Early Summer in the San Juans, Colorado - June 2020

Here in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado there's still snow lingering in the high peaks, as usual in June, so lately I've been doing a bunch of short backpack trips in the sub-alpine regions at or below treeline. One big advantage of backpacking in the late spring/early summer is that I can camp near high viewpoints and there's usually lingering patches of snow nearby that I can melt for water instead of having to haul water up from distant streams. So while I'm excited for summer backpacking in the high mountains, in the meantime I've been thoroughly enjoying my travels in the "foothills".

During June I will continue to add more photos to this gallery as I continue getting out there!

Cimarrons, Colorado, San Juan Mountains, Uncompahgre Peak, Uncompahgre Wilderness, photo

Big Blue

Uncompahgre Peak (14,309 ft.) is the tallest mountain in the San Juans.

Cimarrons, Colorado, Precipice Peak, San Juan Mountains, Uncompahgre Peak, Uncompahgre Wilderness, photo

Sunset Light in the Cimarrons

Rich sunset light beams onto the rugged peaks of the Cimarrons, looking up the East Fork and Middle Fork of the Cimarron River. Uncompahgre Peak (the tallest mountain in the San Juans at 14,309 ft.) looms in the distance at the head of the East Fork on the left.

(Tip of the hat to Matt Payne, whose original photo from this location inspired my trip up to this viewpoint which wasn't on my radar beforehand).

Cimarrons, Colorado, Mt. Sneffels, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, sunrise, photo

Scarlet Sneffels

Sunrise light on Mount Sneffels (14,156 ft.) as seen from afar.

Cimarrons, Colorado, Mt. Sneffels, San Juan Mountains, Sneffels Range, sunrise, photo

Sneffels Range and Cimarrons

Sunrise light on the Sneffels Range, as seen from the Cimarrons.

Colorado, Ouray, San Juan Mountains, Twin Peaks, Million Dollar Highway, sunset, photo

Twin Peaks Sunset

Sunset light on the Amphitheater above the town of Ouray, as seen from the top of Twin Peaks. The "Million Dollar Highway" rises up the Uncompahgre Gorge to the right. San Juan Mountains, Colorado.

Colorado, Cow Creek, San Juan Mountains, Uncompahgre Wilderness, Wetterhorn Peak, photo

Cow Creek Valley

Wetterhorn Peak (14,015 ft.) rises 4,800 vertical feet above the Cow Creek valley, one of the most remote and rugged corners of the San Juan Mountains (or entire Colorado, for that matter). Back in 2008 I had the great idea to bushwhack all the way up Cow Creek, only to be turned around by a dead end waterfall and cliffs; you can read my trip report of these three grueling days of Cow Creek exploration here. I will never go back in there again; this is one of those places that's better to admire from afar!

Colorado, San Juan Mountains, Uncompahgre Wilderness, Wetterhorn Peak, photo

Wetterhorn Clouds

Thunderclouds billow up behind Wetterhorn Peak (14,015 ft.) in the San Juan Mountains.

Cimarrons, Colorado, San Juan Mountains, aspens, photo

Eden Lake

A vibrant world of summer green at a remote pond in the foothills of the San Juans. What the photo can't show but which you must imagine is the rustle of quaking aspen leaves, the symphony of birdsong, the calls of passing elk, and the low rumble of thunder in the distance.

Cimarrons, Colorado, San Juan Mountains, aspens, photo

Eden Lake Glow

A peaceful evening at a remote pond in the foothills of the San Juans, illuminated with a beautiful glow light from sunset in the west as thunderstorms darken the distant skies.