Want to experience autumn in the mountains, but don’t think you have time? This route from Denver to Aspen will give you a taste of the splendor of autumn in the mountains - even if you have only a weekend to spare.
It can be difficult to choose which scenic mountain town to visit in Colorado - each have a unique their own vibe. But, it was Aspen that John Denver referred to as his “sweet Rocky Mountain paradise.” Just beyond the Continental Divide and the scenic Independence Pass and a little over 3 hours from Denver, Aspen is a must see fall destination.
On the way, you will pass through Leadville, the highest town in Colorado at 10, 152 feet. After passing over the Continental Divide, take the time to stop at the Ghost town of Independence. Abandoned in 1899 when the expansion of the railway made the treacherous stagecoach travel trough town unnecessary, Independence is only accessible Spring through fall. The wooden remains of the town include a general store, stable, two boarding houses and a stamp mill once used to process mined ore.
Must do in Aspen:
Have a cocktail at the historic Hotel Jerome
Take in a view from the top with Gondola ride
Pay a visit to the John Denver Sanctuary
After your time in Aspen, you have the option to return over Independence Pass or take the route through Glenwood Springs and onto I-70. Both routes take just about the same amount of time and both offer beautiful views.