A great weekend for high country hues | PostIndependent.com

A great weekend for high country hues

Greg Massé
Post Independent Photo/Kara K. Pearson W/ GM STORY Yellow, red and green hues are monopolizing nature as fall storms into Glenwood Springs. The vibrant colored trees along this creekbed can be seen on the drive up to Sunlight Mountain.

Colorado’s yearly gold rush is on as the aspens show off their brighter side. Many of the well-known leaf viewing destinations will be packed with leaf peepers and amateur shutterbugs, but local experts shared some ideas for more obscure foliage trips. Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association executive director Marianne Virgili said she likes to hit the Flat Tops as well as McClure and Kebler passes on the West Elk Loop Scenic Byway south of Carbondale. “I think, too, if you drive up the CMC road in the Missouri Heights area it would be nice,” she said. Virgili didn’t mention any specific areas to go on the Flat Tops, but she said there are “a lot of secluded places” up there. Sally Jakeway, a support services supervisor for the U.S. Forest Service who works in the Carbondale office, agreed with Virgili’s suggestion of McClure Pass up Highway 133. “We had one of our people go over Kebler Pass last weekend and they said it was really pretty,” she said.

Prince Creek Road, which can be accessed just south of Carbondale off of Highway 133, also has some nice leaf changes. “There’s mostly oak brush up on Prince Creek,” she said. But there are also some nice views of Mount Sopris, and the mountain’s trailhead is located off of Prince Creek Road. Another Suggestion by Jakeway is the Fryingpan River Valley. “The Fryingpan is, of course, really pretty,” she said. “Those areas are all pretty. That’s what my people have reported to me,” she said. Western Garfield County has a few fall gems of its own. Forest Service visitor information specialist Barbara Suits said the Buford-New Castle road is a good spot. “That’s also two-wheel friendly, which makes it very accessible.”The road starts in the west side of New Castle at Seventh Street, winds over the Flat Tops and ends up in Buford.

“That’s one of the best because it’s easy riding, it’s a good road and it’s beautiful,” Suits said. “You’ve got red, yellow and green.”Suits also recommended driving up West Divide Road outside of Silt and Beaver Creek Road near Rifle, but she warned that the roads aren’t as smooth, and a four-wheel drive vehicle could be necessary. Bring a camera, a lunch, be sure and fill the gas tank and have a fun fall time. Contact Greg Massé: 945-8515, ext. 511gmasse@postindependent.comQuickie foliage viewing trips

Hanging Lake TrailGlenwood Caverns Adventure Park TramwayGlenwood Canyon rest areasDoc Holliday’s Grave (Up the trail to Linwood Cemetery)Drive up Four Mile Road to Sunlight Mountain ResortMissouri Heights

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