Sangre de Cristos Mountains, Wet Mountain Valley, Colorado. Photo copyright Jim Doty Jr.
Wet Mountain Valley, Marble Mountain, Crestone Needle, and Crestone Peak (Sangre De Cristos Range), Colorado. Photo © Jim Doty Jr.

The air is getting cooler and fall is on its way (if it hasn’t already arrived, like in Alaska). It is a great time to take pictures. Fall colors will begin appearing in the northern U.S. and at higher elevations and work its way south and down to lower elevations.

At Denali National Park in Alaska, fall color is well under way in late August, and wintry conditions can arrive by early September.

In Colorado, fall color starts up north at the higher elevations in mid-September and works its way south through early October. At Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National PArk, the aspen usually peak in mid to late September. When the aspen at Bear Lake at bare in early October, the aspen at lower elevations in the Park should be be hitting their peak. In southern and southwest Colorado, the aspen should be a pale green in late September and usually hit their golden peak in the first 10 days of October.

In Michigan, fall color starts in the U.P. in early October and works its way south through the rest of October.
Weather conditions can change the usual fall color season in any part of the country, and the quality of the color can change from year to year. I timed my last trip to southern Colorado for the peak color season but the leaves weren’t at their best when they turned, and heavy rain, snow, and high winds combined to strip the trees early. No aspens for me down south but I was able to catch a few patches of color at lower elevations up north.

“Leaf peepers” can keep track of conditions and plan their fall color trips by keeping a close eye on a variety of web sites.

I have a long list of fall color web sites for much of the U.S. on this page. Fall color web sites become active at various times during the fall.

MArshall Pass, Colorado. Photo copyright Jim Doty Jr.
Marshall Pass, Colorado. Photo © Jim Doty Jr.