Aspen gold in the Rockies isn’t the only reason to head west from the Front Range. Three photographers offer their favorite images from a region less-traveled—Colorado’s arid Western Slope.
Big Dominguez Falls
Falls plunge to the stream lined with autumn cottonwoods above its confluence with the Gunnison River. Big Dominguez Creek is a perennial stream running through a canyon used by Native Americans for centuries. © Dave Showalter
Unaweep scrub oak
Unaweep/Tabeguache Scenic Byway (Colorado State Highway 141) runs through Unaweep Canyon, out of which two creeks flow in opposite directions. Along the canyon in autumn is bright red scrub oak bright enough to distract you, so be careful.
Lands End Road, Grand Mesa
The Grand Mesa is an ancient volcano standing more than 10,000 feet above sea level and nearly 5,000 feet above the valley below. Snaking its way up the mountain is Lands End Road, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, a post Great Depression work force in the early 1930s. As a photographer, I knew that there is only a small window of time before the leaves drop. For a community known as being in the desert, it is a magnificent sight.
Big Dominguez Canyon
Golden autumn cottonwood trees line Big Dominguez Creek, perennially flowing through this culturally and ecologically important wilderness.