Explore More: 5 best spots to see fall colors in Routt County (with interactive map)
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Fall has arrived in Routt County, and the colors are changing quickly. Here are some of the top places to explore fall in Routt County over the coming weeks.
Yampa River Core Trail
The easiest to access from Steamboat Springs, the Yampa River Core Trail follows 7.5 miles of its namesake river. It dips in and out of cottonwoods, willows and various shrubs that turn yellow and ruby red. The colors of some trees already have peaked, while others remain green.
For a longer walk, Emerald Mountain to the south of Steamboat offers a system of hiking and mountain biking trails surrounded by vegetation that has become increasingly tinged with fall colors. The Wild Rose Trail near the top of the mountain passes through one of the densest populations of aspens. The Lupine and Morning Gloria trails also have a mix of deciduous trees and shrubs with ever-brightening leaves.
Rabbit Ears Pass
The eastern gateway to Steamboat, Rabbit Ears Pass is a higher-altitude viewing option that remains in the early stages of fall transformation. Splotches of color can be seen from U.S. Highway 40, the main roadway over the pass. Numerous trails off the highway, accessible on foot, with horses or on motor vehicles, take observers through more remote forests with panoramic views of the Yampa Valley and surrounding area.
A short drive from Steamboat, the road to Buffalo Pass offers another higher-elevation landscape of aspen groves, ferns and shrubs. Patches of them have turned yellow, with more dramatic changes still to come. A trail that traditionally offers some of the brightest fall colors is Flash of Gold.
Yampa River Preserve
About 30 minutes west of Steamboat, just off U.S. Highway 40, the Yampa River Preserve includes a hiking trail following its namesake river. Cottonwood, box elder and dogwood trees are among the most colorful this time of year. The trail also is popular among bird enthusiasts.
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