Sunday, October 23, 2016

West Elk Scenic Byway (10/2/2016)

 It was a beautiful Sunday when a Jeeping friend and I decided to take a ride on the West Elk Scenic Byway.  It had been some years since I had driven that road and I really had no idea what fall color might be like in that area.  On the way, we had several stops to view the cottonwoods and aspens growing along the Cimarron River, tumbling its way to the convergence with the Gunnison River in the Black Canyon, not so deep at this point.

There are three dams in the Gunnison, one of them creating Blue Mesa Reservoir, the largest body of water entirely within Colorado.  The lake is 20 miles long and has a shoreline of nearly 100 miles.  A large fish hatchery stocks the lake with trout and salmon, attracting large numbers of fishermen.  The surrounding mesas funnel winds across the lake, making it a prime spot for wind surfing.
Crossing over the dam, we found the byway to have lots of color, including red and rust to complement the yellow/gold aspens. Rugged mesas characterize the area created by volcanic activity millions of years ago.

Every turn of the road presented more views of incredible color.


At times, the highway passed close to the north rim of Black Canyon, providing views of the narrow lakes formed behind other dams.

Approaching the town of Crawford, the nature of the scenery changed just a little.  There were large swaths of mixed colors, much like an artist's palette.  I'm not that familiar with this area, but I believe the formation in the last photo is called Needle Rock.  I need to do a little more exploring in that area.

At this point, the byway leads farther from Montrose and it was past time for a late lunch, so we broke from the scenic loop and headed home.

Incidentally, I finally got around to editing a video from Cimarron Road.  It can be viewed at Cimarron Road.  Also, you may find it interesting that Stan's Travels have been viewed well beyond the U.S. and Canada.  Google keeps track and reports viewers in the following countries:

United States







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