The western slope has some great spots to take in the fall foliage.

The Grand Mesa is handy for most Grand Valley residents to catch some fall color. In my two years out here, that's where I've spent most of my September downtime. This fall I want to experience something new so I did some digging to find some great places to hike and experience the western Colorado fall color.

Owl Creek PassWord has it the aspen's fill this valley. It's here that the iconic scenes from the John Wayne movie “True Grit” were filmed. Chimney Rock and Courthouse Mountain make for a perfect backdrop for this aspen tree paradise.

Lou Creek TrailNear Ridgway is this 9-mile round trip hike that takes you along beautiful vistas and alpine lakes. The San Juan Mountains make for the perfect accent for the abundant aspens.

Blue Lakes TrailThis challenging hike due north of Telluride is worth the effort. This is a good spot to take in the early fall color. The hike takes you along a glacial basin and up to nearly 11,700 feet.

Red Mountain Pass- The drive through the pass is breathtaking. Just down the road past Ouray is the Red Mountain hiking trail. Besides the beautiful aspens check out the old mining history and structures. On the outskirts of town is the Perimeter TrailThis 6.5-mile trail circles part of Ouray and overlooks the town.

Last Dollar RoadYou can drive this road. You can get there from Noel along highway 62 and cut through the pass down to Telluride.

I hope you'll make some time to try these or the hundreds of other back-roads and trails this fall. I know I need to make more time to experience the spectacular fall color. A reminder too that this year's dry weather has aspens turning early. Plan to take your adventure about 5 to 7 days earlier than normal.

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