Oct 01 2013

Color Sunday: The Colors Happened Late This Year

Telluride Hiking

This Sunday in San Miguel County is Color Sunday.  It’s projected to be the peak of the leaf-changing season in the Telluride area.

The colors happened late this year. The Blues and Brews crowd usually gets the glory of the golden leaves during festival weekend. So as early September usually marks the highlight of the aspens in their golden brilliance, Telluride had to wait on the leaves to change this year. It happened slowly.

Some people say the late color change in leaves is due to the heavy amount of rain the Western Slope received in 2013. Longtime local Bruce Easterbrooks had this to say: “The monsoon lasted two to three weeks- maybe even a month- longer than normal. It appeared to never end, but now it’s finally over.” Easterbrooks and others are thankful for that. Locals are ready for their Indian summer, biking season, and fall hikes through the changing aspen leaves.

Other people also notice that temperatures have not been as cold overnight. This is likely also responsible for the late change in the aspen colors. Some Telluride homeowners have still had flowers in their front yards, and the landscape garden boxes on the main street have still housed blooms of fresh plants. That’s hard to believe as October sneaks up on San Miguel County.

What will locals and tourists to do in honor of Color Sunday? Everything they always do this time of year.

This weekend marks the perfect time to get in the car and go for a drive. Highway 145 South should be incredible. The stretch from Telluride down to Delores through Rico and Stoner should enchant travelers as the “quakies” glimmer in the golden sun. Heading to Ouray for the hot springs would also serve as a nice car trip and way to view the leaves.

Telluride hikers can be sure their favorite trails will be lit up and likely covered in shades of gold.

And the mountain biking community simply treasures fall in the San Juans. Many locals really enjoy being on their bikes in fall scenery and weather, with the warm sun on their faces, and yellow leaves shimmering on all sides of them as they make their climbs and race downhill.

For more stationary views of the leaves, try happy hour or even dinner at Allred’s at the top of the Gondola. With stunning images of Ajax, Ingram Falls, and Tomboy Road, the evening sun and alpenglow can make for a magical moment.

The River Trail is another way to see the colors in Telluride, and one that locals forget about if they’re too busy. From Carhenge parking lot or even Mahoney Street on the West End, families with children can easily navigate the rolling hills of the River Trail as it passes over the San Miguel River and the Telluride Town Park.

While all seasons are sacred in these parts, there is something remarkable about fall. Autumn in Telluride is the picture that artists from other parts of the world come to town to paint. And, this Sunday is the day to take those colors in.



Eleanor Bookstaff Author

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