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Dallas Divide & Owl Creek Pass

Fall Colors 2012
Saturday & Sunday, September 29-30, 2012

This weekend Amanda and I went back down to the edge of the San Juan Mountains for one last weekend of photographing fall colors this year. We ended up spending most of our time along Owl Creek Pass Road and north of the Sneffels Range near the Dallas Divide. The fall colors near the Dallas Divide were probably a bit past peak, but still pretty nice, but the area around Owl Creek Pass still had quite a bit of green.

On Saturday morning we left Grand Junction bright and early so that we could make it to the Dallas Divide in time for sunrise. I took this photo shortly before the sun came up in the soft dawn light.

Hayden Peak Dawn by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Here’s a similar photo after the the sun came up that shows the difference light can make to a scene.

Hayden Peak Sunrise by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After leaving the Dallas Divide we visited a few of the county roads in the area starting with West Dallas Creek. Here’s my Jeep under a tall golden aspen in Box Factory Park.

Box Factory Park by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Next we took the Dallas Creek Road all the way to it’s end at the Blue Lakes trailhead. There were some nice golden aspen trees below the mountain peaks near the end of the road.

Golden by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Many people have taken photos with this fence in the foreground…

Fence by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I saw this reflection in a puddle in the road and had to stop for a quick photo.

Road Reflection by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There was still a lot of green under Chimney Rock and Courthouse Mountain from Vista Point.

Still Green by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The setting sun strikes the Cimmaron Ridge on Saturday evening.

Ridge Light by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Just before the sunset on Saturday, the light turned red and lit up the Cimmaron Ridge for a few minutes.

Cimarron Ridge Sunset by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

On Sunday morning, Amanda and I arrived at our sunrise location along County Road 5 well before the sun came up. That gave me some time to take a few photos of the Sneffels Range under the stars and lit up by the Harvest Moon.

Under a Harvest Moon by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The rising sun strikes the top of Mount Sneffels on Sunday morning.

Touch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look at Mount Sneffels.

Sneffels by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We left County Road 5 and visited County Road 7 another time on Sunday morning.

Mountain Top by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

On our way back through Ridgway I stopped to take a quick photo of a hot air balloon I frequently see floating around the area.

Ridgway Balloon by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After breakfast in Ridgway we returned to our camp so we could pack it up and start our drive back home.

Vista Point Camp by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When we reached Delta, we took the scenic route home over the Grand Mesa. There was still some nice color up here, too.

The Edge of Color by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Driving down Lands End Road.

Lands End Road by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Fall colors below Lands End.

Lands End by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The switchbacks of Lands End Road descend down the side of the Mesa.

Switchbacks by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

On our way down Lands End Road we got stopped by an auto race that was in progress. They told us we would probably be waiting an hour until we could drive down, so I got out my telephoto lens and watched a little bit of the race before finishing the drive home. It was fun to try photographing something a little different from my normal nature and landscape scenes.

In the Turn 1 by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

In the Turn 2 by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

In the Turn 3 by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

In the Turn 4 by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

In the Turn 5 by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Even though the conditions this weekend may not have been the best for photography, we still had a nice weekend in the mountains.

>> Dallas Divide & Owl Creek Pass Photo Gallery


    DAVESH SHINGARI September 19, 2017

    Amazing post. I am going this weekend to explore fall colors. Where is the vista point near Chimney Rock and Courthouse Mountain?

    • Randy Langstraat
      Randy Langstraat September 19, 2017

      Vista Point is just off the road up to Owl Creek Pass from Ridgway. There is a sign, it’s not easily missed.

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