We headed out fairly early on Saturday morning—to beat the crowds and the rain that was forecasted for the afternoon. We drove south along the Front Range to Florence, then headed back north along Phantom Canyon Road. There were huge, beautiful banks of fog in the lowlands, and we dipped into and rose out of them repeatedly along the way.
The recent rains had eaten away the banks of the creek, and in places the road was very narrow. We saw maybe 15 cars parked here and there in the canyon, and passed maybe that many more. but for the most part, we had the view to ourselves. The Cottonwoods were turning, and there was color in the bushes on the hillsides.
But the real color didn’t begin until we got up where the Aspen grow.
When we got up to 8,500 feet, we could see the peaks of the Sawatch Range far to the south.
We stopped in Victor for a bit, then headed toward Divide. Two things were immediately apparent: the clouds and crowds had moved in. At 10,000 feet, in Goldfield, we had a stunning view of Pikes Peak, already with snow.
Every wide place along the road on the way home was filled with cars and people taking photos of the colors. Traffic was stop and go through Woodland Park. We had breakfast for lunch at the Hungry Bear, stopped for some shopping in the Springs and were still home by 3:30.