Explore the Geology of the GMUG National Forest!

photo of  East Beckwith Peak below  sketch of the Cirque

The open road beckons….take a drive along one of the scenic byways on the GMUG National Forest and learn how the dynamic geology of the area has shaped the land and settlements of western Colorado.

A Legacy of Mining

The Colorado Mountains, while bringing to mind a legacy of gold and silver mining, have also been explored for many other minerals. The remote byway of Highway 133 will lead the traveler near mountain coal mining regions as well as the historic marble quarry of the Crystal River Valley, As you travel the McClure Pass Road, learn how the settlement of the Muddy Creek and Crystal River Valleys has been shaped by the geology of the lands and the mineral wealth held within.

Geologic Road Log of McClure Pass and Vicinity along State Highway 133 - Paonia Reservoir to the town of Redstone (Gunnison and White River National Forest)

 

Only Change is Constant

Geology students learn this phrase in their first geology class. Although the world around us appears static, it is not. The forces of nature are constant and unrelenting.  As mountains are created, they begin their erosional process. Travel the road over Kebler Pass and learn how the world around us changes.

Geologic Road Log of Kebler Pass along Gunnison Country Road 12 - Erickson Springs Recreation Area  to the Town of Crested Butte (Grand Mesa, Uncomphagre and Gunnison National Forest).

 

Go Back In Time

Grand Mesa rises as a prominent landform above the Gunnison and Colorado River valleys. The lofty alpine table land appears serene but the geology is dynamic. As you drive across Grand Mesa, you will go back in time and travel across the shoreline of an ancient sea, the expanse of a vast inland lake, the heat of molten lava and the path of glacial ice.

Geologic Road Log of the Grand Mesa along State Highway 65 - the Town of Cedaredge to Powderhorn Ski Area (Grand Mesa National Forest).

 

The Lure of Gold and Silver

Ouray and Telluride are both popular Colorado outdoor vacation destinations in the San Juan Mountains, offering skiing, ice climbing, hiking and back country exploration. Both towns share a legacy of hard rock mining connected by precipitous trails accessing the ore bearing veins that shot thought the vast alpine reaches. As you drive across Imogene Pass, you will come to appreciate the insight and determination of the miners of the late 19th and early 20th centuries as they followed the lure of gold and silver amid some of the harshest conditions in Colorado.

Geologic Road Log of the Road to Imogene Pass and Upper Camp Bird along Imogene Creek from the town of Ouray to the town of Telluride.

  • Page 1. Map, how to use the log, glossary, references.
  • Page 2. First stop at Highway 550 and County Road 361 to Stop 9- Tomboy Mine.