Wet Mountain Valley might seem a deceptive name for an area with a semi-arid and low-humidity climate that resembles New Mexico’s more than northern Colorado’s. But the valley’s name comes from moisture-laden hills to its east. And with some 320 days of sunshine, our valley’s distinct seasons brim with beauty.
Wet snow weighs down branches in spring. Geese nest along lakes and ponds. Runoff flows from the mountains, filling streams and ditches that irrigate the valley’s fields. The year’s first wildflowers bloom, providing bouquets of blue flag iris and Indian paint brush.
Summer brings warmer weather and afternoon showers that sweep from the mountains into the valley. Ranchers bale hay as wildflowers, such as Lambert locoweed, fill the valley floor.
Warm days and chilly nights mark the start of autumn. Changing aspen leaves paint the mountainsides with golden and orange patches. As the season progresses, snow blankets surrounding peaks and morning frost sparkles on grasses and shrubs. Ermine coats change to winter white as deer and elk move to lower pastures.
Winter snow falls on the valley floor, but it usually doesn’t stay very long. Winter warm spells melt snow in the valley, while mountain trails remain covered.
There is no bad time to visit the Wet Mountain Valley. Each season offers something special, and our temperate climate makes it easy to enjoy them all.
Visit our Lodgings page to find a unique home base for your exploration of Westcliffe and Custer County.