Unaweep-Tabeguache Scenic Byway
Naturita Canyon, along the Unaweep-Tabeguache Scenic Byway
Unaweep Canyon cuts through the red sandstone of the Uncompahgre Plateau all the way to Precambrian geology. Hundreds of millions of years of the geologic record is exposed, including fossils of dinosaurs and early amphibians. In spite of the abandoned and closed uranium and copper mines in the area, what is really offered is sheer scenic wonder: thousand foot high striated cliffs, raging streams and unbounded skies.
So far, I've only been able to drive this Scenic Byway from Naturita to Placerville. In getting to Naturita and driving this route, I hadn't realized how big western Colorado's canyon country is. Just the short section I drove: from Naturita up out of the canyon to Norwood and then down into the canyon again to Placerville. Next year I've got to drive the whole byway, what I've seen so far was enough to just whet my appetite.
In 2009 the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area was finally officially established at the northern end of the Unaweep-Tabeguache Scenic Byway. Included in the NCA is the 66,280-acre Dominguez Canyon Wilderness.
I've broken my presentation down like this:
Looking northwest from just southeast of Norwood
San Miguel River Canyon, southeast of Norwood
San Miguel River, just northwest of Placerville