The Majestic Color Season Begins in the San Juan

The wood vine is one of the earliest high country plants to change color. Our vine is bright red and is a predictor of things to come in the next few weeks. Artist, photographers and nature lovers find their way to The San Juan Mountains for the beauty and inspiration. Join us in early October for this magic display of nature.

Return to The Journal often as we cover the color change with tips, maps, locations and our prediction for “primetime” colors.

003Scenic visitors be aware, there are armed hunters in the woods and you need to take precautions.  It is safer to hike in the noon to afternoon hours. It is a good idea to stop by a sporting goods shop and purchase an inexpensive orange vest. If there are hunters at the trailhead or along the trail introduce yourselves and make them aware of your hiking plans.

When driving the back-roads remember there is going to be heavy traffic as both scenery viewers and hunters move about. Watch for ATV riders on the roads and keep an eye in the rear view mirror view.

Go to The Weather for full fall foliage and weather needs.

Come to Pagosa for “America Most Beautiful’

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These two photos taken just south of Pagosa on Light Plant Rd.
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Fall Color Up-date,  The colors are just beginning to change here in Pagosa Country.  Watch for updates and the best roads and trails to see the beauty of Pagosa Country in autumn.

Photos shown here are from past seasons.

Primetime Prediction

The duration of primetime is anybody’s guess as there are so many factors involved. Generally the last of September and  October are  good for color lovers, with opportunities fading toward the end of the month. We will cover the color change here and make our best prediction for “primetime.”


These photos display how aspen grow in clones



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Aspen grow in clones with an interconnected root system. When the colors change these clones often turn color at the same time and different from other clones. These photos show one such clone in the mountains north of town. The already yellow clone is surrounded by another clone that is still green. The second photo isolates the clone in the red dots.


A wonderful drive for cottonwood, oak and lower elevation brush is Trujillo Road. Start in town at Eighth Street (at Sisson Library) and drive south out of town along the San Juan River. This long and pleasant drive meanders with the river, passes the northeastern tip of Navajo Lake and connects with HWY 151. Return north on 151 to Chimney Rock and HWY 160. Don’t miss one particularly nice view of the San Juan Valley with the old train bridge still crossing the river. There is a pull-out on the road giving a nice view north of this scene.

Preview of Pagosa’s Fall Colors

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All photos taken from forest access roads

See downtown Pagosa during fall 

See article on aspen, a hiking / driving  map 

Squaretop in the distance from Buckles Road

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Pagosa Springs is uniquely located in the high mountains while being on the edge between mountains and high mesa country to the south. This shot from Mill Creek Road looks south.

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One Response to The Majestic Color Season Begins in the San Juan

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