Tag Archives: autumn colors

Autumn Color in the Jemez Mountains-Part II

In my most recent post on this blog Bosque Bill and I had just finished our lovely picnic lunch at Fenton Lake, and we were planning to return to Corrales and Albuquerque’s North Valley. We returned along a different route along the Rio Cebolla via Forest Road 376.

There were brilliant golden swaths of Quaking Aspen all along the way.

Golden Quaking Aspen, Jemez Mountains, Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico.

Golden Quaking Aspen.

Golden Quaking Aspen, Jemez Mountains

Another colony of Quaking Aspen.

Quaking Aspen cascade down a hillside.

Quaking Aspen cascade down a hillside.

We saw one area where the aspen were so beautiful that we decided to walk into the trees for a number of photos. Here are a few of them:

Aspen grove, Jemez Mountains.

Aspen grove

Aspen grove, Jemez Mountains.

Aspen grove, anther view.

Aspen grove, Jemez Mountains

Another aspen grove.

Aspen grove, Jemez Mountains.

Looking up through the aspen canopy.

As we drove down the forest road along the Rio Cebolla we left the aspen behind. The river which merged with the Rio de las Vacas to become the Guadalupe River, descended into Guadalupe Canyon, and the vegetation became primarily Gambel Oak.

Gambel Oak, Rio Cebolla, Jemez Mountains

Gambel Oak

Gambel Oak, Rio Cebolla, Jemez Mountains.

Gambel Oak, Rio Cebolla.

Gambel Oak, Rio Cebolla, Jemez Mountains.

Another view of the Rio Cebolla from the road.

We descended farther down the logging road that wound through the Guadalupe Canyon along the river. Although he walls of the canyon became steeper there was still fall foliage along the road.

Rock canyon, Rio Cebolla.

Rock canyon, Rio Cebolla.

A glimpse of the Rio Cebolla at the bottom of the canyon.

A glimpse of the Rio Cebolla at the bottom of the canyon.

The Gilman Tunnels are at the narrowest part of Guadalupe Canyon, near the bottom of the canyon and close to the junction of the forest road with the State Highway. These tunnels were originally blasted out of the rock in the 1920’s for a logging railroad. They are not long tunnels, but they are an attractive feature of the drive.

One of the Gilman Tunnels.

One of the Gilman Tunnels.

After we drove through the Gilman Tunnels, the landscape opened up and we could see the beautiful red rock formations of the Jemez Valley.

Spectacular red rock cliffs

Spectacular red rock cliffs.

It was a lovely day with spectacular scenery, fine weather, good food and great company. Happy birthday Bosque Bill!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

[tweetmeme source=”LRockwellatty” only_single=false]

7 Comments

Filed under Jemez Mountains, New Mexico scenery

Autumn Color in the Jemez Mountains-Part I

Golden Quaking Aspen

Golden Quaking Aspen

Along with the Sangre de Cristo range 35 miles distant across the Rio Grande valley, the Jemez Mountains form part of the southern Rocky Mountains, which stretch over 2,000 miles north into Canada. The Jemez Mountains contain no great natural landmarks, rather they are a large area of mostly undisturbed forested wilderness, with rocky peaks, meadows, mountain streams, lakes and waterfalls. More unusual features result from past volcanic activity: There are hot springs, sulphurous vents and a caldera, which is a ring of hills comprising the remains of several long-extinct volcanoes. All the mountains form part of the 1.6 million acre Santa Fe National Forest. This area was the the site of the destructive La Concha fire this past summer.

Bosque Bill and I decided to take a trip to the Jemez last weekend to see the fall colors. It was Bill’s birthday, and we thought that that a photo outing combined with a picnic would be a terrific way to celebrate.

Our first stop was at a camping area near the Pueblo of Jemez, which is an independent sovereign nation with an independent government and tribal court system. It is a federally recognized American Indian tribe with 3,400 tribal members, most of whom reside in a puebloan village that is known as Walatowa, a Towa word meaning “this is the place.”

The scenery at this first stop was lovely, although the fall colors were just beginning to show.

Jemez fall colors

The Jemez River and red cliffs.

We saw American Robins in the Rocky Mountain Junipers, feasting on berries.

American Robin in a Rocky Mountain Juniper

American Robin in a Rocky Mountain Juniper

Dark-eyed Juncos foraged on the ground.

Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon variety).

Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon variety).

Our next stop was Battleship Rock, a spectacular basalt rock cliff at the confluence of the Jemez River and the East Fork of the Jemez River. An interesting fact about this formation is that the basalt columnar joints are horizontal rather than the much more common vertical joints.

Battleship Rock

Prow of Battleship Rock, surrounded by fall colors.

Fly fisherman near Battleship Rock.

Fly fisherman near Battleship Rock.

Jemez River near Battleship Rock.

Jemez River near Battleship Rock.

Glorious Gambel Oak color near Battleship Rock.

Glorious Gambel Oak color near Battleship Rock.

Before we took the road to Fenton Lake, we stopped to admire this hillside covered in flaming Gambel Oak foliage.

Gambel Oak cover this hillside.

Gambel Oak cover this hillside.

We paused to admire this lovely Mountain Bluebird.

Jemez Fall Color

Mountain Bluebird

On our way to Fenton Lake we stopped at an overlook where we got our first real look at Quaking Aspen and their spectacular golden autumn color.

Golden Quaking Aspen in the Jemez Mountains.

Golden Quaking Aspen in the Jemez Mountains.

Lovely stand of Quaking Aspen at the overlook.

Lovely stand of Quaking Aspen at the overlook.

Another view from the overlook.

Another view from the overlook.

Gambel Oak at the overlook in the Jemez Mountains.

Gambel Oak at the overlook.


We stopped and ate a lovely picnic lunch at Fenton Lake. We were joined by two Steller’s Jays …

Steller's Jay, Fenton Lake, Jemez Mountains, New Mexico.

Steller's Jay

… and this cute little Least Chipmunk.

Least Chipmunk, Fenton Lake, Jemez Mountains, New Mexico.

Least Chipmunk

Everywhere we went we were surrounded by gorgeous fall color.

Quaking Aspen, Jemez Mountain, Santa Fe National Forest, New Mexico.

Quaking Aspen grove.

In Part II of this post I will show you what we saw on our return trip.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

[tweetmeme source=”LRockwellatty” only_single=false]

8 Comments

Filed under Jemez Mountains, New Mexico scenery