Description - This region lies south of the Elk Mountains and Grand Mesa and west of the Continental Divide. It includes spectacular mountains, and varied terrain that supports recreation activities of many types and all skill levels.
- This region includes some of the most spectacular scenery in Colorado. The terrain in this area of Colorado ranges from deep canyons to high mountains. The high Colorado Plateau, along the Utah-Colorado border, includes deep canyons in a semiarid desert. Natural and human history of the area is highlighted in Colorado National Monument, Hovenweep National Monument and Mesa Verde National Park.
Moving east into the mountains recreation enthusiasts will enjoy the public lands of Grand Mesa National Forest, Uncompahgre National Forest, San Juan National Forest and the Rio Grand National Forest. Other nationally maintained areas include the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument, Curecanti National Recreation Area, Uncompahgre Wilderness, La Garita Wilderness, Lizard Head Wilderness and Weminuche Wilderness.
For a more controlled commune with nature, the ski resorts of Telluride and Wolf Creek are open with lift service from November to April. Telluride provides world-class skiing and accommodations; while Wolf Creek boasts the deepest powder in the state.
Recreation - Recreation seekers will find outstanding venues for a vast amount of activities. The mountains and high plateaus of this region support hiking, mountain biking, fishing, backpacking, skiing, scenic driving, road biking and four-wheel driving.
Climate - The western third of the South Western Travel Region is a semiarid desert. The days are warm and dry with cool nights. The high-elevation (3,500 feet to 7,000 feet) of this area causes winter temperatures from November through April. The summer heat can be extreme in this region.
The eastern portions of this area are mountainous. Winter brings extreme weather with several feet of snow. Elevations reach 14,000 feet, where conditions require warm clothing year-round. Summer temperatures in the mountains are very pleasant, rarely reaching above 85 degrees. Summer nights can be cool.
Sunscreen is a must in every season if you plan to be out in the elements. The high elevations place you closer to the sun and an easy victim of harmful ultraviolet rays. Temperatures can vary as much as 40 degrees in the same day. The best protection from extreme temperatures is several layers of clothing.
This area extends south from the Elk Mountains and Grand Mesa and west from the Continental Divide. The Utah and New Mexico state borders form the western and southern boundaries of this area respectively.