Kenosha Pass is one of the best places to see the aspens as they change to bright gold and light up the mountainsides with color in early fall. (Peak season is late September.) A lot of people also know this, and Kenosha Pass can get insanely busy, especially on weekends. It is certainly worth it however, as the large aspens groves radiate with orange and gold at peak season, and a crisp, cool breeze make this a wonderful fall adventure.
Hiking at Kenosha Pass will get you away from the swarms of people and take you through some spectacular aspen forests. Kenosha Pass actually sits at an intersection of the Colorado Trail. You can park on either side of Highway 285, and take the trail East or West. Both ways have some spectacular views with only a few hundred feet of elevation gain.
If you are looking strictly for aspens and fall colors, I recommend heading East on the Colorado Trail. This will take you through some magical-forest looking aspen groves, climbing to some gorgeous clearings where you can see down into the South Park Valley. You get to some nice views only a little over a mile into the trail on the East side. You can take the trail as far as you'd like, turning around after finding some fantastic views a mile in, or backpack all the way back to Denver if you're prepared for it!
Taking the Colorado trail heading west takes you up through more of a pine forest with aspens thrown in as well. You will get more close peak/mountain vista views as you pop out of the forest on the other side of the pass. Again, take this trail as far as you feel comfortable. It goes all the way to Durango, but fantastic views await about a mile in!
Overall, this is a fun hike no matter the season. There are bathrooms and a campground at the trailhead, and fantastic views all the time. If you are going at peak season just know that it is going to be wildly busy. Hiking in a mile or so will get you away from most of the crowds and get you some aspen views to yourself.
If you're looking to get some beautiful shots of changing colors in the mountains, this is a fantastic place close to Denver. Bring the Camera!
You are going to see some fantastic colors no matter how far you go on the trail at Kenosha, and it is not difficult. It is a great trail for the whole family, and dog friendly. Just remember to please pack out your dog's waste. Leaving it in a bag on the side of the trail is littering and being a terrible caretaker of the earth.
The Kenosha Pass Campground is right off of 285, and a perfect spot to camp on this adventure. Reservations can be made HERE.
Kenosha Pass is literally right on the side of Highway 285 just past Grant. There is a ton of parking on both sides of the road, but during peak fall color season especially on the weekends, this place gets PACKED. Plan accordingly!