Fall Canyon Colors Report

By Jerry Boyer
author: Canyon Echoes



September 30th


Canyon colors hit peak Monday, but so did the heavy hail.  Pockets of peak remain today with other areas muted and capped with snow.

See you all next year…Jerry
WOW.  Colors are bursting since Tuesday at 85%.  Looks like Sunday/Monday for peak just before Frosty arrives.  Weekend will be beautiful.
Unlike other canyons, the Fall color palette in Spearfish Canyon combines the unique convergence of 4 vegetation communities and 5 rock types within its 20-mile drive. The canyon’s rich biodiversity contains an unusually high ensemble of over 1,260 vibrantly colorful plant types. The contrasting multicolored canyon walls of green shale, red limestone, yellow sandstone, gray igneous, and tan limestone appear and disappear beneath the canyon floor. The scenic canyon drive follows the meandering bluish-green rapids of Spearfish Creek while the entire scene is framed in a deep emerald green pine and spruce forest.
Please drive carefully around the 86 canyon blind curves to protect the critters scurrying to fill their nests for the winter ahead, and the many bikers, and hikers walking the shoulders.
Maybe a final report on Monday.…Jerry


September 24th


Canyon colors are progressing steadily to 65%. More yellows appear while the limes are slowly fading away.


Leafy trees head Nature’s Call and set in motion complex biochemistry events. The chlorophyll in the leaves that once convert sunlight to food stops. The dark green leaves start to fade into a brilliant lime color, and eventually color pigments of yellow, red and gold appear. The word Deciduous comes from Latin words meaning “to fall.”


Along with cold air in the autumn comes dry air. Cold air cannot hold as many water molecules, so deciduous trees drop their leaves as a means to keep moisture inside to keep from freezing. Unlike leafy trees and plants, the leaves of evergreens trees are needles coated with wax. They do not shed their needles since they can keep enough moisture inside during the dry-air winter.


Please drive carefully around the 86 canyon blind curves to protect the critters scurrying to fill their nests for the winter ahead, and the many bikers, and hikers walking the shoulders.


Next report Friday.

Jerry J. Boyer, canyon author



September 17th

The Autumn palette of yellows, golds, reds, and oranges has burst through the lime phase at 45% color saturation.
The late start of the canyon colors may be due to the abundant moisture this year, 11″ of rain more than average.
Next report Friday



September 13th

Ever so slowly, canyon colors have reach 25% with hues of limes and gold permeating the view.  Only the early cottonwoods and groundcover show any signs of yellow.  40% is total saturation of lime before the burst of the autumn palette that may occur this weekend.


Next report Tuesday.


September 10th

Ever so slowly colors keep creeping into the canyon at 15% with mid-level shrubs showing slight yellow tinges while treetops of the leafy trees becoming more lime tones. At this pace, the Autumn display with peak may reach into October.
Next report Tuesday. 



September 6th

Canyon colors progressing slowly at 7% as abundant moisture this year has enriched the forest plant community.  Only the ground cover is beginning to display fall colors while the treetops are just barely beginning to show hints of yellow. 


The canyon floor is becoming rich in the yellows of the small-leaf dogbane, bracken fern, and reddish hues of the large-leaf wild grape and ivy (poison, that is -:)


Next report Tuesday.




September 4th



Slight hints of Autumn colors in Spearfish Canyon at 5%.


Tinges of gold and lime green creep throughout the canyon floor in the grasses and low hanging shrubs.


The late start may mean a longer Fall color display with peak in early October.



Canyon Colors 9/6

100% as of September 30th

Canyon Colors 9/6

85% as of September 27th

Canyon Colors 9/6

65% as of September 24th

Canyon Colors 9/6

45% as of September 17th

Canyon Colors 9/6

25% as of September 13th

Canyon Colors 9/6

15% as of September 10th

Canyon Colors 9/6

7% as of September 6th

Canyon Colors 9/6

5% as of September 4th