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Hiking In Sedona: What You Should Know

To get you prepped for your hike in Sedona, we’ve compiled advice into a detailed guide on what to expect when going for a hike in Sedona.

Snowshoeing in Durango: Our 7 Favorite Trails

Snowshoeing in Durango, Colorado this season? Here’s a few of our favorite snowshoeing trails for your next Microadventure in Durango!

Our 10 Favorite Places to Hike in Tucson, AZ

As you’re planning you Tucson, Arizona trip, here are our 10 favorite places to hike with trails around Tucson.

Snowshoeing in Boulder: Our 7 Favorite Trails

Snowshoeing in Boulder, CO this Winter? We’ve compiled a list of our favorite snowshoeing trails to explore in and around the Boulder area.

5 Best Portable Induction Cookers For RVs and Vans

To aid you in your next Microdventure, we have compiled a list of the 5 best portable Induction Cookers for your RV or van.

Our 10 Favorite Family-Friendly Hikes in the Grand Canyon

If you’re considering hiking with your family in the Grand Canyon, here are our 10 favorite family-friendly hiking trails.

What is Car Camping?

Trying to figure out what car camping is and why so many people are doing it? Here we define car camping for you in a simple way.

Car Camping Packing List for Your Microadventure

To aid in getting you set for your next car camping trip, here’s a list of essential and luxury things to pack.

Payson, AZ Free Dispersed Camping Areas

In order to help you narrow down where to camp, here’s a list of our favorite free, dispersed camping spots and areas around Payson, Arizona.

Flagstaff Free Dispersed Camping Map

To help make a decision on where to camp around Flagstaff, AZ, here’s a map of our favorite free, dispersed camping areas and spots.

Our 10 Favorite Hiking Trails in Flagstaff

Looking to go hiking in Flagstaff? Here’s a brief list of our favorite hikes and hiking trails in Flagstaff, Arizona.

A Guide to Camping in Sedona

The famous Red Rock Country city that is Sedona, Arizona. For those who haven’t visited, Sedona is a mecca for Microadventures. With miles of hiking and biking trails, climbing, and towering red sandstone views, you could spend a lifetime exploring Sedona and not see...

Sedona Free Dispersed Camping and Campgrounds Map

Trying to figure out where to camp around Sedona, AZ? We built a map of our favorite established campgrounds and dispersed camping areas.

Our 10 Favorite Hiking Trails in Sedona

With over 200 miles of trails, there’s a lot to choose from in Sedona, Arizona! Here’s a brief list of our favorite hikes in Sedona.

FAQS for Grand Canyon Rim to Rim

We’ve compiled a blog answering some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding the Rim to Rim hike in the Grand Canyon.

Fall in Southwestern Colorado: Top 3 Spots in 2019

The Best Places to Be in Southwestern Colorado This Fall

My favorite time of year. The cool crisp air, the vibrant colors, and the anticipation of winter fill the heart with joy each year. No matter where you go in the US, fall is sure to please. I’ve spent fall in numerous states and climates over the years, photographing the change of season along the way. There is one region of the country that is like no other and continues to capture my attention and causes my jaw to drop: southwestern Colorado.

Each year as I fill up my calendar with my must-visit locations, the San Juan Mountains that border nearby Ouray, Silverton, Telluride, and Durango are slated in as my annual fall colors trip to capture the season through the lens of my wide-angle lens. In my opinion, the San Juan Mountains region should be on the top of your travel list to embrace the fall colors.




Besides the obvious grand-vista views of jagged, snow-covered mountains that jet into the blue-sky, the curved two-lane country roads lined with golden aspens is so picturesque it often looks unreal. Here are my top three spots to view the colors in southwestern Colorado:

 

#3: Rest Areas in-between Ridgeway and Telluride

Fortunately, along the way to any city of town in southwestern Colorado most of the time you are “forced” to travel along Highway 145 and 62 that snakes along the San Juan Mountain range between Cortez and Ridgeway at each end of the trip. There are actually two ways to get to Cortez and Ridgeway: Highway 145 and the Million Dollar Highway or US550 (described in better detail as #2).

If heading north on Highway 145, the route takes you on a mountain pass that drives through or nearby several mining towns as well as Telluride (better described in better detail as #1), once you make the right onto Highway 62 to head to Ridgeway, be on the look-out for rest areas and scenic overlooks in about 30 minutes- you won’t be disappointed. Panoramic views of the San Juan Mountains with herding fields and ranches in the foreground await. If heading south on Highway 62 from Ridgeway towards Highway 145, you should start seeing the scenic overlooks in about 15 minutes.

 

The San Juan Mountains from a distance- near Ridgeway, Colorado

The San Juan Mountains from a distance- near Ridgeway, Colorado.




 

#2: Million Dollar Highway (US550) north of Silverton

The other route towards Ridgeway on one end and eventually Cortez on the other, takes you on the infamous Million Dollar Highway. For the longest time, information and directions about the famed highway was kept unwraps and somewhat ambiguous on the internet. Now, the cat’s out of the bag and it is an epic way to view the fall colors. Less of a scenic drive with casual strolls than the other two locations mentioned in this blog, the Million Dollar Highway is a “white knuckle” drive up and over the San Juan Mountains topping off at 10,000 feet just south of Silverton. Along the hour ride you will be greeted with views of numerous peaks, including several 14ers, valleys cut by raging rivers, and some of the most epic aspen forests in Colorado.



While there are plenty of places to pull over (if you dare), often times there are in inconvenient areas that harbor legitimate concern of having your car tumble off a cliff. I advice caution while traveling this route and under no circumstance, chance the ride with snow or icy conditions in the forecast. Assuming you have a great weather window, this could be the ride of your life and your new favorite outing to view the fall colors.

 

Fall on the Million Dollar Highway just north of Durango but south of Silverton

Fall on the Million Dollar Highway just north of Durango but south of Silverton.

 

#1: Lizard Head Pass, near Telluride

At the top of the list, Lizard Head Pass just south of Telluride near the small mining town of Ophir. Technically Lizard Head Pass is the mountain pass that goes up a portion of the San Juan Mountain range so be prepared to test out those high-mountain driving skills. As you snake around, ascend, and descend up and over the pass, you will be greeted with some of the most beautiful peaks in the country. The vistas are straight out of a Colorado brochure- groves of aspens, a large reflective lake, and mountains that reach the heavens. The pinnacle of the views is the trailhead for a nearby trail called “Galloping Goose,” as well as, Trout Lake. Both stops overlook the Matterhorn, a 13,000+ peak that may inspire you to pick up mountaineering as a hobby. On the other side of the road, you can catch a glimpse of three 14ers, Wilson Peak, Mt. Wilson, and El Diente as well as the prominent geologic feature “The Lizard Head,” a block of rock that resembles a giant salamander.

 

The "Wilson Group" right outside of Telluride

The “Wilson Group” right outside of Telluride.

 

If you only have time to stop for the occasional picture, stop in two places, near the crossing arm and “10,000 feet” elevation sign for the pass right near the turnoff for Trout Lake and the overlook view at the top of the hill, just north of the turnoff for Ophir.

If you happen to have a little more time, pick a trail at the Lizard Head Pass trailhead and get hoofing. You should be able to get on top of the ridgeline for a 360-view of the mountains and fall colors within an hour of leaving the trailhead.
This area is truly a magical place to enjoy the change of seasons- one that is so good, I visit every year.

As a travel photographer, I have visited some amazing parts of the country to view the change of seasons. No area in the country tops southwestern Colorado for viewing the fall colors. So pack your bags, your camera or smartphone lenses, and take a trip to visit “Colorful Colorado” this fall.



Nick The Rambling Man
Nick The Rambling Man

Nick is the owner and regular content writer for Southwest Microadventures. When he’s not writing, you can find him rock climbing, peak bagging, mountain biking, backpacking, or drinking strong coffee.

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