Five fall color hotspots near the Denver metro area #3: Golden Gate Canyon State Park
The view from a meadow in Golden Gate Canyon State Park
A little-known fall color hotspot right on Denver’s doorstep, Golden Gate Canyon lives up to its name in autumn. The park is filled with aspen in fall foliage, mountain meadows, sweeping views of snow-covered peaks, historic homesteads and an extensive series of trails for hikers of any skill level. If you only have a couple hours or less to visit, one must-see spot is Panorama Point. Park here and marvel at the expansive view of the Indian Peaks rising above the aspen trees around you. Drive further on the Gap Road or Mountain Base Road for additional views of aspens and ample picnic areas.
Those with more time to spare shouldn’t miss hiking the Mule Deer Trail to Frazer Meadow named for John Frazer, a former gold miner who homesteaded, logged and built roads in the area. The barn from his homestead still exists at the top of the meadow.
To reach the park from Golden, travel on northwest on Golden Gate Canyon Road (Jefferson County Road 70). The park can also be visited as a spur from the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway via Colorado State Highway 46 (exiting State Highway 119 between Rollinsville and Black Hawk).