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OK guys: In the past 3.5 days, I've done CRs 5, 7, 8, and 9, a drive from Ridgway to Ouray and up Million Dollar Highway until Red Mountain Pass, as well as Last Dollar Road this morning, and a quick peek across the Dallas Divide from the highway, from where the two photos posted above by Jim were taken. The iPhone does not do it justice...
I have to say, things have taken a slight turn to the better. The ends of the CRs mentioned above are not as bad, particularly 7, esp. where it opens up towards its end. I believe it is called the Cirque.
Also, Last Dollar road has some nice spots, starting in front of Last Dollar Ranch and looking East towards the mountains, but also at its end at the junction with CR60 looking into the valley across (could be mistaken with the CR number but it's where it forks at 90 degree turns. This is where I turned back). But this is a long and rough ride.
Overall, whatever's at lower elevation, mostly shrubs, bushes, and smaller trees (sorry don't know the tree names) are 100% brown and ugly. At higher elevations and deep into the CRs and in the gorges, you'll find a healthier mix, with lots of greens about to turn still, but also yellows and some red-brown.
This is not vintage by any means judging from photos I've seen from previous years and other posters' feedback, and from the highway you'll be scared. However, if you're already in the area then it's worth the venture into these CRs.
That said, today it's very windy, and they're expecting rain/snow in the area tonight into Friday...
Also, please do not venture deep into CRs 5, 9, and Last Dollar Road without high clearance and 4WD. It gets rough at places and I had to cross several streams and mini-ponds along the roads and saw several wheel traces of stuck vehicles in the mud.
Hope this helps. I'm still having fun, but my trip isn't only about the fall colours, so hope I'm not misleading anyone with my optimism/lack of experience in Colorado foliage.
Edited on Oct 11, 2013 at 11:33 AM · View previous versions