Fall colors arrive early in Southwest Colorado

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Fall colors arrive early in Southwest Colorado

Leaves in high country appear to be peaking this weekend
John Simons, left, and Jim Gates enjoy a beautiful Thursday afternoon riding Old Lime Creek Road north of Durango. Fall colors are reaching their peak this weekend in the high country around Southwest Colorado.
Color report

Trees change color in different areas at different rates. Here is a list of how much of the forest in different places around the San Juan National Forest have changed to yellow, orange or red as of Sept. 19:

Durango to Purgatory: 50 percent

Missionary Ridge: 60 percent

Molas Pass/Coal Bank: 85 percent

Silverton/Red Mountain Pass: 75 percent

Pagosa Springs: 25 percent

Dolores to Lizard Head Pass: 30 percent

Mancos/La Plata Mountains: 20 percent

Ouray to Telluride: 20 percent

Source: U.S. Forest Service

Fall colors arrive early in Southwest Colorado

John Simons, left, and Jim Gates enjoy a beautiful Thursday afternoon riding Old Lime Creek Road north of Durango. Fall colors are reaching their peak this weekend in the high country around Southwest Colorado.

Fall colors arrive early in Southwest Colorado

An aspen leaf backlit by the sun on Old Lime Creek Road on Thursday north of Durango. When leaves stop photosynthesizing, the chlorophyll in them stops absorbing all the light, which reduces the green hue the plants reflect, leaving only the carotenoids in the leaves that reflect yellow, orange and red colors.

Fall colors arrive early in Southwest Colorado

Aspen trees are displaying their fall colors Thursday on Old Lime Creek Road north of Durango. The Durango Area Tourism Office offers several hikes, drives and bike rides to view the colors.

Fall colors arrive early in Southwest Colorado

Aspens turning colors Thursday on Old Lime Creek Road north of Durango.
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