Leaf Peeping in Clear Creek County
Experience the Beauty of Fall in Clear Creek County
If you are looking to catch a glimpse of Colorado’s golden treasure, you may want to start by exploring Clear Creek County. Located along I-70, just 20 miles west of Denver. Clear Creek County’s Historic Mining Towns of Idaho Springs, Empire, Georgetown, Silver Plume and the surrounding forests are rich with History and beauty.
Come avoid the crowds and enjoy a simple day-trip or a unique, weekend getaway!
Guanella Pass Scenic Byway
Georgetown’s Guanella Pass Scenic Byway is located a few minutes off I-70, just west of Historic Downtown Georgetown. The byway leads you past miles and miles of Aspen, gorgeous waterfalls, and wildlife. Also, be sure to bring your hiking boots, as there are many trail heads along the way, including direct access to Mt. Bierstadt, which is one of four, 14,000 foot peaks in Clear Creek County.
Fall River RoadFall River Road/ Saint Mary’s Glacier
What better place to see the colors of fall in the Rocky Mountains than Fall River Road?! Simply take exit 238, from I-70 and follow the signs to Fall River Road and then proceed toward Saint Mary’s Glacier. This drive takes you past the small town of Alice, Historic buildings, barns, gorgeous Aspen and waterfalls. Once you arrive near the top you are welcome to hike the extra mile to the glacier, or stop at Silver Lake to fish or have a picnic.
Mount Evans Scenic Byway/ Echo Lake Lodge
From Idaho Springs, travel south on Highway 103 from I-70, which becomes the Mount Evans Scenic Byway. This road is complete with all the twists, turns, and overlooks, as it takes you deep into the mountains between Idaho Springs and Evergreen. This drive is full of gorgeous fall colors and countless Aspen. After arriving at Echo Lake and the Echo Lake Lodge, you may turn towards Mount Evans and go as far as Summit Lake to enjoy the colors of fall. The upper five miles to the summit of Mount Evans is closed to motorized vehicles between Labor Day and Memorial Day as the weather becomes unpredictable. Still, the Echo Lake Lodge is a great place to have lunch or simply stop in for a slice of their unbelievable, home-made pie – you may also choose to walk the path around Echo Lake, enjoy a picnic, or even cast a line and fish for the day.
Sit back and enjoy...
All Aboard! Be sure to catch a ride on the Georgetown Loop Railroad® as it takes you on a gorgeous, mountain-side ride through Aspen and across the Devils Gate Canyon Bridge overlooking a valley filled with golden Aspen. The train runs from Georgetown to Silver Plume and you are also welcome to tour the Lebanon Silver Mine along the way. Please visit www.georgetownlooprr.com for more information.
Start by driving up Virginia Canyon Road in Idaho Springs, also known as “Oh My Gawd Road” – known for the spectacular views as well as its narrow and curving lanes. This dirt road will wind you past old mining sites, gorgeous Aspen, and incredible views. Up top, A&A Horse Stables offers guided rides among the Aspen, through early 1800’s cemeteries, and the Glory Hole Mine. To schedule your guided ride visit www.aastables.com.
Enjoy the fall colors while on a guided ATV tour by Mile Hi Rafting and ATV Tours. The majestic views are enhanced by the beauty of the trees turning yellows and orange. Views of the Continental Divide are breathtaking, so be sure to bring a camera. This two hour ride will take you to the Silver Creek ghost town of 1884-1904. No structures remain, just foundations, but you will see why miners choose this beautiful valley for their home. The town was short lived but once had over 1,000 people living here with a school, store, hotel, and saloon. Don’t forget to wear long pants, closed-toe shoes, and bring a jacket, as this ride takes you from 8,200 feet to over 9,300 feet in altitude where the weather can change quickly. Minimum age to drive the ATV is 16, double ride ATV’s are also available, and if you never ridden an ATV, Mile Hi will train you and give you a practice session prior to the trip. To schedule your guided tour visit www.milehirafting.com.
A room with a view?
The Hotel Chateau Chamonix
Located in Georgetown, is an enchanted getaway along Clear Creek. From any room enjoy a taste of Europe complete with breathtaking views of Aspen, as you are surrounded by the gorgeous Rocky Mountains. Relax in the large, upstairs patio hot tub where you can un-wind and listen to the sound of the rustling leafs, or if you prefer, you may request a lower, creek side room complete with a two-person, private hot tub off the balcony. For reservations please visit www.hotelchateauchamonix.com.
Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout
Looking to find something a bit more off-the-beaten-path? You may consider renting the Squaw Mountain Fire Lookout – Located in Idaho Springs, just off Highway 103 and Forest Road 192.1, where you can see miles and miles of Colorado’s golden Aspen, and amazing panoramic views of Denver, the Great Plains, Mount Evans, Pikes Peak, Longs Peak and many more peaks. For reservations please visit www.recreation.gov.