Colorado is known for its beautiful views and changing colors, especially around this time of year. In fact, I took my own graduation photos around this time of year purely to capitalize on the fall colors before the first storm hit.

So, if you have or are a student graduating this year, even if they're set to graduate in the spring, here are ten of the best spots for Colorado State students to grab grad photos before the winter wipes the leaves from the trees.

1. The Oval at CSU

This is a no-brainer, and if you play it right, you can beat the annual graduation photoshoot rush! It's always great to have a photo from your college campus when you graduate, and it's not even an argument for how beautiful The Oval is this time of year! Even if you happen to wait a little "too long" for photos, it's stunning in the winter with snow on the ground as well.

2. The east side of Horsetooth Reservoir

I specify the east side because I know most people don't want to hike along any of Horsetooth's trails in their nicest clothes, nor do they want to look all sweaty for the photos. Luckily, it doesn't matter if you drive up to an outlook at Horsetooth or hike to the top of Horsetooth Rock, it's recognizable and beautiful either way!

3. Old Town

Again, kind of a Fort Collins staple that's necessary for any graduating student. You can either stick to the square and the beautiful backdrops there, or you can wander around and find some other unique spots! There are tons of murals around downtown to get some super colorful and unique graduation photos.

4. Bingham Hill

Two words: golden hour. Nothing beats this spot for those soft and warm sun flare shots that you can never go wrong with.

5. Poudre Canyon

Grab some shots down by the river and show off the stunning yet outdoorsy side of your alma mater's surrounding areas. It's a great spot for some more personality photos to show off how much you've loved the culture of Northern Colorado.

6. Estes Park

Or Rocky Mountain National Park if you don't mind paying a park fee! You can't beat the Rocky Mountains. You can try to fight me on that, but you won't win.

7. Great Sand Dunes National Park

Now, I know this is quite the drive, but come on, hardly any graduation spots will beat the photos you get from the sand dunes. It's a great spot for some more editorial-style photos. It'll get dramatic real fast but in the best way.

8. CSU Annual Trial Flower Garden

If you hurry over, you'll get the flowers still in full bloom before they go away for the winter! The colors will be gorgeous beside your CSU green and gold.

9. City Park

If you don't want to make a long drive to a national park, City Park is an awesome spot for nature-style photos. You can even get pretty close to pictures from Poudre Canyon if you have the right photographer!

10. Maroon Bells

I know this is probably the most unrealistic drive for most to make, but if you have the time, it's a have-to photo spot. It's a huge tourist attraction, so you might be fighting for some spots, but it's incredibly popular for a reason. The colors are stunning and you feel like you're standing in a literal painting.

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