Autumn Drive from New Mexico to Colorado – A Photo Essay

The final day of our recent trip to New Mexico, my brother Dave and I returned to his home in Colorado. Along the way we stopped for some sight seeing in Los Alamos, NM, Pagosa Springs, CO and near Leadville, CO.

When we originally left Colorado a few days before, the weather had been summer-like, and we had enjoyed the turning of the aspen trees to their brilliant autumn gold. Once we crossed back into Colorado from the south it became evident some different weather had arrived while we were gone. There was an October snowfall in the Rockies! This was three seasons all in one day.

Los Alamos

When the military industrial complex chose a location for the Manhattan Project during World War II, the secret Los Alamos National Labs were hidden nicely atop the mesas that overlook the canyons of the Rio Grande River. It just so happens that this community among “The Cottonwoods” was rich in culture and diverse scenery.

Surrounded by the Jemez Mountains, Los Alamos County is an outdoor lover’s playground. With national monuments and preserves nearby, a ski mountain, and the whitewater of the Rio Grande there is plenty for adventurers to do including hiking, fishing, camping, rafting, and skiing.

Los Alamos was our destination for this trip of discovery in northern New Mexico. We stayed for three nights and days, and visited Valles Caldera and the historic Bandelier National Monument while we were there.

On our final day, we explored the town and the mesas that stretch like fingers from your hand. All in all, a very enjoyable trip. Here are a few photos from our day in Los Alamos:



Near Pagosa Springs and Leadville

Pagosa Springs is a small community in south-central Colorado that is surrounded by San Juan National Forest, Weminuche and South San Juan Wilderness areas, and Southern Ute Indian land. In other words, more playground! The San Juan Mountains are stunning, there are recreation activities galore available throughout Archuleta County, all of it only 30 minutes away.

Some of the highlights as we passed through included Treasure Falls, a 105′ free fall located 12 miles northeast of town on Hwy 160, and the Wolf Creek ski area, also on Hwy 160. Opportunities for vista viewing of the Continental Divide in the San Juan Mountains and the picturesque San Juan Valley abound. Snow had fallen while we were in New Mexico, and I want to tell you it was windy and cold on top of Lobo Overlook.

As we continued northward on Hwys 285 and 24 we passed through the historic mining town of Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the United States at 10,152 feet. We made a few stops for pictures north of town on Hwy 91 that included Clinton Reservoir and Mayflower Gulch. Majestic mountains like Atlantic and Pacific Peaks were covered with a fresh coating from the snowfall, as were the trails that explore the backcountry.



This post was created by Jeff Clark. Please feel free to use the sharing icons below, or add your thoughts to the comments. Pack it in, pack it out. Preserve the past. Respect other hikers. Let nature prevail. Leave no trace.


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