Best Places to See Fall Colors in Denver

highline canal

With the onset of October, the changing of the leaves begins in Denver With the city’s urban parks, recreational areas and ???, there are plenty of places to leaf peep in and around Denver. So, here are a few of the best places to see fall colors in Denver.

Cherry Creek Trail

A view of downtown Denver and fall leaves along the Cherry Creek Trail.
Photo courtesy of Elias Lopez via AllTrails

Where: Confluence Park off 15th St, Denver 80202

The Lowdown: This 40-mile trail covers lots of ground, from urban landscapes to suburbs and state parks. The trail begins in downtown Denver at the Platte River Trail in Confluence Park and meanders through Arapahoe and Douglas counties, passing through the towns of Parker, Centennial and Franktown. In addition to fall colors, you’ll catch glimpses of Cherry Creek Shopping Center, Four Mile Historic Park and Cherry Creek Reservoir.

University of Denver Campus

An aerial view of the DU campus in fall
Photo courtesy of the University of Denver

Where: 2199 S University Blvd, Denver 80208

The Lowdown: Complete with gothic architecture, mountain views, and an abundance of foliage, the University of Denver campus is beautiful in any season. Thanks to the Chester M. Alter Arboretum, the campus is home to about 2,100 trees and thousands of woody plants representing more than 427 species. Take a stroll through the campus’s 125 acres and stop in the student-run coffee shop, Beans Coffee, for a delicious chai latte.

Washington Park

People running along a trail in Washington Park.
Photo courtesy of Live.Laugh.Denver

Where: S. Downing St & E. Louisiana Ave, Denver 80210

The Lowdown: Washington Park is one of Denver’s most popular parks – and for good reason. The park covers 165 acres and has two lakes, two flower gardens, multi-use trails and plenty of open space to take in the abundant fall colors in Denver.

High Line Canal Trail

A view of fall foliage along the High Line Canal Trail.
Photo courtesy of High Line Canal Conservancy

Where: Multiple start locations

The Lowdown: The High Line Canal Trail is a 71-mile trail weaving through 11 jurisdictions, including Denver, Douglas County, Aurora, Littleton, Greenwood Village and more. Many sections of the trail are equestrian and bike-friendly. Towering cottonwood trees, front-range views, a variety of plants and vast grassy plains make this hike even more scenic in the fall. You can find trail maps here.

Star K Ranch

Star K Ranch
Star K Ranch. Photo provided by Aurora Parks, Recreation & Open Space, Colorado Facebook.

Where: 16002 E Smith Rd, Aurora, CO 80011

The Lowdown: A slightly lesser-known option for leaf peeping in the city is at Star K Ranch. Located in Aurora near HWY 225 and Colfax, the scenic park seems to keep to itself with fewer crowds and easy access. Find miles of trails that wind through 250 acres of woodlands and in the fall a drapery of colors. The trail system is open from dawn till dusk, seven days a week and is dog-friendly with the exception of the wetland loop. If you bring the family be sure to also stop in at the Morrison Nature Center to see animals and learn about the history of the park.

Cheesman Park

The Cheesman Memorial Pavilion in fall.
Photo courtesy of Brittany Werges

Where: 1599 E 8th Ave, Denver, 80218

The Lowdown: Stretching from Humboldt Street to the Botanic Gardens, Cheesman Park offers 80 acres of open land, complete with views of the mountains, the neoclassical Cheesman Memorial Pavilion, and of course, lots of trees to leaf peep this fall. Additionally, the park has a spooky element that makes it stand out even more as Halloween approaches: in the mid-19th century, the park used to be a cemetery, and around 5,000 bodies still remain buried beneath the park to this day. The park even offers ghost tours that dive into the history of the cemetery and the paranormal stories associated with it.

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