By Michael Swanson, City Forester, Denver Parks and Recreation As winter approaches, many Denverites are…
DENVER — You procrastinated that trip to Colorado’s high country to see the fall colors, didn’t you? If so, we’ve got some good news and some bad news for you.
The bad news: As of mid to late October, most of the aspen trees in the mountains have already lost their leaves. The good news: There is still plenty of gorgeous fall color to be viewed right here in Denver!
But do yourself a favor: Don’t put it off this time. This week and upcoming weekend are your last best chances to view some of the splendid autumn foliage in the Mile High City, accentuated by ash trees that turn a whole host of colors from yellow to orange to red to purple.
Before we get into three great spots to view these trees, we should probably explain why we’re so keen on ash trees.
Aside from the fact that they’re beautiful, our interest has a lot to do with the threat these trees face from the emerald ash borer (EAB), an invasive pest that has already devoured millions of ash trees in the Midwest and parts of Canada. EAB was discovered in Boulder in 2013, and is already impacting thousands of our neighbors’ trees.
It’s just a matter of time before EAB arrives in Denver, and we need your help to protect our urban tree canopy. Visit our interactive map to find out if there is an ash tree on your property, and visit our FAQ page to begin developing your EAB defense plan if you have an ash.
Without further ado, below are three great spots to see ash trees as they display their brilliant colors this fall. Need help finding each spot? Click the address links for directions to each destination.
1. City Park
Many of the trees in Denver’s oldest park have stood for over a century, and many are the sort of splendid ash varietals that come alive every fall. Bring a blanket and enjoy a picnic in the shade, take a stroll around the lake or enjoy the color before, during or after a trip to one of the park’s many attractions, including the Denver Zoo, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, City Park Golf Course or City Park Esplanade Farmer’s Market on Sundays. For those who want to get especially festive, take part in Boo at the Zoo, which takes place on Saturdays and Sundays from October 22-30.
Address: 2001 Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO 80205
2. Wallace Park
Tucked away in the Denver Tech Center, Wallace Park is one of Denver’s best kept secrets. And it may well have the widest array of fall colors in Denver per capita, due to its jubilee of ash trees. This long, skinny park has plenty of paved walking trails and rolling hills for those looking for a strenuous jog or great views of the DTC. There are also plenty of picnic tables to utilize once you’re done exploring.
3. Harvard Gulch Park
Harvard Gulch may not be as well kept a secret as Wallace Park, but considering it toes the edge of the city’s southern border, it certainly qualifies as another one of Denver’s hidden gems. Bring the kids to enjoy the updated playground, bring your energy for the exercise stations around the perimeter of the park, bring a ball, glove and bat for the basketball and baseball facilities or a bring pitching wedge and a putter for the short par-3 golf course.
Address: 550 E Iliff Ave, Denver, CO 80210