The fall color change is upon us, Dixon Trail opening date announced, and National Public Lands Day 

click to enlarge The annual color change has begun in the high country, but sticking to a familiar schedule. - BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
  • The annual color change has begun in the high country, but sticking to a familiar schedule.

Despite some concern that this year's drought conditions were going to cause local trees to change color early, the trees are actually changing at about the same time as previous years.
Over the last couple of years, I photographed the fall colors in Southern Colorado from the third week in September through early October; this year the change appears to be on the same schedule. Colorado Hwy 67, from Divide to Cripple Creek, is starting to come alive with aspen gold, and I observed that about half of the trees had changed during a hike earlier this week on the Crags Trail. There is very little change on the Springs' streets and parks, which is in line with the color change at the lower elevations falling a week or two later than higher elevations.
Long story short, you haven't missed much yet in the way of leaf peeping and photography, but things change fast. I recommend visiting Mueller State Park, the Crags and Hwy 67 this weekend and into next week, but the good viewing conditions should extend into next weekend.

Dixon Trail opens this week

The long-awaited Dixon Trail in Cheyenne Mountain State Park will open to the public on Tuesday, September 25th, although trail construction work will still be in progress, according to Cheyenne Mountain State Park manager Mitch Martin. In a release, Martin states that "Hikers could encounter trail crews at anytime. Hikers should avoid crews and stay uphill of any trail markers they encounter. All flags, stakes and ribbons should be left alone so trail crews can finish their work as quickly as possible". If you'd like to help finish the trail, the Rocky Mountain Field Institute is hosting a volunteer work day on October 6th to finish up the final segments of the trail. If you'd like to help, sign up here.  You can find my preview of the trail here.

Celebrating the outdoors

Saturday, September 22nd, is the first day of fall and also marks the 25th annual National Public Lands Day, the nation's largest single-day volunteer event according to NPLD. It's a great opportunity to volunteer and explore our public lands and trails — including National Park Service sites, which will waive entrance fees on the 22nd. Find local events via the NPLD website.

The 22nd is also National Hunting and Fishing Day, which Colorado Parks and Wildlife says is meant to honor outdoorsmen for their leadership in conserving America's wildlife and wild places. You can read more about it here.

Happy Trails!

Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for more than 26 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: info@hikingbob.com.


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