Colorado Fall Colors 2018 - San Juan Mountains and West Elk Mountains
This fall season I ventured out to the San Juans and the West Elk Mountains with my wife this year. It was a chance to show her fall colors in Southwest Colorado, which she had never experienced, and a chance to just shoot for myself.
This year’s trip turned into a rainy trip and with us camping it probably wasn’t as enjoyable for my wife as it could have been. The colors, however, really became saturated with the overcast skies and in the periods that the rain let up it produced some amazing colors and dramatic scenes.
The trip started out great as we entered the UnCompahgre from the Cimmaron Ranches. The weather was great and colors were bursting below the Cimmaron Mountain Range and along Silver Jack Reservoir. We found a perfect dispersed camping spot among the aspens with a nice clearing for camp.
The weather the next day however turned rainy and overcast but took our time along Owl Creek Pass, then packed up camp and headed over the pass to find a spot along the Ridgway side of the range. The rain for the most part was just a light mist and just periods of heavy rain. We found some wonderful back country roads. It was nice to have the 4Runner with high ground clearance and managed to get deep into the back country and find some amazing scenes.
The forecast wasn’t much better for the next couple of days so being tired of being wet and cold we packed up camp and decided to head toward Crested Butte along Kebler Pass and get a hotel, warm shower and a good night sleep.
Kebler Pass was much of the same rain, but I did manage some wonderful images as the rain would let up along the way into Crested Butte. The fog made for some very interesting landscapes and of course the colors really saturated from all the moisture.
We found a hotel in town for the evening. We discovered a pizza place in town called Secret Stash and they serve a wonderful gluten free pie that filled our tummies for the evening. Try a pie with figs on it. It’s amazing!
The next morning we grabbed an early morning breakfast at McGill’s before most of the town was awake and decided to head out early for home. After a filling breakfast we were treated with an amazing sunrise in town and clearing clouds along the road to Gunnison down along the Gunnison River. Even caught a double rainbow!
Coming home you never know what you will see and spotted some additional color after Monarch Pass down in the valley and pulled over to capture a few images.
Though it was rainy this year, we managed I think it was a successful year for capturing images and had a great time with Reg, my best friend and companion for life.