Fall in Buena Vista

Fall in Buena Vista

Fall is a perfect time to get outside and enjoy the crisp Buena Vista air and golden leaves. The autumn colors typically peak in Mid-September and run through the end of September or early October. The aspen trees in high elevation peak first, while some of the lower elevation groves and cottonwoods along the Arkansas River follow a couple weeks later.

To experience autumn in Buena Vista, check out these stunning destinations:

Cottonwood Pass

If you want that “top of the world” feeling within an easy distance from Buena Vista, then Cottonwood Pass is the place to go. This pass reaches 12,126 feet on the Continental Divide and is one of the most-beloved scenic drives near Buena Vista.

To get there, head to the only stoplight in downtown Buena Vista at the intersection of U.S. 24 and Main Street, turn onto West Main Street which turns into County Road 306 and keep going for 20 miles.

On your drive to the top of the pass, you’ll view the striking fall colors and soak in the magnificent sites at the top. You’ll also find several hiking options along County Road 306 such as the Denny Creek Trail, Ptarmigan Lake Trail and Colorado Trail.

Cottonwood Lake

Cottonwood Lake is another beautiful location to experience autumn. The glistening water, Colorado sunshine and gorgeous scenery at Cottonwood Lake make it a great escape for a picnic lunch, stroll around the lake, fishing trip, or a canoe or kayak trip.

Cottonwood Lake is in the same direction as Cottonwood Pass. From the stoplight in downtown Buena Vista, head west and stay on West Main Street/County Road 306 for about 6 miles. Turn left on Country Road 344 (there will be a sign that indicates Cottonwood Lake) and continue for a little over 3 miles until you reach the lake.

Aspen Ridge

Aspen Ridge is sure to take your breath away during the peak of the fall season, which typically takes place mid to late September. The yellow and orange aspen leaves fill the whole area with a golden hue and, coupled with the intensity of the Colorado blue sky, results in incredible views.

To reach some of the best Aspen groves, you will need a high clearance vehicle, with 4-wheel drive recommended. Aspen Ridge is also a popular area for ATVs, Jeeps, UTVs and dirt bikes.

From Buena Vista, travel south on Highway 24 until you reach a traffic light, turn left onto Highway 285 North, and travel for about 6.4 miles. Next, turn right onto County Road 307 (1.6 miles), turn right onto County Road 187 (5.8 miles) and then turn right onto County Road 185. Follow County Road 185 to the clearing where you can see the Collegiate Peaks and enjoy the bright foliage.

Midland Hill

and Barbara Whipple Trail System

If you want a spectacular view of fall foliage within walking distance from downtown Buena Vista, explore the trails on Midland Hill. At the end of East Main Street, you’ll find the Buena Vista River Park. Bear left and turn into the parking lot, and you’ll see signs for the Barbara Whipple Trail System. Midland Hill is across the river, and you can access trails by crossing the footbridge. From the trails, you’ll be able to see all of downtown Buena Vista along with spectacular views of the Collegiate Peaks.

Four Mile OHV Tours

Buena Vista ATV Color Tour

“Color Tour” ♦ A Mountain Festival ♦
Annually the Buena Vista, Colorado Chamber of Commerce hosts a community charity event called the “Historical Color Tour”. Participants from around the country come to this off-road rally and mountain festival to visit the area’s old mining sites and ghost towns on self-guided OHV tours. Ride to near the top of a 14,000 foot mountain, cross the Continental Divide, and take in the fall colors as the Aspen trees change to “gold”.