San Juan Mountains, Colorado

The San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado – my home mountains – are the most rugged and extensive mountainous region in the state – an ocean of mountains that extends as far as the eye can see. Some notable San Juan towns are Telluride, Ouray, and Ridgway on the northern side, Silverton in the middle, Lake City and Creede to the east, and Durango and Pagosa Springs to the south.

Sneffels Range Autumn
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Uncompahgre Sunset
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Emerald Green
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Paintbrush Sunrise Panorama
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Cimarron Sunset Panorama
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Sneffels Summit Sunset Panorama
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Mother and Child
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Blue Lakes Sunrise
Mount Sneffels Wilderness, Colorado
Dragonsback Sunset
Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado
Alpenglow on Mt. Sneffels
Sneffels Range, Colorado
Sneffels Sage
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Wetterhorn Sunrise Sunflowers
Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado
Ruby Red Sunset
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Cosmic Sneffels
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Fourth of July in Ouray
Ouray, Colorado
Wetterhorn in Candyland
Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado
Wetterhorn Moonflowers
Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado
Misty Mountain Morning
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Sneffels Cascade
Mount Sneffels Wilderness, Colorado
Stormy Lupines
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Columbine and Sneffels Sunset
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Sunrise Behind Wetterhorn Peak
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Sultan Mountain
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Wetterhorn Peak Sunset #3
Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado
Solar Eclipse over the Sneffels Range
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Comet Neowise Above the Sneffels Range
Sneffels Range, Colorado
Sneffels Starlight
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Storm King Sunrise
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Grenadier Sunrise Reflection #2
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Dark Sunrise in the Needles
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Jagged Sunrise Panorama
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
San Juan Sunrise
Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado
Animas River Sunrise
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Paintbrush Sunset
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Smoky Needles Reflection
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Rolling Tundra
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Sunlight Mountain Goat
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Sunlight Sunrise Reflection
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Sunrise on Sunlight
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Needles Sunrise Reflection
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Fiery Weminuche Sunrise
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
West Fork Cimarron Sunset #1
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Smoky San Juan Sunrise
Lizard Head Wilderness, Colorado
Sneffels Summit Sunset
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Ouray Cosmic Fireworks
Ouray, Colorado
San Miguel Summer Morning
Lizard Head Wilderness, Colorado
Columbine in the Red
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Blue Lakes Pass Panorama
Mount Sneffels Wilderness, Colorado
Grizzly Morning Reflection
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Mountain Goat Meadow
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Ouray Valley Autumn
Ouray, Colorado
Aspens Over Ouray
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Aspen in the Fog
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
The Aspen
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Raining Gold
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Crystal Lake Autumn Reflection
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Autumn Eden
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Orange Aspens
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Fall Creek Sunrise
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Cimarron Light Show
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Sneffels Autumn Light
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Golden Giants
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Ouray Autumn Panorama
Ouray, Colorado
Aspen Streaks
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Aspens in the Mist
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Snowy Pine and Aspens
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Chimney Rock Sunset
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Wilson Peak Autumn
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Last Dollar Morning
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Sneffels Autumn Panorama
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Red Mountain
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Sneffels Alpine Glow
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Snowy Sunstream
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Lunar Alpenglow
Ice Lakes Basin, Colorado
Blue Lakes Winter Moonlight
Mount Sneffels Wilderness, Colorado
Icy Ice Lakes Sunrise
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Mt. Sneffels Winter
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Uncompahgre Morning
Ridgway, Colorado
Wetterhorn Dawn
Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado
Sneffels Moonset
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Mt. Sneffels Summit Sunrise
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Ice Lakes Icy Sunrise
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Abrams and Ouray
Ouray, Colorado
Winter Twilight over Ouray
Ouray, Colorado
Dawn over Ouray
Ouray, Colorado
Ouray New Years Fireworks
Ouray, Colorado
Ouray Starry Night
Ouray, Colorado
Ouray Winter Dawn Panorama
Ouray, Colorado
Wetterhorn Sunset Panorama
Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado
Stars Over Wetterhorn
Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado
Sneffels Range Starry Reflection
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Alpenglow on Sneffels
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Frozen Rainbow
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Frosty Aspens
Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado
Bridge of Heaven Dusk Camp
Ouray, Colorado
Mount Hayden Backcountry Lodge Dusk
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Blue Lakes Winter Panorama
Mount Sneffels Wilderness, Colorado
Bluebird Sneffels
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
White Sunrise
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Sunrise on Sneffels
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Pleasant Valley Winter Sunset
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Sneffels Night
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Mount Sneffels Dusk Panorama
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
San Sophia Sunset
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
San Sophia Sunrise
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Gladstone Earthshadow Panorama
Lizard Head Wilderness, Colorado
Last Light on Sneffels
Mount Sneffels Wilderness, Colorado
Mears Peak Alpenglow
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Blue Lake Vertical Panorama
Mount Sneffels Wilderness, Colorado
Wilson Peak Showers
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Sneffels June Light
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Potosi Peak Sunrise
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Lone Pine in Aspens
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Happy Aspens
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Deer in Flowers
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Cimarron Spring Panorama
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Grenadier Reflection
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Sunbeams over Ouray
Ouray, Colorado
Fiery Ouray
Ouray, Colorado
Grenadier Goat
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Chicago Basin Sunset
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Lightning Strikes
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Emerald Cloud Reflection
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Blue and Green
Mount Sneffels Wilderness, Colorado
Cimarron Sunlight
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Rainy Grenadiers
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Jagged Sunrise Reflection
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Sultan's Rainbow
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Rugged Clouds Abstract
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Animas Sunset #2
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Needles Sunset
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Wetterhorn Earthshadow
Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado
Weminuche Clouds
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Eden Lake Glow
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
West Fork Cimarron Sunset #2
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Grenadiers Above the Clouds
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Moose in Beaver Ponds
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Mountain Goat
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Blue Lakes Sunrise #2
Mount Sneffels Wilderness, Colorado
Ice Lakes Basin Reflection #2
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Uncompahgre Sunset Panorama
Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado
Father Goat #2
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Beaver Ponds Sunset
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Jagged Sunset Reflection
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Wetterhorn Basin Stormy Sunset
Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado
Sneffels Range Flowers
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Paintbrush Morning
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Sneffels Range Sunset
Ridgway, Colorado
Sunshine Sunrise
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Sunset Above Ouray
Ouray, Colorado
Wetterhorn Sunset Moonrise
Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado
Rainbow Over Ridgway
Ridgway, Colorado
Pleasant Valley Sunrise
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Sneffels Spring Sunset
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Emerald Fireweed
Mount Sneffels Wilderness, Colorado
Trinity Peak Sunrise
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Storm King Morning
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Knife Reflection
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
Colorful Twilights
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Paintbrush Sunlight
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Sage and Sneffels
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Fireworks Over Ouray
Ouray, Colorado
Mears Peak Rainbow
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Wetterhorn Breaking Storm
Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado
Sunrise on Engineer Mountain
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Paintbrush Valley
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Potosi Peak & Lupine
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Uncompahgre Sunrise Light
Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado
Uncompahgre Colors
Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado
Dragon Dusk
Uncompahgre Wilderness, Colorado
Ouray Sunset Panorama
Ouray, Colorado
Sunset Light in the Cimarrons
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Twin Peaks Sunset
Ouray, Colorado
Lizard Head Sunrise
Lizard Head Wilderness, Colorado
Sneffels Range Sunset Reflection
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Moon, Mountain, and Mercury
Uncompahgre Peak, Colorado
Wilson Peak Spring Sunrise
Telluride, Colorado
Aspen Stand
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Mears Lupine
San Juan Mountains, Colorado
Sneffels Spring Showers
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

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.


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