Climate & Terrain
Mineral County consists of alpine valleys hemmed in by rugged peaks, some reaching over 14,000 feet. Creede, at 8,852 feet, may take a day or two of adjustment; usually just relaxing and increasing your fluid intake will help you acclimate to the altitude.
Spring: Spring is variable, as the elements decide when winter is over and summer can begin.
Summer: Mineral County has 275+ sunny days per year! Summer is bathed in warm sunshine and cool breezes with chilly nights. Average summer temperatures are 70-75 degrees during the day and drop to the 40s at night. Short afternoon rain showers can be expected from mid-June through mid-August.
Fall: Fall is a combination of bright, sunny days and crisp, chilly nights.
Winter: Winter can be cold with temperatures down to –20; however, an abundance of sunshine curbs the chill. Winter will surprise you with a 25 degree day that will have you shedding your coat, and some chilly nights that make the turtlenecks and parkas worth their while. The surrounding mountains receive heavy snowfall, but the snow is light (1-2 feet at a time) on the valley floor. Wolf Creek Pass usually has some of the heaviest snowfall in the state.
In all seasons, mountain terrain can make its own local weather, and changes can be rapid. Dress in layers, and make sure that you take along warm or protective clothing even on the nicest of days. Our weather is part of the adventure. Sunset brings an immediate drop in temperature that may require heavier clothing.
As the winter snow melts, spring snow falls. Streams and rivers swell, bringing a wealth of mountain water to Southwest Colorado. Some of this water is reserved for the green meadow grasses that will feed local wildlife and spur foward the growth of wildflowers, berries, and the distribution of seeds needed for next winter. The snowline recedes. Ridges change from white to dusky green, and so begins another year.
Our cool, high country provides refuge from cares, crowds, and the hectic pace of city living. It is the beautiful mountains, forests and canyons that draw our crowd. Creede offers fishing, rafting, camping, and horseback riding. We have a number of shops and boutiques available for browsing, and there is plenty of opportunity to eat at a number of locally-owned restaurants. Nothing beats a cool Creede summer.
Temperatures begin to drop and leaves are changing. Our Rocky Mountain setting provides a backdrop of beauty and grandeur that takes full advantage of every season. Warm, sunny days make it impossible to stay inside, and the first fires of the season are built as night falls. Hunting, fishing, and hiking are still in full force.
Winter is a season of enticing, sunny days and cold nights perfect for the warmth of a fire. Winter supports many outdoor activities, from snowmobiling on mountain trails to fishing for trout on frozen lakes and reservoirs. Our very low humidity makes winter an experience entirely unlike those at lower elevations and in more humid climates. A sunny day at 35 degrees is shirtsleeve weather for those enjoying the outdoors. While our evening temperatures in January and February often drop to zero, the common daytime rise to 30 or 40 degrees provides a friendly juxtaposition to the sharper cold of night.
Nature, history, and adventure define the Mineral County experience.
Headwaters of the Rio Grande and San Juan Rivers
Two mighty Southwest rivers rise in Mineral County’s San Juan Mountains. The Rio Grande, the third longest river in the U.S., is well known as the international border between Texas and Mexico. This great river begins high on the eastern slopes of the Continental Divide just west of Creede. Collecting water from many rivulets and smaller streams, including Willow Creek, which flows through downtown Creede, the Rio Grande gathers strength for its 1,800-mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. Tributaries of the San Juan River head on the Western Slope of the Continental Divide across from Spar City. This historic river dips into New Mexico, edges into Utah near the Four Corners, and joins the Colorado River just north of Lake Powell.