Explore More: 5 best spots to see fall colors in Routt County (with interactive map) | SteamboatToday.com

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

Willows, cottonwoods and a bright assortment of shrubs and other vegetation have donned their fall-colored leaves along the Yampa River.
Derek Maiolo

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.

Emerald Mountain

Sunlight glows through aspen leaves at the top of Emerald Mountain. Several of the groves surrounding mountain bike and multi-use trails have begun to turn yellow, offering an easily accessible hike from Steamboat.
Derek Maiolo

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

A line of aspens have turned a bright yellow along U.S. Highway 40 on Rabbit Ears Pass. A drive over the pass should provide views of intermittent patches of fall colors, which will continue to brighten.
Christina Grant

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. 

Buffalo Pass

Sun sets over Buffalo Pass north of Steamboat, where leaves have begun their fall color transformation.
Bryce Martin

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

Fall colors were popping at the Yampa River Preserve near Hayden in Thursday.
Katie Berning

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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