5 Best Wildflower locations in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado

July and August are the best months to head out into the mountains for Colorado’s spectacular wildflower displays. I love to get “high” in the San Juan Mountains near Durango. Some of my favorite locations, and sure things, are:

  1. Clear Lake, Clear Creek, northwest of Silverton
  2. The La Plata Mountains, west of Durango, Drive all the way up La Plata Canyon Road, Cumberland Basin and Columbus Basin are winners
  3. Anywhere along the Ice Lakes and Ice Creek Trails, Northwest of Silverton
  4. Missionary Ridge Road to Henderson Lake, near Durango
  5. And the Wildflowers all along the Alpine Loop over Cinnamon and Engineer passes ROCKS.
Just before reaching Silverton, on the left side of Highway 550, Deer Creek enters and goes below the highway.  Stop there for some creekside wilds.  ©Kit Frost

Just before reaching Silverton, on the left side of Highway 550, Deer Creek enters and goes below the highway. Stop there for some creekside wilds. ©Kit Frost

Andrews Lake is a very nice location for photography, fishing, and a bit of boating too (no motors please).  You can often find fireweed and other colorful wilds along the lake side. ©Kit Frost

Andrews Lake is a very nice location for photography, fishing, and a bit of boating too (no motors please). You can often find fireweed and other colorful wilds along the lake side. ©Kit Frost

These photos were taken to show you the fabulous displays we have each summer in Colorado.  I am taking a group of students out to teach Wildflower photography this coming Friday.  Each week between now and the end of the wild season, I will be posting a few choice locations, with their current wildflower status.

At some locations you may also be blessed with a combination of wilds, middle ground and the San Juan Mountains.  These locations are my favorites, as I enjoy the challenges of combining good composition, color, lighting and depth of field.  The drive from Durango to Silverton along 550 North is a good location for roadside creek falls.  Although we are in a severe drought here in southern Colorado, we’ve had monsoons (daily thunderstorms and rain) hit the high country to water the gardens up there.

Oftentimes, I will stop along creeks to see if there are any wilds.  These were blooming in early September of 2011. ©Kit Frost

Oftentimes, I will stop along creeks to see if there are any wilds. These were blooming in early September of 2011. ©Kit Frost

The first thing I do at any location is to scout around the creeks (I check my maps before driving or hiking to the location).  ©Kit Frost

The first thing I do at any location is to scout around the creeks (I check my maps before driving or hiking to the location). ©Kit Frost

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