Ouray Colorado Vacation Guide and Trip Planning Information for SW Colorado

Southwest Colorado Fall Foliage Scenic Drives 2011

Posted by Karen Avery on Sun, Sep 11, 2011 @06:02 PM

Current Status of Southwest Colorado Fall Foliage Near Ouray

The San Juan Skyway is an incredible Colorado Fall Foliage tour and typically drivers enjoy spectacular fall foliage from the middle of September until the middle of October.  Aspen trees, glistening in bright yellow flank the roadway for most of the route. Pastoral ranchland with large baled hay, incredible fencelines and scrub oak add to the pristine appearance of the majority of this Scenic Drive.

For information on great Colorado Fall Foliage Scenic Drives and photos check out these other articles:

October 2, 2011
Fall foliage in SW Colorado is getting close to peaking but there is still so much left to change.  As long as the weather holds, fall will go on for another couple of weeks, especially if you keep to lower elevations.
Ouray County Rd. 9 - 40% yellow with tons of green leaves
box factory park ouray county small
Ouray County Rd. 14A - 50% yellow with tons of green leaves
cutler creek fall foliage small
Owl Creek Pass area - 50% yellow with tons of green
Million Dollar Highway south of Ouray - Nearly all yellow
Pictures from this weekend are posted on our Facebook page and on Picasa Web Albums:
September 25, 2011
Drove south on the Million Dollar Highway (US 550) and detoured on Ouray County Rd 31 (4WD only) into Red Mountain Mining District (east side of the highway, higher up the mountain side but sharing the same foliage and views).  The foliage along this section of Red Mountain pass is stunning right now.
  • Million Dollar Highway between Ouray and Silverton (40% changed), 
  • Ophir Pass-4WD Road (between Silverton and Telluride, 20% changed - will peak next weekend), 
  • Dallas Divide (between Ridgway and Telluride, 10%, will be beautiful 1st week in October).
Overlooking the Yankee Girl Headframe in Red Mountain Mining District 8-10 miles south of Ouray on US 550
along san juan skyway small
US 550 8 miles south of Ouray
colorado scenic fall foliage drive small
About 2 miles from US 550 off of Ouray County Rd 31 (4WD necessary) overlooking the Guston Mine relics
guston mine ruins near ouray colorado small
US 550 (San Juan Skyway) between Ouray and Silverton
silverton san juan skyway small
If you would like to see more pictures in the loop that included Ophir Pass (4WD road), please see our facebook photo album.

September 22, 2011
The fall foliage in Southwest Colorado is finally starting to change along the Million Dollar Highway between Ouray and Silverton.  Near Ironton, it won't peak for several days.  Here are some pictures taken today between Ouray and the Summit of Red Mountain Pass.
between ouray and silverton fall foliage
red mountain pass fall foliage
ironton fall foliage southwest colorado
south of ouray colorado fall foliage

September 19, 2011

The fall foliage on Owl Creek Pass near the Cimarron Mountains still had not begun to turn.  Owl Creek Pass is slightly higher than 10,000 ft. and about 14 miles east of Ridgway in Ouray County.  We did find some signs of blight but, for the most part, the trees looked healthy.  They just are a little late just like our summer flowers were in the San Juan high country.


Owl Creek Pass Sign

September 11, 2011

The fall foliage between Ouray, Ridgway and Telluride has not really begun to change.   Along the San Juan Skyway between these two incredibly scenic towns aspen red rock canyons and aspen trees provide beautiful scenery and grand vistas especially in the fall.  In 2011, the summer started a bit late and the fall seems to be following suit.

The Dallas Divide was still green, aspens along Colorado 145 between Placerville and Telluride were still green.  The only place where we detected any change in color was just beyond Mountain Village on the way to Ophir but nearly all the trees were green.  Here are some photos:

Forest Service Road to Alta Lakes - Just the smallest little bit of leaf change and practically not noticeable.


aspens near telluride alta lakes

colorado fall foliage


Looking towards Mt. Wilson from the Scenic Overlook just before Ophir - These mountain vistas are covered with aspen trees and beautiful green coniferous trees and everything is  perfectly green!  Fall is approaching but it is a seemingly a late season this year.

telluride aspen trees




mt wilson telluride aspen trees

If you love photography, it isn't too late to sign up for a professional course taking place in about three weeks.  You won't believe your eyes!


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Tags: fall foliage, photography in ouray, scenic drives, fall colors