Fall Color Starting Early in Southwestern Colorado

I took this shot Friday—it’s the western approach to Stony Pass in San Juan County, Colorado. Note the yellow tundra and a few yellow leaves on trees.

Stony Pass

Fall color is already showing itself at the end of August, a couple weeks early. The tundra, which had been green only a couple weeks ago, is turning yellow in spite of recent rains. Yes, I did enhance the photo for contrast and to bring out the sky, but one thing I did not do was touch any color adjustments!


Here’s another shot, this time of Lake Como, taken the same day. It shows how the tundra is changing color quite rapidly.
Lake Como

Lake Como is the headwaters of the Uncompahgre River. The lake sits well above tree line. The tundra, which was green only a week or so ago, is now turning yellow, even though we’ve been having lots of rain.


Normally the last week in September is the best week for fall color in Southwestern Colorado, but “they” are saying it might be early. I’ll keep a close eye on it and let you know.

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One Response to Fall Color Starting Early in Southwestern Colorado

  1. Russ Locke says:

    Dave,
    I was telling my wife about you and your website last night. I find it the most interesting of any for the Southwest area of Colorado and so much of it reminds me of my youth in Durango. My dad was instrumental, along with many others, in helping clean up the Mineral Creek and Animas River drainages that were polluted from the mines. I have memories of ‘jeeping’ our way back into some of the remote mines in a 1950 Nash Ambasador! It was such a beast that I have no idea how he did it!

    Anyway your travels and photos make my day. I was intrigued by your Slanty Bridge adventure and am amazed that you undertake trails like that alone. Or used to…. I used to ride the Gunnison Country trails alone as well, long before cell phones and well out of range of our 2m repeater. I got a little carried away one day and hit a snow drift with my XR500, burying my front wheel and pitching me over the bars. It took me almost an hour to dig the wheel out of the drift before I could continue. And then I worked my way down switch backs to the name sake of Block and Tackle Trail. I f0rded the creek where it was almost up to the seat, bailing off the bike in the middle and keeping it running and upright on to the far bank. Now I was faced with a near vertical climb, the Block and Tackle spot. There was no way I could go up it and I was not about to try to cross the creek again and fight the switchbacks. So I moved downed trees and built a trail for about 200 yards around the cliff! I learned several lessons that day, none of which stayed with me very long.

    Anyway, sorry for the extended ‘reply’, look forward to meeting you one day.

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