The gold rush begins

I confess this photo is from Sept. 20, 2012. But yesterday, Sept. 12, 2017, the color in this location was already worth the trip. Not this extensive, but still notable. I think the experts are right; the color is coming early this year. It could peak in another 10 days or so, instead of the annual average of Sept. 27. But it’s already a pleasant trip. Best of all, the smoke that has plagued Denver for several weeks was not apparent. Blue skies, sunshine, and mild temperatures prevailed.

As I explained in my 2012 post, “Peak-to-Peak leaf peeping,” this colorful valley lies along the west side of Highway 72, between Nederland and Ward, CO, near mile marker 37. Year after year it stands out as the best, biggest stand of aspen gold between Nederland and Estes Park.

My guess is that if you want to see the best color this year, you’ll need to go earlier than usual. Besides, even if you miss the peak, a drive in the mountains is never a waste of time.

Categories: Green

9 replies

  1. What is aspen PT? is it some form of prairie grass? We have nothing comparable here, makes our golden wattle look pretty mean.

    • It’s a deciduous tree, common throughout the US and extremely common in Colorado. It’s related to poplars and cottonwoods and tends to grow in large groves. It turns brilliant yellow in the fall. See the link in the post for more pictures.

      • Thanks PT, is it a rather small tree, it seems to b e somewhat squashed amongst some giants. I thought Aspen was a place for the greedy rich and newly famous to go flaunt their ill gotten gains.

        • They are considered medium sized trees, ranging from 20-80 feet in height. I’d guess the ones I planted in my yard five years ago are 30-40 feet. It’s role in the forest is to be the first fast-growing tree to fill in a meadow or a burned out area. In time it will be replaced by the slower growing conifers. The town of Aspen was named after them and it is indeed a place where the rich and famous live and play.

  2. Our Pecan trees must agree with your Aspens. They have been at war with my efforts to keep the swimming pool clean for weeks now.

  3. They missed looking for cities of gold and walked right past?
    Such a scene and show.


  1. The leaves they are a changin’ – Pied Type

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