Autumn Colors Near Denver in 2018

I, Zeb the Duck, take mom and some friends to the nearby mountains and also in the Denver, Colorado area, to view the colors of autumn.   You have to see some of what we have seen so far.   Kenosha Pass has thousands of aspen trees.

Yellow aspen with evergreen trees.

And they turn the mountainside a vibrant yellow.   Some aspen turn red for a few days also.

Variety of colors all together

We love seeing the less common bursts of red leaves.   One day at Kenosha Pass, we watched this family of moose.

Moose family near Kenosha Pass

We and many other humans were fascinated by these moose.   Another reason we love Colorado.  Another day we headed to Echo Lake.

Echo Lake with reflection

We love our mountain lakes.   Echo Lake is at the entrance to the road to Mt. Evans.   We took you there a few weeks ago.   Continuing past Echo Lake, the autumn road looks beautiful.

Gorgeous aspen and energetic biker.

There is an energetic bicycle rider on the road also.   I, Zeb the Duck, wanted to see these leaves up close.

Me, sitting in aspen leaves

So, here I am, sitting on aspen leaves.   On this trip, we drove from Blackhawk to Nederland on highway 119.

Colors of fall with mountains behind

The colors of changing leaves caught my attention with the Rocky Mountains behind.   And one of my favorites, a group of red aspen.

More red aspen

We love driving through the mountains admiring the fall colors.   But, the leaves don’t only turn in the mountains.

Fall colors with mountains behind

Beauty right in town.   This was a beautiful clear day with new snow on the continental divide.

Spectacular view today

The fresh snow is so pretty.   Now I wanted to look up through the leaves and see that beautiful blue Colorado sky.

Looking up

Isn’t it beautiful?  Colorado is famous for the quaking aspen and the beautiful yellow, gold and red leaves in the mountains.   But here in town, we have other types of trees.

Love red leaves

The red maple tree is  beautiful sign of fall or autumn in the city.   If summer must end, this is a beautiful farewell to the summer days.

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Mt. Evans, High in the Colorado Rocky Mountains

Let’s drive on the highest paved highway in North America.   Colorado Traveling Ducks are going to the top of Mt. Evans.  And we will not be more than 2 hours away from home near Denver, Colorado.   First we stop to admire Echo Lake.

Echo Lake

At 10,600 feet above sea level, a short hike by the lake, then a great meal at the lodge,

Echo Lake Lodge

and we are ready to begin our journey to the top of Mt. Evans.

Let’s go to the top of Mt. Evans

This is a combination of Denver Mountain Parks and some Federal land, but our National Park Pass covers our admission.   Our first stop is Mount Goliath.

Mount Goliath Natural Area

Here we see the really old Bristlecone Pine trees, the oldest living things on earth.

Bristlecone Pines

Our bristlecones are only about 1,700 years old.   Some bristlecones in California and Nevada are over 4,000 years old.   Those trees were old when Jesus was born.   We like sitting on this fallen Bristlecone.

Fallen Bristlecone Pine

Our Bristlecone Pines do not get as old as those in California and Nevada because our growing conditions are too good.   They like more wind, more cold, and less moisture.   And we think our winters at this altitude are pretty brutal for growing things.  We are driving our car here, but some people enjoy the challenge of riding a bicycle.  You may notice there are few trees here.   We are approaching timber line.   Above here, the conditions prevent trees and most vegetation from growing.

Hard work to go by bicycle

The road is wide enough for two cars to pass, but not much wider.   There are no shoulders on this road and not a single guard rail to be seen.

Narrow road. No shoulders. No Guard rails.

The drivers need to be careful, and they are.   Each year more cars drive to the top of Mt. Evans, so be aware and be observant.   Look what you may see.

Mountain Goats

As we approach the summit of Mt. Evans, these Mountain Goats are wandering.   Humans do stop to admire and photograph the animals.

Mom and child. Mountain goats

We love seeing these animals.   At the summit of Mt. Evans, there is a parking lot with limited parking, paths to hike, and the remains of Crest House.

On hand rail of remains of Crest House

There are no concessions here, so bring your own water.  Crest House was a gift shop and restaurant, but was destroyed in a fire in 1979.   It was never rebuilt.   At the parking lot, you have reached the end of the highest paved road in North America.   You are at 14,206 feet above sea level.   Be careful.   The air is very thin, meaning there is not as much oxygen in the air as most people usually experience.   Move slowly and stop if you get light headed or dizzy.   If you brought oxygen with you, use it!  And if you are wondering, this road is 154 feet higher than the road to the top of Pikes Peak, a little further south near Colorado Springs.   Let’s head down now.   We love the views along the way.

Enjoy the views

There are some pullouts for hiking and admiring these mountain views.   We are higher than most of the surrounding mountains.

Beautiful views

Small mountain lakes dot the landscape.   Enjoy your time here.  Descending to 12,830 feet above sea level, we stop at Summit Lake.

Summit Lake

The day after Labor Day, the road is closed from here to the top of Mt. Evans.   Usually closed on the first Tuesday of September.   The rest of this road, from Echo Lake to Summit Lake, stays open until closed by snow.   We park here and follow the trails.

Yellow Bellied Marmot wants to go inside

This yellow bellied marmot wants to go inside this building?  We saw a park ranger and he said he opened the door earlier and the marmot went inside.   When he came out, the ranger closed the door.   As he was coming out, he seemed to look right at me.

Yellow Bellied Marmot

Mom, should I be worried?   The sign says he is eating lots to get ready for 8 months of hibernation.   Continuing driving back, we stop to see wildflowers.

This one is producing seeds

This unusual plant is growing and has a seed ball.   Interesting.   But this is my favorite.

Beautiful red wildflowers

I, Zeb the Duck, love red wildflowers.   If you did not drive to the summit of Mt. Evans this summer, we hope you plan to go next summer.   It is beautiful and you pass through so many climate levels.   You will be above tree line.   You will see arctic tundra.   We hope to see you there next summer.

Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck Welcome Autumn in Colorado

Yesterday, Wednesday, according to our calendar, was the first day of autumn.   Zeb and Soapy discovered autumn colors in the mountains.   We went to Echo Lake, near Idaho Springs, Colorado.   Driving down the road we admired the fall colors and the brilliant blue sky.

Driving we appreciate the colors and the vivid blue Colorado sky

Driving we appreciate the colors and the vivid blue Colorado sky

Of course, we had to look back and see the colors from the other direction.

Looking back

Looking back

Beautiful, isn’t it?   Looking through the trees, we saw the golden aspen leaves and the majestic Rocky Mountains.

Through the trees we admire aspen and rocky mountains

Through the trees we admire aspen and rocky mountains

Here we are at Echo Lake.

Echo Lake with reflection

Echo Lake with reflection

We loved the reflections on the water.   The gold aspens and the fluffy white clouds reflected on the lake made us smile.    It also made us hungry.   The restaurant in the Echo Lake Lodge provided us with a very tasty lunch.

Echo Lake Lodge and Restaurant

Echo Lake Lodge and Restaurant

We are so happy we live in Colorado.

Hiking at Echo Lake, Colorado

Zeb had a great time at Echo Lake.  This lake is calm and beautiful.

Ready to hike at Echo Lake

Ready to hike at Echo Lake

Located near the road to Mt. Evans, Echo Lake was perfect for Zeb, his mom, Soapy’s mom and Steve, Soapy’s dog.  We hiked, talked and laughed, ate, shopped, and hiked some more.

I have to say, that this was the best hiking ever.  I, Zeb, rode on the back of Steve.

Zeb riding Steve at Echo Lake

Zeb riding Steve at Echo Lake

From this picture, you can see that I had a real ride and a wonderful time.  Although Steve is fast, she was careful with me and I stayed on her, never even close to falling off her back.  Fantastic!

We started at Echo Lake Lodge parking lot.  We hiked on trails that felt spongy from all the pine needles.  A few other people, no ducks like me and a few dogs were on our trail.  Everybody was very kind and having a good time in the mountain sunshine.  The trail led us around the lake and back to the road.  Before the road, we found the picnic area with many tables and a shelter in case of too much wind or rain.  Also restrooms are available.  This seems important to humans.

In the lake, we saw live ducks swimming, people fishing and dogs having fun.  My Steve put paws in the lake and enjoyed a big, cool drink.

Steve having a drink from Echo Lake

Steve having a drink from Echo Lake

Hiking makes humans hungry.

Lunch was good at Echo Lake Lodge.  Mom had a big, tasty hamburger.  Soapy’s mom had chicken quesadillas.  Lots of smiles and eating here.  While eating, we watched hummingbirds at the feeders.  They are a lot smaller than me, but those wings sure move fast!

Hummingbird with wings in action

Hummingbird with wings in action

Soon the humans, saying how full they were, ordered dessert.  Dessert???  Echo Lake Lodge has wonderful home made pies.  Mom had blueberry pie with ice cream.  Soapy’s mom had chocolate peanut butter pie, topped with whipped cream and miniature chocolate chips, and a scoop of ice cream.

The pie is perfect!

The pie is perfect!

As you can see, I enjoyed it also.

It rained while we were eating, but we took a short hike after lunch

Steve, wait for me

Steve, wait for me

and then home.   This was a fantastic day.  You will love Echo Lake and maybe even some pie from the restaurant.   Echo Lake is about 1 hour from Denver.  From I-70 take the second exit in Idaho Springs.  Then drive 14 miles to Echo Lake Lodge and the entrance to Mt. Evans.  The drive is beautiful and Echo Lake is worth the trip.  The Echo Lake Lodge website was not completed today, but check www.mountevans.com.   This is another great day trip from Denver.  Hope to see you there soon.