Fall has officially arrived in Steamboat Springs. It always seems to happen overnight, as if some switch has been flipped. The days become shorter, nights brisker, and the trees throughout the valley take on a warm yellow glow. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived in Steamboat, or how many times you’ve visited, the colors of autumn never cease to amaze.

Fall Drives

Buffalo Pass

A short drive from downtown Steamboat Springs, Buffalo Pass is one of the best places to take in the awe-inspiring fall colors. The bumpy dirt road takes you through glowing aspen tunnels and across open meadows filled with color. To get there, drive east on Routt County Road 38 following the signs to Buffalo Pass.

Dunckley Pass

If you are looking for a full day adventure, drive along the Flat Tops Scenic Byway over Dunckley and Ripple Creek Passes. Take in the sweeping vistas and enjoy a picnic lunch in the White River National Forest. To get to Dunckley Pass, drive south from Steamboat Springs to the town of Yampa. When you arrive in Yampa, take the first right onto C.R. 17 and follow the scenic byway signs.

Clark / Steamboat Lake

Enjoy a scenic drive to Clark and Steamboat Lake. Drive north on C.R. 129 until you reach the small town of Clark. Stop in at the historic Clark Store for lunch or a sweet treat. You can either stay on C.R. 129, or turn off at Clark and take C.R. to Steamboat Lake.

Fall Biking / Hikes

There are a number of local hiking and biking trails that offer amazing views of Steamboat’s fall foliage. Some of my favorite trails include Spring Creek, Mad Creek, Emerald Mountain, Flash of Gold on Buffalo Pass, Thunderhead Trail on Mt. Werner and Hahns Peak.

The fall colors have started a little earlier than normal this year, and are set to peak between September 15 and September 25. Whether you are hiking, biking or going for a scenic drive, there are many ways to enjoy the fall foliage in the high country.

Emily Hines is the marketing and special events coordinator for the City of Steamboat Springs. Emily was born and raised in the Yampa Valley and attended the University of Oregon, where she received a Bachelor of Science in business administration with concentrations in marketing and sports business. In 2013, after seven years working on the East Coast for a lifestyle and sports marketing agency, she found her way back home to Steamboat. She loves the outdoors and enjoys sharing her adventures and all that Steamboat has to offer.

Read more from Emily here.

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