Scenic USA - Colorado

Scenic USA offers a collection of select photographs from a wide variety of historic sites, points of interest, and a large
sampling of America's parklands. Each photo feature is coupled with a brief explanation.
For further detailed information, links to other related sites are provided, but in no means should they be considered an endorsement.


Rio Grande National Forest

Rio Grande National Forest - Colorado

Photo by Marilyn Porter
Marilyn's PBase Gallery

     Approaching two million acres, the Rio Grande National Forest is often described as one of Colorado's unheralded gems. Here in the south-central section of the state, the forest's eastern border roughly follows the stately Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range. Its craggy peaks reach well beyond the clouds, with some topping 14,000 feet. In the west, the Continental Divide marks the border. High among the San Juan Mountains, the Rio Grande River begins its 1800 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. In between these two majestic mountain ranges lies the San Luis Valley, one of the largest alpine valleys in the world.
     In this high elevation setting, summer arrives late in the year. Snow lingers on the north facing mountain slopes well into July. In no time at all, the air begins to cool from the warm days of August. By early September, crisp mountain air and patchy frost begin to turn the aspen forests into vibrant shades of gold. One of America's most beautiful autumn sights is this gilded display in the Rio Grande Forest.
     Predicting when the fall colors will reach their peak is nearly impossible, but the ideal time to view the Rio Grande Forest usually begins the second week in September. Colors may peak in the Creede area by the third week and the remainder of the national forest sometimes lingers into October. Without a significant frost, color maybe patchy, but somewhere in south-central Colorado your fall-color pilgrimage will pay off.



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