Fall in the San Juans

Our family had been coming up to the San Luis Valley for many years in the Summer or at Spring Break and occasionally at Christmas to visit family and to enjoy Colorado's beautiful outdoors. But it was not until we moved here in 2003 that we were able to experience the best season of all.  In the fall the warm days and cool nights are especially enjoyable.  The short summer heat is gone, and the cold winter has not yet set in, the wind has laid down and the leaves on the aspens and cottonwoods turn to bright yellow and bronze respectively.  There is no better time to do some fishing or hiking or picnicking out in the forest.  The National Forest roads are endless in the San Juan portion of the Rocky Mountains and walking or driving through the changing colors is one of the most beautiful scenes Colorado has to offer.  You might get surprised by an early snow that blows through but doesn't last long.  You might see a bear or mountain lion or big horn sheep looking for food before snows cover the ground. You might also hear the mating call of a bull elk. No matter how you choose to do it, it is the best time of the year to spend time outdoors.  The colors usually peak near the end of September/beginning of October and a "colors tour can be a treat of a lifetime.  We usually ride from South Fork to Creed to Lake City and back and stop at North Clear Creek Falls and at the overlooks above Rio Grande Reservoir and above Lake San Cristobal.  There are lots of places along the way to stop and take pictures and to top it all off there is a great ice cream stop at the Malt Shoppe in Lake City.  Memory making at its best!