Fall Color Drives from Keystone

As the trees make preparations for the winter to come and the shadows grow longer, we are given the greatest performance of all: the changing colors of Aspens to golds and reds from their summer greens. The leaves hint color at first, giving way to full blazes as the days progress through Autumn. Colors have already started to change and we likely only have a few more days for prime viewing!  

Here in Summit County, we have groves upon groves of Aspen trees at our fingertips, but that doesn’t stop us from driving around to take in the full show. Here are a few of my favorite drives from Keystone to enjoy the beauty of Fall. So grab a pumpkin spice latte, your favorite mix tape and enjoy the ride!

Boreas Pass Road:
Boreas Pass Road is an old railroad bed that climbs up the pass from Breckenridge and eventually ends at US Hwy 285 north of Fairplay. This historic route gives passengers unrivaled views of Breckenridge and the surrounding mountains. Stop and enjoy the many groves of Aspens and incredible views along with the railroad history of the area.  There is even a short hike off of the Boreas Pass Trailhead called ‘Aspen Alley’ which is about 2.5 miles round trip and a must-do if you are in the area. 

Directions: Drive west on Hwy 6 out of Keystone and turn left on Swan Mountain Road. Take another left from Swan Mountain to Hwy 9 towards Breckenridge. Stay on the Hwy 9 downtown bypass past Breckenridge and turn left on Boreas Pass road just south of main street. Take this road all the way up to Boreas Pass and don’t forget to stop and take photos!

*Bonus: Drive all the way to Hwy 285, turn south to Fairplay and take Hwy 9 from Fairplay back over Hoosier Pass to Breckenridge and back north to Keystone.

Tennessee Pass:
Tennessee Pass outside of Leadville is another great Fall color drive. If you are a little less comfortable driving on a dirt road miles into the backcountry, this is a great alternative to Boreas Pass. You can enjoy beautiful colors and stay on the comfort of a paved highway.

Directions: Drive west on Hwy 6 out of Keystone to I-70 west. From I-70, turn south on Hwy 91 at Copper Mountain Resort. Stay on Hwy 91 to just before Leadville. (Detour to Leadville and grab a coffee at City on a Hill Coffee in Leadville, you will enjoy every sip!) Take Hwy 24 north towards Ski Cooper and stay on Hwy 24 to I-70. You will pop out on I-70 just west of Vail. Enjoy the drive back east on I-70 to the Silverthorne/Dillon exit and stay on Hwy 6 East to Keystone!

*Bonus: Take a right Camp Hale from Hwy 24 and read about the 10th Mountain Division of World War II and their incredible feats in Italy! This is the site where they did their primary training for the war.

Independence Pass:
An unforgettable drive to view Fall foliage, the drive from Twin Lakes outside of Leadville over Independence Pass to Aspen is one on which to spend an entire day.

Directions: Drive west on Hwy 6 to I-70. Drive west on I-70 to Hwy 91 at Copper Mountain Resort and drive south. Stay on 91 through Leadville. It merges with Hwy 24 which you will continue South on to get to Twin Lakes. Turn right on Hwy 82 and pass the small town of Twin Lakes, continue up over Independence Pass to Aspen. Turn around to head back to Keystone or continue north on Hwy 82 to Glenwood Springs on I-70. Take I-70 East to get back to Silverthorne/Dillon and to Keystone.

Written By: Amy Drees