Posted by: Sandy Steinman | October 1, 2012

Rocky Mt. Fall Color Updated 10/1/12

Fall Color is changing fast in the Rockies. Many areas peaking, some even past peak. Here are excerpts from new reports at Rocky Mt. Nature Photographers Fall Color thread (includes fall color from Colorado, New Mexico and Utah)

9/30/12 Lockett meadow near flagstaff, ….the leaves are peaking right now and from my observations the trees closest to the inner basin are beginning to fall quick. However, if your swinging through the lower aspens should be burning with color. …..the lower grove of aspens that appear slightly yellow/lime are now all completely gold.

9/29/12 Hamilton Mesa in the Pecos Wilderness (New Mexico): some good color, but the upper Pecos has a ways to go. I’d say it’s around 30% in the aspens. The riparian trees and oaks in the Pecos canyon were looking very nice.

9/29/12 Highway 7 (Peak to Peak Hwy) between Nederland and Estes Park has just past its peak a few days ago. There’s still some good color but it won’t last long.

9/28/12 Cuchara Pass area will peak this weekend. Some areas area already past peak, some not quite, but the vast majority is peaking right now.

9/28/12 Pretty much everything in the Telluride area is around peak… Fall Creek, Wilson Mesa, Last Dollar, etc. All looking really great!   Yesterday it looked like the mountains around here had quite a bit of snow on the higher peaks, but now it’s totally sunny so it might not last long…

A very extensive report from Mountain Sky Photography:

September 26th:
Redstone, cottonwoods peak, aspens 50%
McClure pass, east side 60%, west side 50%
Marcellina Mountain, 50-60%
West Beckwith, 50%
East Beckwith, peak
Lost Lake Slough, Peak but very low water levels
Dollar Lake, Past Peak
Beautiful snow capped mountains everywhere, hike 3 Lakes trail in rain/snowstorm

September 27th:
Some snow melted overnight
East Beckwith Beaver Pond View, peak
The Dyke, 90%
The most orange and red aspens I’ve seen on CR-12
Kebler Pass, west side peak, east side past peak
Ohio Pass, peak
CR-737, 70%
Gunnison, cottonwoods are peak
Big Cimarron Rd, 80%
Silver Jack Reservoir, peak or slightly past
Jackson Station, slightly past peak
Pinnacle Ridge, slightly past peak
Owl Creek Pass, 85%
Cimarron ridge, 40%
Vista Point view of Chimney Rock, Courthouse and Turret Ridge 20%

September 28th:
CR-7 near Ridgway, it’s a mixed bag, most of the brush is still
changing, aspens are about 80% with some large stands already bare,
great snow on Sneffels and the surrounding peaks
Private Pond on CR-7, background aspens peak with snow on the
mountains and good foreground wildflowers
Double RL Ranch view near CR-9, aspens mixed with mostly yellow and
some bare/green, cottonwoods just starting to change
Dallas Divide Pullout view, brush 50%, aspens 70% with some bare, good
snow on the peaks
Last Dollar Road, near Dallas Divide 50%, approaching top from north
50-70%, view looking south from top slightly past peak but still some
green, forest near scree fields is peak but undergrowth is still
pretty clean
Airport Rd in Telluride, 70%
Telluride, almost peak
Bridal Veil Falls, peak
Mesa north of Delta, 60-80%
McClure Pass, west side 55%, east side 70% with a few bare patches

 9/30/12 Central Utah

Maple Canyon is in fine form, and at 40-50%. Next weekend will probably be peak.

The Mount Nebo Scenic Loop Road shows decent maples at the lower elevations, but many are pale in color. Not nearly as vivid as a good year. Surprisingly, many aspens at the higher elevations are still green. I’d estimate about 30% are still green. Again, next weekend will likely be peak with the following weekend possible for some late-stage work.

The Alpine Loop behind Timpanogos is similar to the Mount Nebo loop: good maples down lower, but the aspens up high surprisingly green compared to where I’d expect them.

The Fairview/Huntington road (UT 31) over the Wasatch Plateau is at peak. Still some green around the edges and at middle elevations, but plenty of aspens at the top have started dropping already. Probably only of interest to the locals, though… Maples at the western base of the Plateau along highway 89 are past peak, but there’s still color to be found, and even still some green in some individual trees.

My guess at this point is that Zion will turn about the normal time, but I haven’t been down there yet this season.

To see photos and more reports go to Rocky Mt. Nature Photographers Fall Color and Mountain Sky Photography


  1. […] Rocky Mt. Fall Color Updated 10/1/12 ( 0.000000 0.000000 To Share Click on:ShareLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. […]


  2. Thanks for the share, my last big update for the season is on my blog now.


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