Top Ten Fall Forests

Rocky Mountain Highs: Gunnison National Forest, Colorado

The Colorado high country's year-round splendor is such that it's easy to forget how beautiful it is in autumn, when the aspens take on a deep golden glow. And for sheer Rocky Mountain beauty, it's tough to top Gunnison National Forest, which comprehends or touches on the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, Maroon-Bells—Snowmass Wilderness, and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. As you'd expect, the scenery here is monumental: There are 20 peaks here topping 13,000 feet; there are the 1,000-foot walls of the spectacular, 20-mile-long Taylor River Canyon; there are stunning views from the likes of 12,000-foot Browns Pass.

Nestled in the heart of the forest is the ski town of Crested Butte, very much a four-season adventure destination. Crested Butte's fat-tire biking trails are legendary, and there's nonpareil trout fishing, rafting, and scenic driving.

Fall Classics: Gunnison Country

Into the Woods: Hikers can't go wrong with either of these hikes in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness—or with nearly any of Gunnison's countless hiking trails. Head for Taylor River Canyon for rafting and fishing. And if the weather gets a bit nippy, take a nice warm soak over at Cement Creek. Wherever you go, keep an eye peeled for wild turkeys and wintering raptors.

On the Roads: There's plenty of scenic driving in the Gunnison area; weather permitting, head on up to Browns Pass for the best views.

Where to Camp: Check out GORP's Gunnison National Forest Guide.


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