Colorado Fall Foliage 2012

All Photographs Brian & Nancy Morganti

Flat Tops Scenic Byway - Trappers Lake - Anderson Lake

Ripple Creek Pass - CR19 - Dunkley Pass

Sunday - September 30, 2012 - Day Three

The Flat Tops Scenic Byway is an 82 mile drive between the towns of Meeker and Yampa.  The byway sees little traffic, yet offers abundant vistas of grand Aspen forests that can be enjoyed in relative solitude.  Our first side road journey after leaving Meeker occurred at the Trappers Lake turnoff which leads to numerous hiking trails of various lengths. One short hike led us to Anderson Lake which sits amid the remains of the "Big Fish Fire" that occurred in 2002.  We then enjoyed beautiful Aspen forest panoramas while crossing the 10,343' Ripple Creek Pass.  Our next side road journey onto CR19 north towards Pagoda was my favorite of the day as it offered wonderful warm views of the colorful Aspen and Cottonwood trees along the east fork of the Williams River.  Even more sweeping vistas of the White River Plateau and Pyramid Peak came into view as we later crossed the 9,763' Dunkley Pass.  From there the road gradually descends into ranch lands before leading into the town of Yampa.

Cattle Drives are Common along the Flat Tops Scenic Byway east of Meeker.

Aspens Transition from Green to Gold next to a Forest of Conifer Trees. 

Colorful Scene of Aspens and Scrub Oak along the Scenic Byway near Buford.

Ridge Top Aspens on the North Side of the Scenic Byway.

Scrub Oaks and Aspens Display their Fall Color along the Byway. 

Wider View of Byway's Scrub Oak and Aspen Displays.   

Quiet Morning Drive heading East along the Byway. 

Orange and Yellow Aspens compete for attention amidst large patches of Red Scrub Oak. 

Morning Light and Solitude along the Flat Tops Scenic Byway.

Lonely Aspens Warming up in the Morning Sun.

Aspen Colors Stand Out Among the Big Fish Fire Remnants from 2002.

Fire Scarred Hills 11 years after the Big Fish & Lost Lake Fires Consumed nearly 23,000 acres.

Scenic Pond and Meadow adjacent to a Forest Destroyed by Fire.   

Blaze Orange Aspens offer a Contrast to the Conifer Trees killed by Fire. 

Trappers Lake reflects "Amphitheatre Peak".

A Cove along Trappers Lake yields to seemingly endless acres of Woodlands Destroyed by Fire.

Charred Tree Close Up!

Secluded Anderson Lake and Amphitheatre View Amidst  the many Acres Destroyed by Fire. 

West View of tiny Anderson Lake Secluded in what was once a large Forest of Evergreens.

Meadow View in front of Highlands Devoured by Fire.

Dead Forest and Live Aspens Share the Same Field of  View. 

Beautiful View Overlooking the Flat Tops Scenic Byway from Ripple Creek Pass. 

Brilliant Gold patches of Aspens Hang On Amidst their Leafless Companions. 

Criss-Crossing Yellow Aspens Climb a Hill along the Scenic Byway. 

A Colorful Hillside View on the Descent from Ripple Creek Pass.

Scrub Oaks and Aspens Climb the Hills beyond the Flat Lands below Ripple Creek Pass.

Pretty Skies and hills of Gold frame Pyramid Peak from along beautiful CR19 south of Pagoda. 

Brilliant Cottonwood Tree along CR19.

Bottom Land Cottonwoods along CR19.

Brilliant Aspens Slice Through Hills of Scrub Oak along CR19

Back-Lit Cottonwoods line the Banks of the East Fork of the Williams River along CR19.

Late Afternoon Sun Brilliantly Backlights Green and Gold Aspens to the West of CR19.

Looking Southeast at a Wonderfully Warm Scene from along CR19 East Fork of the Williams River.

Warm Afternoon Sunlight Backlights the Cottonwoods and Aspens below CR19.

Another wonderful view of the peak Aspen colors looking southeast from CR19. 

Glowing Cottonwoods along the East Fork of Williams River.

A Grand View of the Aspen Covered Hillsides near Dunkley Pass.

Hillside of Solid Gold Aspens near Dunkley Pass.

Late Afternoon View of 11,532' Pyramid Peak and  the White River Plateau from Dunkley Pass. 

Aspens showing Peak Colors in the Valley below Dunkley Pass. 

Orange and Red Aspens at the summit of Dunkley Pass.

Past Peak Aspen Forests as viewed from near the Summit of Dunkley Pass.

Aspens and Conifer Forests in the White River Plateau looking south from Dunkley Pass.

Sweeping Vista of the White River Plateau below Dunkley Pass. 

Patch of Golden Aspens near Dunkley Pass.

Dramatic Change in Views as Aspen Forests give way to Ranch lands on the descent from Dunkley Pass.

Ancient Volcano Domes and Ranch Buildings Yampa, CO. 

Remnants of another Volcano Tube just south of Yampa. 


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