Early Autumn Colors on Weston Pass
This is just a quick update on the status of Fall colors here in Colorado, at least where I've been or heard from others about this past weekend. Of course, by the time you read this, it will have already been 1-2 days since the time of this report, so things could have already changed somewhat; such is the tenuous nature of Autumn...
Where I personally traveled this past weekend was through the Tarryall area, over Boreas Pass from Park County to Summit County, Park County south/west of Fairplay, and lastly over Kenosha Pass. I also received reports of the conditions down in the San Juans. So here's the skinny:
Tarryall: It depends which section you hit. The southern half of Tarryall Road is probably about a week-and-a-half away from peak, with some isolated spots hitting a nice, golden yellow already, but the northern half is almost completely green yet, probably at least two weeks off.
Boreas Pass: Boreas Pass overall is probably about a week to week-and-a-half off. However, there were actually a handful of spots where it looked like the peak had already come and gone, as the leaves were already dead and off the trees! This was the exception, though, not the rule, and you should probably have some nice views and photographic opportunities over the next couple of weekends.
Park County, between Fairplay and Buffalo Peaks Wilderness Area: Park County, between Hwy 285 and the Mosquito Range and between Fairplay and the Buffalo Peaks, is probably right about a week off; in some areas, perhaps more like a week and half. I traveled the back roads back along Brown's, Breakneck, and Weston Passes, and things are moving along, but not quite peak yet. The picture at the top of this post was taking on Weston Pass, right next to Weston Pass Campground. You can see the colors are coming along, but not lighting the frame a-flame yet. Next weekend will probably be another story, though. I'll try to get a couple other pics up in the next couple days so you can see more of what I'm talking about.
San Juan Mountains: I didn't venture to the San Juans myself yet this past weekend, but I have a couple friends who did. In fact, I was going to travel down there to shoot until a friend of mine, who was down there in advance, advised me not to bother making the long trip, as it just wasn't worth yet. Based on what my friends said, and pics I've seen of theirs since, the area on Red Mountain Pass is looking really good right now, but that's about it; most areas are still pretty green. It might even be almost two weeks yet before true peak color is reached. That said, you'll probably still get a decent enough show if this coming weekend is the only weekend you have to go down there.
Kenosha Pass: This was the biggest surprise for me. I don't normally drive home from Fairplay over Kenosha Pass, as it's a much longer route, but I did last night just to scout the situation for you fine folks. :) This area is actually the furthest along in Fall colors! Usually you'd expect the higher altitude areas to change first, but Kenosha is beating them all this year. The lower slopes on the western side are still really green, but that's not usually the target area anyway. The summit area and pretty much the whole eastern side of the pass, though, is pretty close to peak, probably inside of a week. I'd say if you wait more than a week to hit it, you'll miss the peak.
Other parts of Colorado, like Rocky Mountain National Park/Estes Park, Poudre Canyon, Steamboat Springs, etc., I can't comment on, as I haven't been there recently myself and don't have any direct reports yet. Here along the Front Range, it's still looking pretty early yet, probably a couple weeks off.