San Juan National Forest Fall Color Report 2022

2021 Fall Contest Winner M Roper

2021 Winners of San Juan National Forest Fall Colors Photo Contest

2021 Fall Contest Winner Collage

Estimated Peak Viewing Period

"Generally, fall colors begin with golden yellow quaking aspen at the highest elevations and narrow leaf cottonwoods in low-lying cold areas as early as late August. But aspens, which put on fall’s brightest show and account for 20% of Colorado’s forests, usually peak near the end of September to early October, which is typically a few weeks later than trees in most of the rest of the state." - SJNF Forester, Matt Tuten

Over the past several years, the colors in the San Juan Mountains tend to start mid-September near Silverton and finish up early to mid-October around Pagosa Springs, Purgatory and Dolores.

The Fall Foliage Prediction Map is a great tool for estimating when fall colors will peak nation-wide. 

Estimate of Current Fall Foliage 

Updated: Sept. 27, 2022

Fall Colors Key

San Juan Skyway

  • Durango to Purgatory: Minimal to Patchy
  • Purgatory to Coal Bank: Patchy to Partial
  • Coal Bank to Molas Pass: Partial to Near Peak
  • Molas Pass to Silverton: Near Peak
  • Silverton area: Peak
  • Silverton to Red Mtn Pass: Peak
  • Red Mtn Pass to Ouray: Near Peak
  • Mancos Area: Patchy
  • Dolores to Rico: Patchy
  • Rico to Telluride: Patchy
  • Telluride to Ouray (Dallas Divide): Patchy

Other Areas 

  • Pagosa Springs: Minimal to Patchy
  • Missionary Ridge: Patchy
  • La Plata Canyon: Minimal

Areas with Greatest Amount of Color / Recommended Viewing Areas

Autumn has begun! Silverton area has changed rapidly over the past week and is now at peak! Molas Pass to Red Mountain Pass to Ouray are all near peak - all stunning with a delightful combination of gold, orange and green against that perfect blue Colorado sky. Telluride area still has a solid week and the lower elevations will take even longer.

For More Information on Fall Colors Please Contact