VAIL - Rather than just driving up into the mountains to see the fall foliage, pick a trail and get out to enjoy the leaves for all that they are worth.
One colorful suggestion is Booth Falls in Vail.
A word of warning though, this trail is steep and rugged in places. But, it has some of the most beautiful views I've ever seen of the Vail Valley.
Also go soon as the leaves are starting to hit their peak at this point in September and now is the time if you want to check them out.
I also went on a Thursday afternoon. The weather was in the low 60s with a nice breeze and I only saw a few other people on the trail.
Even if you don't do the full 1.9 miles to the waterfall, or the longer nearly four miles to Booth Lake, just getting a few hundred feet up on this trail will give you some spectacular views of the leaves dotting the nearby ski runs.
I've heard a lot about this trail which is open from March to October and is located just off of I-70 in Vail.
It is also ranked by All Trails as the number two trail in the White River National Forest.
If you are driving from Denver look to get off at one of the first exits in East Vail. The trail head is not far from the golf course on the other side of the interstate.
You may also want to consider parking in Vail and using the shuttle service to get to the trail since there is a bus stop right at the trail head.
The trail itself is very rocky and some parts are very narrow, but it is always easy to follow. Along with the two miles each way to the waterfall, you will climb about 1,500 feet in elevation.
Remember you are also starting out at almost 8,000 feet. Bring plenty of water and a couple snacks for along the way. You might even want to pack a lunch to enjoy at the waterfall.
Along the route you will cross a couple of little streams which are barely flowing this time year, they are very easy to navigate.
There's also a very wide mountain meadow about a mile to a mile and a quarter in.
Be sure to look for the little trails that go nearby to the canyon where the water is flowing to check out some gorgeous views. It'll only take you a couple hundred feet off the trail and that overlook is very flat.
Once you get to the meadow you will see a forest coming up, as soon as you get there, the waterfall is not far away. You might even be able to see it from the trail. Be sure to stop, look and listen as you get close.
Once at your destination, just stepping a few feet to the left off the trail through the forest might give you the best view you've had of the falls themselves.
Along your way to the falls be sure to turn around and take in the scenery - often times the best views are going to be behind you.
With the change in daylight, the views might be very different on the way back than they were on the way up, so be sure to stop catch your breath and enjoy it all.
Whether you do this trail or any of the hundreds of other Colorado gems, get out and enjoy the fall Colorado Gold for all it is worth!
It's worth it to enjoy the brilliant aspens for more than just a view out of your windshield.
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