Colorado Wildflower Update 2011: Southwest Colorado Between Telluride & Ouray
During a Colorado vacation in the San Juan Mountains, don't miss the wildflowers that start blooming in June and complete their cycle by the end of August. Hunting for them is most of the fun. As of July 5, 2011, there are fantastic fields of wildflowers on Last Dollar Road.
Access Last Dollar Road off of Colorado Highway 62, about 12 miles west of Ridgway, just beyond the summit of the Dallas Divide, in Southwest Colorado. The road is a forest service road and there is a brown sign very close to the turnoff. It is closed seasonally but summer is a perfect time to check it out!
The road itself from this approach is very doable in a 2 wheel drive car for a few miles (until you cross the creek) even though it is a dirt road. After the creek, it is a very easy 4WD vehicle when it is dry; if it gets wet, it could be very rutted and difficult to maneuver.
The lupine and sunflowers are absolutely wonderful right now! Some paintbrush are out as well as the wild roses and in some wetter spots, there are some Queen Anne's Lace. If you take the road all the way to Telluride, you will see some free range cattle and sheep along the way. We also ran into a young buck. I thought the best part of the road for flowers was before the creek crossing; after the creek crossing there were lovely spots, just not as dramatic at this point. Photos were taken July 5, 2011.
As of July 5, 2011: