You know how sometimes you see a picture of a place and it absolutely takes your breath away? All you can do is close your eyes and picture yourself there. Imagine the sound of the rustling gold leaves on the tree branches above you, feel the wind kissing your cheeks, and when you open your eyes. It’s the sight of a falcon soaring across the sun in the light blue sky that you see, not the flash of your computer screen in front of you. Kebler Pass is one of those pictures, except now, this is your opportunity to really be there and experience all the sights and sounds you’ve only imagined.
A Scenic Mountain Pass
Kebler Pass is a gorgeous high-elevation mountain pass connecting Crested Butte with Panoia to the west. From Crested Butte, head west Highway 133, just north of a tiny mining village known as Somerset. The 30-mile stretch of highway coasts along a gravel road, and lucky for all of us, it is passable in a two-wheel drive, low clearance car. The road is a gentle grade with a 30-mph speed limit, making the entire drive approximately two hours. Accessible only from late May to early November (or as long as there’s no snow), this memorable drive offers a seasonal shortcut to Aspen.
Winding its way through the Gunnison National Forest, the summit peaks at 10,007 feet above sea level as the road winds you through a breathtaking alpine terrain. Many visitors choose to stop and enjoy themselves along the way, opting to hike or bike on trails along the way. There are two lakes located a couple of miles off the pass—Lake Irwin and Lost Lake—which are also popular spots to stop for a day trip or spend a night camping.
A Seasonal Mountain Highway Paved in Gold
Gold from the billowing aspen trees, that is. Known best for its premiere views of one of the largest aspen groves in the United States, a drive along Kebler Pass will blow you away if you’re lucky enough to visit in the autumn months when the leaves begin to change. This grove is nestled in the West Elk Mountains and is breathtaking at any time of year. Crested Butte is known as the “wildflower capital of Colorado,” so you can bet the blooming buds make this a memorable trip in the spring and summer months as well.