This post is out of date, please visit our new page… https://www.exploringexposure.com/colorado-fall-color-resources
Below are a list of pages to find updates on changing leaves, the first link is to a facebook group I created that has taken off and is one of the best sources of information out there.
Colorado Fall Colors Reports Facebook Group……Sorry, the group has been made ‘Secret’ due to all the spammers, and people abusing it. You can only be added by someone you know that is already in the group.
If you don’t do Facebook I have setup a page with a Google doc embedded into it that anyone can edit and add their reports – Colorado Fall Color Reports
14’ers forum with fall color updates
NPN fall color thread
Lake City Facebook
Crested Butte Facebook
Michael Underwood Facebook
Visit Colorado Facebook
Jack Brauer Facebook
John De Bord Facebook
From the high country Facebook
Fall Foliage Prediction Map – This is an interesting map that gives a good overview of when colors change throughout the country. It’s a good macro view, but it is not detailed enough for specific areas.
Notes for 2015
Due to a wet spring many of Colorado’s aspens are succumbing to a fungus which makes the leaves turn black and drop very early. The northern and central mountains are where this is occurring primarily. The San Juan mountains did not receive exceptional rainfall and should still be very good. See this article.
The Million Dollar Highway (US 550) will be closed during the weekdays south of Ouray to Ironton.
FULL WEEKDAY CLOSURES – THROUGH OCTOBER 8, WEATHER PERMITTING
(Open noon to 1 P.M. and after 5 P.M. each weekday; fully open on weekends)
Map of the closure and more details on the closure
Owl Creek Pass has major construction Mon-Thurs with 2 hour delays! This is from Ridgway to the pass, only minimal delays Fri-Sun Read More
Below is a map of some of the fall color locations in Colorado, you can now view this map in the Google Maps app on your phone. Ensure you have the most up to date version, then click the star next to the title of the map below, this will save it to ‘Your Places’ in the app!
For a much more in depth guide consider picking up my friend Jason Hatfield’s eBook Colorado’s Fall Colors – A Photographer’s Guide eBook 3rd Edition. He also has a Google map of all the locations in his book.
Another fantastic book is Andy Cook’s A Guide to Colorado’s Best Photography Locations
Below are links to forecast discussions for the nearest NWS offices, this is highly technical information, but after reading through it a few times you start to understand. This information is extremely valuable to understand what the meteorologists are thinking.
Forecast Discussion Grand Junction
Forecast Discussion Denver
Forecast Discussion Pueblo
If you have an iPhone, I would highly recommend downloading The Photographer’s Ephemeris and subscribing to Skyfire, this new addition to TPE predicts where clouds will explode into epic colors at sunrise and sunset.
I have found the site meteoblue to be the most accurate, links to key areas below
Dallas Divide area
Red Mountain Pass
Rocky Mountain National Park
Tips for Dramatic Photos
If the forecast calls for rain and generally miserable weather, get out there! My absolute favorite conditions are just as a storm is breaking up, which allows the sun to come through the breaks in the clouds spotlighting small areas. Consider using a telephoto lens to capture unique intimate scenes, and always use a polarizer to cut the glare off the shiny leaves.
If snow is in the forecast do everything in your power to get out! When a snow storm comes through it creates a dramatic contrast of vibrant yellows and reds against the white snow, plus the atmosphere is exceptionally clear creating deep blue skies, this is a dream come true in the fall! Often times this signals the end of the season though due to the cold temperatures finishing off the leaves, so take advantage while you can!