It’s hard to believe that September is already almost over!

After a long winter this ear, summer seems to have flown by at twice its usual pace. And now we are looking forward to a wonderful season of changing colors, as the aspen begin to show sings of change.

I decided it was a perfect time to take a drive up Highway 550 to Silverton to see for myself where we are, and it is indeed beautiful!

According to the San Juan National Forest Fall Color Report, here is the status of the colors as of September 28, 2019:




Estimated Percentage of Current Fall Foliage:

  • Durango to Purgatory:  < 5%
  • Missionary Ridge:  < 1% 
  • Purgatory to Coal Bank:  < 10% 
  • Coal Bank to Molas Pass: ~40% 
  • Molas Pass to Silverton: ~60%  Silverton tends to be one of the first areas to turn colors, so the town is around -60%
  • Silverton to Red Mtn Pass:  ~60%
  • Red Mtn Pass to Ouray: ~50% 
  • Ouray to Telluride (Dallas Divide): ~30%
  • Pagosa:  <1% 
  • Dolores to Lizard Head Pass:  <15% 
  • Mancos/La Platas: ~10-20% 

Areas with Greatest Amount of Color / Recommended Viewing Areas:

  • Silverton, Red Mountains Pass into Ironton

Estimated Peak Viewing Period:  

  • Aspens have started later than last year.
  • Estimate peak 9/30-10/9. Silverton is peaking. Ironton is a couple days behind.
  • One of the first areas to hit peak is Silverton. Please remember that it varies greatly based on elevation, moisture, temperatures. Areas like Pagosa and Durango to Purgatory will peak at the later estimated dates.

Trees That Are Currently Turning Color:

  • Underbrush 
  • Scrub Oak
  • Aspens

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