Colorado’s color-changing foliage makes for beautiful mountain sights
With over three hundred days a year of eye-squinting sunshine, the Colorado fall is likely to leave students with a tan.
“Fall is my favorite time of year because I like all the colors, especially the reds and oranges,” John Cribbs, a CU sophomore environmental design major said.
Under the magic of the red, orange and yellow color scheme of the season is the highly complex concept of photosynthesis.
During the summer, plants use the chlorophyll to capture sunlight for photosynthesis and thus they create their own nutrients. The amount of sunlight is so high that the chlorophyll hides any other color but the green.
During the autumn months the days begin to get shorter and therefore the daily amount of sunlight decreases, as does the production of chlorophyll.
Then the other pigments, Carotenids, which produce yellow, orange and brown pigments become visible. Anthocyanins are also pigments that are especially highlighted during the fall season, appearing in shades of red and purple.
Leaves turn different colors depending on their species.
Oak trees have a tendency to turn red or brown, while hickories turn yellow or gold. Dogwood trees turn a purplish red. Aspen trees as well as Cottonwoods, which are common in Colorado, generally turn a yellow gold color in the fall. If you have landscaping trees in your garden, make sure that they get a tree trimming service periodically to maintain their health and appearance. Those who have unhealthy or rotten trees they want to get rid of may get in touch with a professional tree removal company.
“You can see all the different colors of leaves and trees on campus,” Zoe Falls, a CU junior and English major, said.
All right, enough science, now for the guide to a fall leaf sightseeing extravaganza.
Chautauqua Park, Gregory Canyon
Chautauqua Park has long been a Boulder favorite. The park itself is the perfect place to picnic, the view of the flatirons is unbeatable and the hiking possibilities are endless.
“Chautauqua is beautiful this time of year, very rustic. Walking around and looking at the leaves is amazing,” Erika Pullen, a junior and anthropology major said.
In summertime, Chautauqua Park seems to be particularly crowded, but in the fall it slows down considerably. Chautauqua is at its prime during October, especially its many plants and trees that are spectacular in autumn.
Gregory Canyon, located south from Baseline Road on the Gregory Canyon Trailhead access road. It is just west of the popular Saddle Rock Trail.
The Gregory Canyon trail is surrounded by cottonwoods, which turn a bright yellow during the fall, as well as apple trees.
Another great thing about this hike – there are lots of places to sit down and take in the colors. There are many rocks around the canyon trail, which helps to make it an easy and effortless hike for anyone.
This trail also allows horses and dogs, but no bikers.
Suggestion: Bring a picnic because there are tables.
Boulder Falls is located in between Boulder and Nederland, thus it is easy to get to and has a reputation of being beautiful.
If you want an adventure that you can fit into your hectic fall schedule, check out Boulder Falls. The hike is easy, has places to sit and picnic and is guaranteed to not be as crowded as summer.
The Falls is complete with all the colors of the season, including yellows, oranges, and reds.
Head west on Canyon Blvd or Highway CO-119 for roughly nine miles, and parking is just south of the highway.
Maroon Lake, Aspen
Aspen in the fall is quiet, scenic — or in other words, a postcard.
If you would like to be a part of the magic that is autumn in Aspen, then the place to go is Maroon Lake.
In terms of fall sightseeing, Aspen is the number one place in Colorado. Since the town of Aspen is named after the tree, you can bet there are thousands of them.
Maroon Lake in the fall is full of sunshine and the golden trees reflect off of the water. Also, there is the added bonus of the views of other mountains.
The Maroon Lake Scenic Trail – yes, that is the actual title — is a fairly easy hike that begins at the Maroon Lake Scenic Trailhead.
From Boulder take CO-93, then merge onto CO-470 East towards Colorado Springs, merge onto I-70 towards Grand Junction; take Exit 116 toward Glenwood Springs/Aspen.
After you are in Aspen, turn right on North River Drive and then take another right at Grande Avenue. Enter the next roundabout and you will find yourself at the Maroon Lake trailhead.
Despite the roughly four-hour-long trek, the Maroon Lake hike is worth it. The next time you see a postcard of Aspen, you can point and say, “I’ve been there.”
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer at Emily.Sturges@Colorado.edu