Sunday, January 17, 2016

Scenic Drive to SW Colorado


Every time my husband and I drive to a new area in Colorado we are amazed by the scenery and topography of our state.  Our trip to a house we rented, along with our daughter and her family, in South West Colorado was no exception!  We drove west, from our town of Littleton, on Colorado 470, to US 285. I've blogged often about traveling on US 285 over Kenosha Pass to South Parkas this is one of the prettiest places in Colorado. (All photos and collages in this post will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on.)


South Park is a large grassland basin, at 10,000 foot elevation, rimmed by the Rocky Mountain Mosquito and Park Mountain Ranges.  It is populated by many scenic ranches and the town of Fairplay.  Although we were taking this trip during Thanksgiving week in November, you can see there was already significant snow on the high, surrounding peaks.


We continued on US 285 towards the Sawatch Mountain Range near Buena Vista, Colorado.  


When we entered the Buena Vista area, we had a view of Mt. Princeton.  Mt. Princeton is 14,204 feet high mountain, and is part of the Collegiate Peaks of the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. The Sawatch Mountain Range contains eight of the twenty highest peaks in the Rocky Mountains, including Mt. Elbert, which is the highest mountain of the Rocky Mountain Range in North America, at an elevation of 14,440 feet. 


We soon traveled west onto US 50, and traveled over the Continental Divide over Monarch Pass. This pass is considered one of the most scenic in Colorado, with beautiful views of the Sawatch Range.  It also contains the Monarch Ski Area.



We were now in Gunnison County, Colorado, where we had a view of the West Elk Mountain Range.



The topography here became "otherworldly."


The erosion of millennium on these ancient hills, buttes, mesas and mountains reveled their "bones." 


All I could think of, as we drove past views like this, was this area is a geologist's dream....



....as well as a photographer's.


We passed the craggy, tall Dillon Pinnacles of the Curecanti National Recreation Area.....


 ...and the Blue Mesa Reservoir, which is the largest body of water entirely in Colorado. 


At 7,519 feet, it is 20 miles long, and has 96 miles of shoreline. The Blue Mesa Reservoir is the largest lake trout and Kokanee salmon fishery in Colorado. 


We also passed the north rim of the amazing Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, which I will blog about on a future post.


As we drove towards the city of MontroseI continued to see the most beautiful and unusual scenery.  I felt like all the castles in Europe could not compare to these natural "castles" made by time.


The hills were dark examples of volcanic remains of Precambrian era gneiss and schist.


We soon turned onto US 550 in Ouray County, towards the magnificent San Juan Mountain Range--the largest mountain range in Colorado by area.  We were approaching our final destination in Log Hill Village near Ridgway, Colorado. 


The house we rented for the week here had a beautiful large deck that offered us a panoramic views of the San Juan Mountains. It was the also the vantage point from where we took day trips to the towns of Ouray and Telluride, and a drive along the Million Dollar Highway--all of which I will blog about in future posts.  

I hope you enjoyed coming along on our drive to SW Colorado and enjoyed the wondrous and incredible scenery we passed along the way.  Return soon to see more of our visit this fabulous part of Colorado!
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47 comments:

Joy@aVintageGreen said...

Thank you for sharing such wonderful scenery. It is all stunningly beautiful. Visiting from Sally's Blue Monday.
Joy

diane b said...

It sure is a beautiful state. The scenery is so craggy, rough but beautiful. Thanks for the trip.

Gemma Wiseman said...

Such stunning landscapes. Love all the views of the snowy peaks and the rugged countryside is intriguing. I love rocky landscapes.

SmilingSally said...

Hi Pat,

No doubt about it: those views are breath-catching.

Thanks for linking in today.

Happy Blue Monday!

podso said...

Pat, your photos are stunning! You do live in a beautiful area, no doubt about that. It's nice you are taking advantage of that and enjoying travel around your state. Have a good week!

eileeninmd said...

Hello Pat, Colorado is a gorgeous state. Your images from your drive are lovely. The home you rented has gorgeous scenic views too. Awesome! Happy Monday, enjoy your new week!

The Furry Gnome said...

Beautiful country!

Barbara said...

Thank you for taking us along on your drive to SW Colorado. Just viewing your photos makes my breathing slow down and my body to relax!

Gabriela said...

Hi Pat! I am visiting from Amaze Me Monday. My favorite parts of the US is out west and Colorado especially. I am currently living overseas and I really miss road tripping through the mountains. Thank you for sharing these beautiful photos of your adventure and letting me live vicariously! :)

Nancy Beebe Goolsby Tramel Perry said...

lovely.

helmiriitta 10 said...

Amazing views!

Stephanie said...

My dear Pat, I found your blog via Judith's Mosaic Monday and I am ever so glad I clicked on your icon.

When I aw you are from Colorado I knew I had to follow you....you see, I live in Colorado as well {{smiles}} I have lived near the Vail area most of my life {except for the 8 years I lived in Canada}. It was truly a joy to see your photos of this beautiful state and it's a delight to now follow along.

Take care and have a blessed week! Hugs! Stephanie - The Enchanting Rose

Barb said...

I love this area - your photos are wonderful. I have a good friend who lives in Nathrop, and we often hike around Buena Vista. Love your sunset/moon shots.

Margaret Adamson said...

The sscenery is stunning. Mountains and reflections are gorgeous

Linda Kay said...

We may make it into Colorado this summer, so looking forward to seeing your sites.

DeniseinVA said...

Incredible scenery. Colorado is a place I would like to explore more. My only view of it was at Denver airport a little over a week ago when we had to change planes and I saw all the snow on the ground.

Rajesh said...

It is a pleasure to drive to destination with a such breathtaking views.

Cranberry Morning said...

Those are simply stunning photos! I've been to Denver, but I can see there's a lot more to Colorado that I need to visit.

Donna said...

I have always been interested in traveling over the Continental Divide and to that remote part of CO...fascinating topography...and yes it seems like you are in the old west with no one around for miles...almost! :)

Donna Donabella@GardensEyeView
and LivingFromHappiness

Nancy's Notes said...

What a wonderful trip! Brought back so many memories for me, truly great place to travel! Great and stunning shots!

carol l mckenna said...

Magnificent photography of a very beautiful state ~ So glad you are enjoying it!

Wishing you a Happy Week ~ ^_^

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Colorado is a beautiful state and I love southwest Colorado most of all.

happywonderer.com said...

It's been great to have you living in Colorado and showing us all it's beauty. How nice to have a getaway to a different part of the state from you!

Felicia said...

You have made me so homesick to come back to this area. I have even been dreaming/contemplating moving to this area.

Fabulous images.

Ruth Rieckehoff said...

These scenes are gorgeous! I am not sure why we haven't make it to Colorado yet. We have do at least one week road trips.

Linda W. said...

Wonderful scenery and photos! This is part of Colorado I've never visited but want to one day.

Jim said...

Great scenery.

Fun60 said...

Those white mountains do it for me every time.

ladyfi said...

Wow wow wow - majestic and breathtaking!

Creations by Marie Antoinette and Edie Marie said...

Oh Pat your photos are amazing! The mountain range has to be so magnificent in person. What an incredible vacation destination you had! Thank you so much for taking us out west to see such a great mountain range. Hope you are enjoying life - it sure looks like it! Blessings to you and yours in this New Year - Edie & Marie

La Petite Gallery said...

It is God's country, so majestic. In the late sixties we went through Rabbit Ear pass. There was a ski lodge around there and a friend of my hubby. Jazz musician.
Hope you are doing better and that eye is all well. yvonne

Vee said...

Your blog is better than a travel magazine. The photography is amazing! Colorado is one state that I missed entirely and wish that I had not.

Gracie said...

So happy to finally had time to catch up with your blog....a pleasure as always.

Marie C said...

Just wonderful! I love Colorado so much! So much beauty in every part of the state.

Willow said...

Can you imagine being an early explorer, mountain man, or cowboy walking and riding these areas and seeing them for the first time? That's how I imagined myself as I scrolled through your photos. Southern Colorado is an awe inspiring area.

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

I always feel lucky to have met you Pat as you show off the beauty of your state. There appears to be no end of fascinating places to visit and hike.
Armchair travelling with a cup of tea by my side!

Al said...

I blogged about Ouray and the Black Canyon a few years ago and I'd love to get back to that part of the state. There's no place like Colorado with the variety of stunning terrain and there's no place I'd rather live. You've captured it well here!

Pondside said...

Your state is awe-inspiring in its grandeur! I remember all your fantastic New York posts and I love that you have been able to bring your enthusiasm and and gift for photography and description to your new state. There are scenes here that remind of our Alberta Badlands, around Drumheller.

Klara said...

it really is amazing scenery.

Light and Voices said...

Amazing photographs. I like how your husband likes to go on adventures with you. Enjoyed the tagged words to your photos. Information helps identify what I'm looking at. Happy New Year! Enjoy shooting.
JM, Illinois-U.S.A.

Daniela said...

Your posts always amaze me, because your Colorado has both a wonderful history and a charming nature, still so pristine and wild, with such fascinating mountains and incredible colours painted in the sky !
Lucky you who live there, my darling friend !
Have a wonderful rest of your week, my dearest Pat
sending dear love to you
Dany

Cheryl @ TFD said...

I loved this post! Your photos are always so beautiful and the descriptions are just perfectly given. By the time I'm through reading, I'm wanting to go to Colorado! I am looking forward to hearing more about this trip. Take care and enjoy your week!

Kris said...

It's always a pleasure to go on a road trip with you Pat! Whether it is a long trip, or a day out and about, I always learn something.
So, so lovely, where you live!!!
xo Kris

ann said...

I am late getting around this week, per usual. I always look forward to your Colorado posts, even though I have traveled the same highways. We never tire of Colorado's beauty. Isn't it interesting to see the topography change as you travel from the Front Range to the Western Slope? Your photos are awesome, always inspiring. I think we need to get out town for a few days. If we have a wet spring, come north to nearly the Wyoming border, head east to see the prairie in bloom. A nice day's drive to Pawnee National Grasslands.

Molly said...

Wow, what a truly stunning landscape

Mollyxxx

Cindy said...

Breathtakingly amazing scenery, some of it I remember. The mountain tops will always be a favourite of mine. You pictures are so beautiful, thank you for posting

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Great idea to spend the holiday in a home-away-from-home, especially in one in this amazing location (those kind of places are certainly not hard to find in Colorado!). Beautiful pictures.