SOUTH FORK— Summer is coming to a close in the San Luis Valley and with the end of warmer days comes the next stage of activities to be enjoyed by all. Fall is one of the most beautiful times in the San Juan Mountains and South Fork will be hosting their annual Fall Color Drive. The visitor center will be handing out maps to visitors and guests which highlights five beautiful drives to take in the area where fall colors are known to be the best of the best.
The summer was one of the busiest summers to date for South Fork, and locals are looking forward to the slower months before winter comes back full fold. The town is always eager to welcome guests that want to have a nice quiet day in the mountains enjoying the splendor of fall and all it has to offer.
One of the most popular drives in the area is the Silver Thread Byway that takes guests up Highway 149 towards Creede, over Slumgullion Pass and down into the neighboring town of Lake City. The highway weaves its way through the San Juan Mountains offering gorgeous, expansive views of the San Juans and Weminuche Wilderness. The rural drive also has some interesting historical sites to see along the way, including the infamous Alfred Packer massacre site that continues to bring curious travelers from around the world.
Also, during this time of year, the river is an excellent place to be, with local fish in their prime just before winter renders the waters of the Rio Grande still with ice. The low waters allow a great opportunity for anglers to venture out into the rapids for fly fishing, which is a popular local sport in the fall months. Mark Teders at the visitor center is a well of information on local fishing holes and can provide guests with a hint or two on the best places to go.
It is also around this time that the local farmer markets are coming to a close but offer a wide variety of ripe local produce that cannot be found anywhere else or at any other time of year. The local market will continue on Fridays at the visitor center until the last week of September and is a great place to stock up for the coming holiday season with homemade gifts that are unique and hard to find.
According to Teders the market has grown exponentially this year, bringing not only more vendors that display their homemade gifts and unique wares but fresh produce from local and visiting farms from around the Valley and beyond.
Maps highlighting beautiful fall drives will be available at the South Fork Visitor Center beginning mis-September. For more information, please contact Teders at 873-5512 or visit the website at www.southfork.org.