Ruby Mountain Range

Ruby Mountain Range

The time is finally here. This weekend marks the peak of the aspens turning, so bust out your cameras and heads for the hills. With snow creeping into the forecast now is the perfect time to capture fall in Colorado. The aspen trees have been changing colors for a few weeks now and the mountains are littered with gold. For me this is what Colorado fall is all about, snow capped peaks, clear blue skies, and glistening golden trees. It really is almost too pretty, but that is why we live here.

Kebler Pass Aspens

Kebler Pass Aspens

 

If you have ventured to your usual lookouts for a picturesque moment and are looking to shake things up; head to Kebler Pass. Kebler Pass holds the largest aspen grove in all of Colorado and the United States. Not only is the grove the largest, but the tree themselves are large and in charge. Dominating the landscape these aspens are healthy and growing. Walking among them can leave even the tallest mountain man feeling dwarfed. Located just west of Crested Butte in the Elk Mountains there are no major roadways that pass thru the area. The silence is golden and the only way to access Kebler Pass is on County Road 12. This is a well maintained gravel road that weaves right thru the heart of the aspen grove and leads you to the summit. From hear you can take in 360 degree views of the Ruby Mountain Range whose jagged knife-like peaks look over the entire area.

Kebler Pass, Colorado

Kebler Pass, Colorado

 

The easiest way to access this road is from the town of Crested Butte.  Although it is a lengthy drive west from our beloved city, neither your camera nor you will regret it. Once in Crested Butte you’ll find Whiterock Avenue; head west about a half mile until it becomes County Road 12. Let the adventure begin. From here the sights will just keep on coming. The drive up and down the pass is about 30 miles from Crested Butte before it intersects with to Highway 133. Following this highway will take you over to the small town of Peonia, Colorado.

 

Though Kebler Pass offers a beautiful drive there are many opportunities to get out of the car. My favorite is the Three Lakes Hike. This hike, along with Kebler Pass, is closed during the winter months due to the high altitude and weather conditions. The trail-head is located on the pass at the Lost Lake Campground. Parking can be found at the trail-head. This area does charge a $4 day use fee. At the trail-head you will find signs headed towards Lost Lake Slough, Middle Creek Falls and Dollar Lake. The complete loop is 4.5 miles long, with moderate short climbs that dip up and down hovering around 10,007 feet in elevation. If you were going to make this trip into a weekend exploration, which you should, the Lost Lake Campground is the best place to stay. This location cannot be beat and you can explore till your camera can take no more.

Kebler Aspen Grove

Kebler Aspen Grove

The Deets:

Mileage?

  • 233 Miles west of Denver

Elevation?

  • 10,007 Ft. at Kebler Pass Summit
  • 8,885 Ft. at Crested Butte

Elevation Gain?

  • 1,122 Ft.

Fee?

  • $4 Day Use, at trail-head only
  • $18 Per night Camping

Camping?

  • Yes – Tent and RV permitted

Camping Reservations?

  • No

Hiking Mileage?

  • 4.5 Miles

Hiking Difficulty?

  • Moderate

Features?

  • Ruby Mountain Range, Dog Friendly, Scenic Drive, Epic Foliage, Hiking, Camping, Biking, Fishing

Extra Goodies?

  • Town of Crested Butte, Town of Peonia, West Elk Mountains

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