San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Lupine Sunrise
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Lupine Cloudburst
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Golden Glow
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Rainy Redemption
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Cloudbreak Panorama
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Rising Rain
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Sunset over Cow Creek
Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado
Wetterhorn Wildflowers
Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado
Peach Sky Wetterhorn
Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado
Porcupine
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Red Fang Meadow
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
San Miguel Sunset
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Wilson Peak Earthshadow
San Miguel Range, Colorado
Lone Cone Summit Sunset
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Highline Sunset Panorama
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
A glorious sunrise above Mount Garfield and the rugged Animas River gorge south of Silverton, Colorado.
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Wilson Pond
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Grand Finale
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Wilson Peak Autumn Morning
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Sunset Over Ridgway
Ridgway, Colorado
Brilliant sunset light streams under the clouds as the Dolores River streams below. Southwest Colorado.
Dolores Canyon, Colorado
Wilson Crescent
San Miguel Range, Colorado

Geology of the San Juan Mountains

San Juans map

Around 30 million years ago, this was an area of huge volcanos and calderas. Some of the largest eruptions in the known history of the Earth covered the region in thick lava and ash flows. The lava, ash, and intrusive igneous rock in between were subsequently uplifted, almost completely covered in icefields during the Ice Age, then carved by glaciers into the mountains that we see today. This volcanic history gives the San Juans their unique and rugged characteristics that distinguish them from most other mountain ranges in the Colorado Rockies.

The broader San Juan Mountains consist of numerous sub-ranges including the remarkable Sneffels Range, Grenadier Range, Needle Mountains, San Miguel Range, and more. Large portions of these mountains are protected within the Weminuche Wilderness and Uncompaghre Wilderness areas, among others.

Although I've posted about 200 photos from the San Juans in this gallery, I have nearly 1000 photos from the San Juans in the search archives if you want to see more! You can also read lots of trip reports from the San Juans here.