Here in Colorful Colorado, a few locations are already starting to experience the fall color change. This year, a very warm July was followed by a cooler August, so things seem to be underway in the higher elevations.

You don't have to wait for fall in Colorado to experience some amazing color. You just need to know a few tips for watching the sky, and you can become an expert in predicting colorful sunsets right here in the Centennial State.

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Colorado Sunsets Are All About the Clouds

When the sun is low on the horizon it passes through more atmosphere and particulates than when it is high in the sky. You've probably noticed that nobody has taken a stunning sunset photo with a clear sky. Clouds are the key to great colors.

Colorful sunsets can happen with anywhere from 30 to 70 % cloud cover. The best types of clouds for creating color are cirrocumulus, altocumulus, cumulus, and cirrus clouds. These clouds create a perfect canvas that reflects the red and orange colors of the sunset without being so big they block out the sunlight.

Following An Afternoon Thunderstorm

Spotting cirrocumulus, altocumulus, cumulus, and cirrus clouds mid-afternoon is a great way to know that day's sunset will have potential. Don't let an afternoon rain storm leave you thinking you won't catch a sunset. We've all seen a beautiful sunset following an afternoon thunderstorm. This is due to clean air and clouds at various levels of elevation which help bounce even more light around the sky.

Don't Forget To Look Behind You

When trying to capture colorful sunset photos, don't forget about the show that is happening right behind you. There was a really popular book put out by Eric Sloan back in 1977. In his book titled, "Weather Book", Sloan points out that you must remember that the sunset's color isn't just in front of you - it's also behind you. When standing at an overlook or viewpoint looking at the sunset, be sure to turn around as some of the best colors will be bouncing off the clouds opposite of the setting sun.

MORE: When Will Colorado See the Beautiful Fall Colors Change in 2023?

The fall color change is one of the best times of the year to live in Colorado. The burst of yellow, orange, and red color throughout Colorado's forests is something people travel from all over to see. Using the maps below, you can plan for the fall color change anywhere in the state.

LOOK: Beautiful Places You Need to Visit in Western Colorado

We're taking a look at some of the beautiful destinations on Colorado's western slope. You won't have to spend all day in the car to get to these incredible destinations, and many of them leave the hoards of tourists far behind on the front range.

KEEP GOING: The Story Behind Colorado's Beautiful Million Dollar Highway

In 1883, the county of Ouray commissioned Otto Mears to build a toll road from the town of Ouray up to the top of the Uncompahgre Canyon. Scroll on to learn more about the incredible highway Mears built through Colorado's San Juan mountains.

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