Colorado Fall Colors, photo by Larry Gross
Slowly but surely, the aspens are beginning to turn gold in the Colorado high country. That means Fall is on the way. This is one of my favorite times of the year to get outside, not only because of the beautiful colors, but also because of that crisp element in the air. Fall hiking is dissimilar to summer in a variety of ways, which means you need to prepare for your adventure differently.
Find the best Fall Colors
Peak Fall Colors vary by region, so if you’re planning on traveling this season, check that you’re going at the right time. The Weather Channel has a helpful Fall Colors map to help you plan your season.
Wear orange & be aware of hunters
Fall isn’t just a great time of year for hikers, it’s also hunting season – beginning August 26 in Colorado. Wear bright colors like Hunter Orange and talk loudly so as not to be mistaken for a deer. You can also check-in with your public land office to see which trails are most popular with hunters and help define your route.
Check the weather and choose your route carefully
August 2016 in Chicago Basin near Durango, CO, photo by Margaret Hedderman
In the high country, it has been known to snow as early as August! When planning your Fall hiking adventure, be sure to check the forecast and be aware of what elevation you’ll be climbing to. Rain at 6,500 ft. can be snow at 13,000!
Carry layers for dramatic temperature changes
Fall Colors in Harriman State Park near New York City, photo by Larry Gross.
In addition to choosing your route based upon weather conditions, you’ll also want to carry extra layers. In the Fall, the temperature can drop quickly. Be sure to carry a good insulating layer as well as a rain jacket. And never forget your Ten Essentials!