With prime autumn colors just around the corner, it’s time to plan some day trips to take in the wonder of the season.
The area from Coal Bank Pass to Molas Pass will offer the greatest amount of color this weekend, according to the San Juan National Forest. Currently, the Forest Service says aspen and some high-elevation bushes are changing color. The next two weekends should be the best for colors in the central San Juans. As of Wednesday, the greatest percentage of color change was between Silverton and Red Mountain Pass, at 55 to 80 percent. Dolores to Lizard Head Pass was at 10 percent. Mancos/La Platas also were at 10 percent.
The Forest Service updates its fall color report frequently. To see what areas are turning, recommended viewing areas and peak periods, visit http://bit.ly/2y6UXnG.
Weather is expected to be clear this weekend, and the Forest Service recommends motorists pull over to take photographs rather than drive slowly and impede traffic on mountain roads.
During spring and summer, leaves contain chlorophyll, which absorbs energy from the sun and gives leaves their green color. In fall, leaves stop producing as much chlorophyll as days shorten, and that unmasks the leaves’ other colors, yellows and oranges, which are hidden by nutrient-producing chlorophyll.
The Smoky Mountains tourism website has an interactive fall foliage prediction map for the entire U.S. Readers can drag a slider to see predicted foliage changes across the country between now and Oct. 29. To see the map, visit http://bit.ly/2ajKLOB.
The Journal wants to see your fall foliage photos. You can email your photos to email@example.com. In the subject line, enter “Montezuma Colors.” Tell us when and where you took the photo. We might use it in a photo gallery that we will post on our website.