Updated: 7/6/2017

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The month of September is the ideal time to witness Colorado fall color, but you have to time it right — the color is fleeting, lasting only a few weeks in different areas of the state. Often, when one portion of the state’s color fades, another section of Colorado is just beginning its seasonal change. The best strategy: select your travel dates in advance, but not your destination. Then go wherever the color is. Consider these somewhat different approaches to aspen peeping:

Hot-Air Ballooning

Ballooning in Colorado provides new perspectives on the state’s ubiquitous granite pinnacles, rocky spires and the tawny-hues of fall aspens. When you find yourself in a thatched basket, hundreds of feet up in the crisp Colorado air, the colors unfold below in a seemingly unending canvas of yellow and gold. The landscape becomes increasingly intriguing and inspiring while drifting from this high altitude angle.

Horseback riding is a great way to see fall color in Colorado
Horseback riding is a great way to see fall color in Colorado

Find Colorado hot-air balloon companies.

Horseback Riding

Few activities embody the West like an old-fashioned horseback ride through Colorado. Somehow, aspen viewing, wildlife watching, sightseeing and simply enjoying the outdoors are a different experience when sitting astride a saddle. Consider a trail for the day or book a vacation at a Colorado dude ranch. Find Colorado horseback riding options.

Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV)

Travel deep into aspen-covered backcountry while riding a mountain bike, four-wheeler, ATV or 4x4 vehicle. Forest trails, often explored by just a handful of visitors, abound in Colorado. Find yourself surrounded by speckled aspen bark, as a golden canopy of color rises above you. Find Colorado ATV rentals and 7 Popular ATV & Jeep Trails.

Scenic Byways

Colorado's 26 scenic and historic byways pass through some of the state's most scenic areas and are a great way to find fall color. Here are five best Colorado fall drives.