter Park and Fraser.

Autumn Colors of Winter Park 929-1

The fall colors in and around Winter Park were among the best I’ve ever seen in my home-away-from-home, and this aspen photograph was just a sampling of the abundant gold and orange in the Autumn of 2021. This dirt road leads from Hwy 40 up to Rollins Pass and provided some pretty views both along the road and of the valley below.

Take some time and enjoy this sometimes bumpy drive, then turn around when it is time.

Winter Park Base

While this area isn’t covered in gold, I do enjoy photographing the base with some aspen and fall colors sprinkled around. I think the orange and gold shades always add a pop to a fun area.

Winter Park Base in Autumn Panorama 1

Fall colors adorn the Winter Park Ski Resort base. This is my favorite time to be in the area - small crowds, beautiful colors, and a chill in the air.

Revisiting these images already makes me ready to return. I love my time in this area, especially in the off-peak times when the crowds are few and the air cool and fresh.

Safe travels, friends!

~ Rob

Images from Colorado

Winter Park may not be known for is Fall colors like areas in the southern part of the state, but there are pockets of particular...

CR 725 - Winter Park 930-1

Winter Park may not be known for is Fall colors like areas in the southern part of the state, but there are pockets of particular beauty just waiting to be discovered. This dirt road behind the main town offers bends and turns that show off amazing orange and gold aspen every year in late September - and you'll rarely see another car.