Where To See Fall Color in Colorado (Part 3)

Fall Color! While Traveling the State of Colorado…

in pursuit of my magic career has many perks. Not the least of which I have become familiar with the many scenic treasures in Colorado. That said, it had been many years since I had traveled the Scenic Byway over Tennessee Pass between Leadville and Minturn. Rich in history and even wealthier in beauty this drive has long been a favorite of mine. Connie and I decided to make this one of this years Fall Color drives and I couldn’t have been more pleased. The color on Tennessee Pass was vibrant and spectacular.

Fall Color Tennessee Pass

The Drive can be Approached from 2 Directions…

You can begin this loop at either Copper Mountain or Minturn. On this particular day we decided to start at Copper Mountain. As we drove out of Denver on Interstate 70 we passed through the Eisenhower Tunnel and into Summit county we accessed this area at Copper Mountain taking the exit to CO 91 toward Leadville. It was a cloudy rainy day, that was actually welcome after 9 days of 90 degree temperatures. The 1st part of the drive took us over Fremont Pass and past the Molybdenum Mine at the summit. While this drive is scenic many of the Aspen groves here had already peaked and lost there leaves. Just before entering the town of Leadville we turned on US 24 heading toward Minturn over nearby Tennessee Pass and by Ski Cooper. Obviously Leadville is rich with history and can be a destination all to itself.

Camp Hale 10th Mtn, Division

Our 1st Major Stop was Camp Hale…

Fall color, Aspen color, where to see aspen color
Spectacular color on Tennessee Pass!
Nature Reclaims the Valley

home during World War II to the 10th Mountain Division. Here 15,000 men were barracked and trained for combat in Mountain environments. A soldier named Pete Seibert remembered a nearby valley that was loaded with snow and In 1962 opened Vail Resort. Since we approached from Leadville we were able to view some of the signs with information on the history of the camp. We did this before driving in at the present day camping entrance. Here there are many plaques with information about the camp.

After exploring this area we headed back to the large group camping area near the back we opted to take the 3 mile dirt road back toward Tennessee Pass. I am so glad we did this. The Aspen Grove was every bit as spectacular as Boreas Pass and the road was in excellent condition. After returning to US 24 we passed the nearby camp a 2nd time and continued toward Minturn.

Green Bridge near Red Cliff

The Next Stop was Red Cliff…

for a picture of The Green Bridge. I love this kind of highway architecture. Connie and I briefly explored this quirky but picturesque little mountain town. If you want to you can head over Shrine Pass form here it is dirt road that is graded for passenger vehicles but be advised it can become a 4 wheel drive road under muddy conditions. On Shrine Pass you can see The Mount of The Holy Cross made famous in a dramatic painting by Albert Bierstadt. We chose to continue onto Gilman.

Gilman, Colorado

The Ghost Town of Gilman…

Hanging on a Cliff, Enshrouded in the Clouds
Silver, Gold, Lead and Zinc

is not far from Minturn. From the 1st time I laid eyes on it I have had a fascination with this Superfund Site. Hanging on the edge of a cliff this small ghost town was founded as a Silver Mining town in the 1880’s. In later years Gold and then Lead and Zinc were all taken out of the ground. The town closed in the 1980’s and is now fenced off from the rest of the world. 10 years back there was a plan to redevelop the area but that fell through. The day we visited was perfect with it’s gloomy low hanging clouds.


Connie, Phinnie and Maddie on Tennessee Pass

Driving down to the charming town of Minturn we rejoined I-70 and headed back toward Denver. Stopping to eat dinner in Silverthorne and taking one final photo of a spectacular sunset.

Sunset over Dillon Reservoir. A Beautiful end to a wonderful day