When is the Best Time for Taking Pictures in the San Juan Mountains? You Decide!
Southwest Colorado is one of the most beautiful places in the country. Of course, I may be a little bit biased, but there are thousands of people who agree with me. Regardless of the time of year, there is something spectacular to be seen wherever you look. From abundant wildlife to breathtaking views, it is difficult to say what might be the best.
Winter in Ouray boasts a peaceful serenity. Snow falls for perhaps a day or so, then the sun returns, shining brightly on the snow blanketed mountains and town. A sense of timelessness prevails, and the opportunities to capture this feeling abound. Walk to the Box Canyon Falls, or the Ouray Ice Park to capture images of the Uncompahgre Gorge; ice lines the sides of the canyon, and prisms of color glint in the crisp winter air. Ice climbers traverse the terrain in a spectacle of silent activity. From images of deer and elk grazing at the park, to the rainbow of colors in a frozen waterfall, there may not be enough memory in your camera!
Springtime in the Uncompahgres is a season of renewal and beauty. As the snow begins to thaw in the high country, seasonal waterfalls can be found virtually everywhere. The weather begins to warm and the world turns green and fresh. Wildflowers begin to blossom, and soon will envelope entire valleys in a spectrum of colors that must be seen to be believed. Yankee Boy Basin is one of the most popular areas for wildflower viewing and photography. Just a short drive from Ouray, yet worlds away, this valley has a little of everything. The Twin Falls are surrounded by shades of green with interspersing yellows, purples and reds from the flowers dotting the rivers edge. Between hills overflowing with color to the waterfall, this place is truly a photographers dream.
Summertime brings opportunities for exploration! As the four-wheel drive trails open, photographers are able to venture deep into the high country. The panoramic views above timberline give the impression of eternity. Explore old mines and ghost towns, capturing a taste of life in the early years in Southwest Colorado, as hardy settlers tamed the mountain. Marvel at the dramatic scenery as you travel over Imogene Pass, open only a few months out of the year, as the trail takes you from Ouray at 7500 feet to a peak of 13,000 feet before dropping back to 8,000 feet in Telluride. The variety of scenery, wildlife and history are sure to please any photographer.
Fall begins usually in mid to late September, and as the leaves change color, the entire landscape becomes a pallette of red and gold many a painter has tried to recreate. Drive The Million Dollar Highway from Ouray to Durango, hardly need to get out of the car to fill a memory card with images leaving you hungry for more. The Last Dollar Road travels from Dallas Divide, just outside of Ridgway to Telluride, and is one of the most beautiful drives at the peak of Fall Colors. Parts of the road travel through a grove of aspen; at certain times of the day, as the sunlight filters through the trees, with random leaves floating down from the heights, words cannot describe the surreal beauty.
It is difficult to settle on one specific time of year for capturing the beauty and majesty of the San Juans. Each season holds her own appeal, and it is up to you, the individual, to decide what you most desire. Once that decision has been made, book your next visit with us at the Box Canyon Lodge & Hot Springs, and Ouray will take care of the rest!