Wed Sep 6th, 2006, 11:39 AM
Here's the link to the best road(s) to go leaf watch.
Wed Sep 6th, 2006, 01:47 PM
:( The story you requested is available only to registered members.
Wed Sep 6th, 2006, 01:50 PM
I opened it up and I shure as hell would NEVER subscribe to any rag outta The Windy City.
Here it is:
Colorado bargains on the yellow leaf road
By Dan Leeth
Special to the Tribune
Published August 27, 2006
DENVER -- Tourism promoters like to say there is no perfect time to visit "Colorful Colorado." Residents know otherwise.
The best period for hitting the high country, many believe, falls between mid-September and mid-October. Days are warm, nights cool, mosquitoes have hightailed it for the season, and the mountains turn mellow.
And yellow. By mid-September, Colorado's aspen trees will have begun their eye-candy transformation. At the same time, many mountain properties will be offering fall lodging bargains.
That combines to make this a great time for seeing--and saving--Rocky Mountain gold.
7 drives to save and savor the Colorado colors
Here are some of the best routes for seeing Colorado color--and ways to save on lodging. Each can be driven individually, or they can be combined into a glorious journey down the Yellow Leaf Road.
1. TRAIL RIDGE ROAD
The route: U.S. Highway 34 from Estes Park to Grand Lake through Rocky Mountain National Park, 90 minutes northwest of Denver.
Best to go: Late September through early October.
The drive: The 48-mile route passes meadows where elk bugle during the fall rut. It quickly gains altitude as the pavement twists through a world of granite and gold. After topping 12,000 feet in the 24-karat tundra above timberline, the road descends toward the aspen-encircled village of Grand Lake.
Bargain beds: The Historic Rapids Lodge (970-627-3707; www.rapidslodge.com) in Grand Lake offers an autumn special featuring two nights for the price of one. Rates start at $95 with the second night free.
More eye candy: Make it a color-clad loop from Denver. Take the Peak to Peak Highway (Colorado Highway 119 from Interstate Highway 70 to Nederland, Colorado Highway 72 north toward Allens Park and Colorado Highway 7 into Estes Park) and return by U.S. Highway 34 to Granby and U.S. Highway 40 over Berthoud Pass back to I-70.
2. MT. EVANS SCENIC
The route: From Idaho Springs, 33 miles west of Denver, take Colorado Highway 103 to Echo Lake and, if the road is open, Colorado Highway 5 toward the summit.
Best to go: Mid- to late-September.
The drive: The route winds 14 miles to Echo Lake, a 10,720-foot-high sapphire pond ringed in gold. Beyond, the road climbs 9 miles to crag-hemmed Summit Lake where mountain goats and bighorn sheep often roam. The drive to the top (which may be closed after Labor Day) requires negotiating 5 miles of narrow pavement to a parking lot below the 14,264-foot summit.
Bargain beds: Although they don't run fall specials, Indian Springs Resort (303-989-6666; www.indianspringsresort.com) in Idaho Springs has rooms in the century-old hot springs resort starting at $63.
More eye candy: Continue west on I-70 to Georgetown and drive the Guanella Pass Road, a graded route that climbs through acres of aspen between four of Colorado's most-climbed 14,000-foot peaks.
3. ROUTE OF THE
The route: From Leadville, 101 miles west of Denver, three graded-gravel routes access ghost mines east of town. Obtain maps from the Chamber of Commerce (888-532-3845; www.leadvilleusa.com).
Best to go: Mid-September.
The drive: Nugget-gold leaves shade sites where pick-wielding miners once extracted silver fortunes from the ground. Best preserved is the Matchless Mine owned by Horace Tabor, a mining magnate who lost everything in the silver crash of 1893. After Tabor's death in 1899, his reclusive wife, Baby Doe, continued to reside at the mine. In 1935, neighbors discovered her frozen to death in her cabin.
Bargain beds: The 1880s-era Delaware Hotel (800-748-2004; www.delawarehotel.com) offers rooms starting at $76.50 per couple, a 30 percent savings over high season.
More eye candy: Take the Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad (866-386-3936; www.leadville-train.com) on a 21-mile ride through the hills above town.
4. INDEPENDENCE PASS
The route: From Balltown, 15 miles south of Leadville, follow Colorado Highway 82 west toward Aspen.
Best to go: Mid- to late September.
The drive: Not for the acrophobic, this 43-mile route crosses the Continental Divide on a narrow highway where guardrails are few and vehicles longer than 35 feet are banned. Switchbacks climb to the road's 12,095-foot apex. On the downhill side, color begins near Independence, a ghostly mining camp at the cusp of timberline. Beyond, the pavement clings to valley walls draped in a mottled curtain of green, gold and gray.
Bargain beds: The opulent St. Regis (888-454-9005; www.stregisaspen.com) offers rooms starting at $195 per night, one-third their high-season rates.
More eye candy: Turn onto Maroon Creek Road west of downtown for two color-packed options. The left fork follows Castle Creek to the ghost town of Ashcroft. The right fork heads to Maroon Lake for water-mirrored views of the famed Maroon Bell peaks.
5. McCLURE PASS
The route: From Carbondale, 31 miles west of Aspen, follow Colorado Highway 133 south over McClure Pass.
Best to go: Late-September through mid-October.
The drive: The 26-mile drive follows the Crystal River past Mt. Sopris whose summit rises cone-like from the valley floor. Sixteen miles to the south lies Redstone, a community with shops, galleries and cafes lining its gold-shaded, solitary street. The highway continues toward Chair Mountain, a geologic Barcalounger upholstered in rock, conifers and aspen. Beyond rises 8,755-foot McClure Pass, a low crest bordered by flame-brilliant leaves.
Bargain beds: The Redstone Inn (800-748-2524; www.redstoneinn.com), a 1902-built replica of an English tavern, offers rooms starting at $99 midweek. Prices drop to $79 after Oct. 15.
More eye candy: Near the pass, drive to the tiny hamlet of Marble where the stone for the Lincoln Memorial was quarried. Those with four-wheel-drive can continue another 6 miles to the ghost town of Crystal City, known for its cliff-side mill.
6. KEBLER PASS
The route: Near Paonia Reservoir, 17 miles south of McClure Pass, turn east onto County Road 12 and follow it for 31 miles into Crested Butte.
Best to go: Late-September through early-October.
The drive: Kebler Pass has long been a photographer's favorite. The graded gravel road traverses gold-clad meadows and hillsides as it climbs toward a 10,007-foot high point. Slow speeds, light traffic and myriad pullouts make it easy to stop whenever a color-keyed Kodak moment presents itself. The route ends in Crested Butte, arguably the state's least-glitzy mining-town turned ski resort.
Bargain beds: Starting Oct. 1, the Crested Butte Club Boutique Inn & Spa (800-815-2582; www.crestedbutteclub.com) offers suites starting at $150, a 25 percent discount from the summer rate.
More eye candy: Spend a day in Crested Butte and go hiking, horseback riding, river rafting, mountain biking, road biking, fly fishing or golfing beneath gilded leaves.
7. SAN JUAN SKYWAY
The route: From Ridgway in southwestern Colorado, the 236-mile loop follows U.S. Highway 550 south to Durango, U.S. Highway 160 west toward Cortez, Colorado Highway 145 northeast past Telluride and Colorado Highway 62 east back to Ridgway.
Best to go: Late-September through mid-October.
The drive: A Colorado classic, the byway accesses mining towns, resort communities and one of Colorado's best-known celebrity-dwelling retreats. Between them, the route traverses saffron meadows, climbs somber cliffs, crosses gold-leafed passes and parallels tawny streams. When the color's at its prime, valleys and hillsides look like buns garnished with relish and smeared with mustard.
Bargain beds: Durango Mountain Resort (800-982-6103; www.durangomountainresort.com), 25 miles north of Durango, offers fall lodging prices starting at $70 per couple.
More eye candy: Ride the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (877-872-4607; www.durangotrain.com) through the Animas River Canyon to Silverton for a coal-fired view of the autumn color.
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