Fall color guide 2012: Trees peak early

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Colorado fall color map 2012

Colorado fall color map 2012

Colorado fall color map 2012

Colorado fall color map 2012

DENVER — Peak fall color in the mountains is 1-2 weeks ahead of schedule this season.  Take a look at the Peak Color map.

The northern mountains will see the brightest golds and reds starting September 15!  That’s about a week and a half from now.

The central mountains will follow less than a week behind that, and the southern mountains will peak at the end of September – before the start of October.

Why such an early peak this season? Exceptional drought conditions across Colorado is stressing the aspens.

Add to that dwindling daylight and cooler overnight temps and you have the makings of an early peak. In fact, freezing levels will drop to close to 10,000 feet this week.

I’m also expecting a dusting of snow above treeline in the next two weeks. Fall is moving in.

Places to go for the best viewing:
Guanella Pass
Rocky Mountain National Park
Cameron Pass
The Maroon Bells
Rabbit Ears Pass
Kenosha Pass
Crested Butte
The Grand Mesa
Cottonwood Pass
Hanging Lake