PEEPERS, GET READY TO TWEET
There’s likely a tree on your street this fall with vibrant colors, a tree polarizing enough to make you brake your car a bit and stare. Maybe even take a photo to share with the family.
But one is not enough. And there are whole forests ready for you to act as a Twitter-worthy Peeper this season.
What makes leaves more colorful one season than compared to others? Changes in daylight and temperature stop the food-making process in a tree. The chlorophyll breaks down and the green color in the leaves disappears. Yellow to orange colors become visible turning the leaves gold to fire-red.
The Farmer’s Almanac, the bible of agriculture, explains what conditions make for good fall color this way: Starting in August, days must be sunny and the nights steadily cooling. This allows the trees to manufacture sugars, and sugars stimulate the leaves to make anthocyanins. The cold helps keep the sugars in the leaves producing anthocyanins.”
Aspens and Sumac are the stars of the show with their red pigment. Treeologists have found that anthocyanins act as a sunscreen, protecting leaves from bright seasonal light when it is cold outside.
The best peeping in Colorado, according to Donovan Arborists, is found here:
Guanella Pass. Georgetown. 22 miles. The lower elevations feature spruce, fir, aspen, and pine. This old logging and mining area flanked by Mounts Bierstadt and Evans boasts two of the state's best-preserved Victorian towns, Georgetown and Silver Plume. Guanella Pass Road is seasonally closed on or about Thanksgiving Day and reopens on Memorial Day weekend.
Beaver Brook Watershed Trailhead. Evergreen. 5.6 miles. The loop trail features a lake and is used for hiking, running, nature trips, and mountain biking. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash in part to prevent injury due to the barbed wire that once served as a trail boundary line.
Boreas Pass. Breckenridge. 6.6 miles. At the southern town limits of Breckenridge turn left on Boreas Pass Road (County Road 10). The road follows the old South Park and Pacific Railroad bed, climbing on a gradual 3% grade. Continue past Bakers Tank to the summit of Boreas Pass, the Continental Divide, at an elevation of 11,499 feet. The road then continues southeast for another 10.4 miles to the town of Como in Park County.
Kenosha Pass. Conifer. 54 miles. Travel along Route 285 traversing Kenosha Pass and end in Fairplay, the largest town in the South Park valley. TV fans recognize the name South Park from the eponymous animated series, but only the most dedicated fans know that the show is actually based on the writers' experiences growing up in Conifer. As of August this year, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, South Park creators, are the proud owners of Casa Bonita, the beloved Colorado restaurant featured on the show.