August 21, 2017

Fall Color tours around Creede and SW Colorado

Every fall people hit the roads in Colorado to find the "best" fall colors. Once quiet highways are filled with slow moving vehicles taking in the gold, red, and orange of the aspen trees. Surprisingly, Creede and Highway 149 are relatively uncrowded, despite large vistas of aspen groves. If you are making your way to our neck of the woods in the fall, I highly suggest making a detour up the Silver Thread highway. Here are a few of my favorite places and ways to see fall colors in our area. All of these places can be accessed with a 2wd, low clearance vehicle.

Drive from Creede to Lake City on Highway 149
This drive takes about 1 hour and winds its way along the Rio Grande valley and then up to Slumgullion Pass. From the valley floor you can see aspen groves on both sides - in the San Juan mountain range and the La Garita mountain range. After the wildfires of 2013, small aspens are growing up from the burnt ground and each year are becoming more brilliant.

Drive Pool Table Road
Pool Table Road is located between Creede and South Fork, taking you up a well-maintained dirt road into the La Garita mountains. You will see aspen trees all along the way, as well as vistas of the San Juans. Stop at Hanson's Mill and hike the trail towards Wheeler Geological Area under groves of aspen, pine and spruce.

Hike or Bike Middle Rat Road
A local favorite, Middle Rat Road is just a 10 minute drive from Creede, off the Bachelor Loop. There is no trailhead sign, so you will need to ask for specific directions from a resident. Middle Rat Road is an old forest service road that is fairly flat and a great hike for families, the elderly or those looking for an easy stroll. You walk through aspen and about a half mile in will get a great view of the Rio Grande valley and San Juan mountains. About 2 miles in, the road is washed out and the view of the forest from here is spectacular.

Hike the Hobbit Trail
Another local favorite, the Hobbit Trail takes you to the top of a ridge between East Willow and West Willow canyons, just north of Creede. It is an old mining trail used to access the mines from the top down. The views are breathtaking, but only go if you don't mind the heights. It is about 4 miles RT, but you can get good views about 1 mile in.

Drive Wolf Creek Pass
This is the most well-known drive in the area, so do not expect to find solitude. But the crowds are worth it. The views looking west from the pass could not be more picturesque.

If you need directions or more suggestions, feel free to contact us at Windsock Acres any time! Happy trails to you!