With the prime autumn color change just around the corner, it’s time to plan some day trips to take in the wonder of the season.
Coal Bank Pass to Molas Pass is listed as the area with the greatest amount of color for the weekend by the San Juan National Forest. Currently, the San Juan National Forest says aspen and some high-elevation bushes are changing color. It says the next two weekends should be the best targets in the central San Juans. As of Sept. 13, the greatest percentage of color change is between Silverton and Red Mountain Pass, at 35 to 70 percent.
The Forest Service updates its fall color report frequently. To see what area is turning, recommended viewing areas and peak periods, visit its website at http://bit.ly/2y6UXnG.
Weather is expected to be clear this weekend, and the Forest Service recommends you pull over to take photographs rather than driving slowly and impeding traffic on winding mountain roads.
During spring and summer leaves contain chlorophyll, which absorbs energy from the sun and gives them 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 masked by nutrient-producing chlorophyll.
If you want to see color change maps and predictions across the country, Smoky Mountains tourism website has an interactive fall foliage prediction map. Using a slider, you can drag it to see predicated foliage changes across the country between now and Oct. 29. To see the map, visit http://bit.ly/2ajKLOB.
The Durango Herald wants to see your fall foliage photos. If you’re on Instagram, use the hashtag #laplatacolors and tag us. If we see a great photo, we will repost it on our Instagram account: @durango_herald. Or, you can email your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the subject line, enter “La Plata Colors.” Tell use when and where you took the photo. We might use it in a photo gallery we will post on our website.