Jerry Boyer, longtime Spearfish-area resident, photographer and author, has been observing and recording the colorful fall transition in Spearfish Canyon for more than 30 years. Boyer's understanding of the canyon's vegetation has enabled him to put together a prediction-system-of-sorts for when the canyon colors might peak.
I just received my first update of the fall season from Boyer and it's full of exciting stuff! The short version is that Spearfish Canyon is currently estimated to be at 40% color saturation and will likely peak sometime in the last week of September.
Boyer's graph, above, shows the color change timelines of Spearfish Canyon for the past 16 years. This year's trend is the solid, bright yellow line.
For the next few weeks, as I continue to get his updates, I'll continue to share them with you here.
If you live in, or plan to visit, the Black Hills region in the next couple of weeks this might help you decide when to go for a scenic drive through Spearfish Canyon. If you're not in the area this season, at least you can view the changes vicariously through the travel blog and Boyer's updates. Enjoy!
Spearfish Canyon fall colors update as of September 13, 2010. Photos and information by Jerry Boyer, author, Canyon Echos.
The nearly 40% color saturation reported today marks the final stage of the lime phase, with its stunning contrast to the multiple colors on the canyon floor and the dark emerald greens of the canyon pine forest. Light yellows in the aspen and birch at the higher elevations, while brighter yellows in the oak and cottonwoods near lower Spearfish are now beginning to emerge. Heading towards the spectacular colorful burst in a week or so, and a peak that MAY come early between September 25th and 27th.
Please drive carefully to protect hikers, bikers, "slow-moving vehicles", and the little critters that are scurrying back and forth across the scenic roadway filling their empty nests for the long winter ahead.