For an enjoyable afternoon of taking in the scenic beauty of Crested Butte and the surrounding area, take a drive over the lovely Kebler Pass. This gorgeous trip takes motorists on a climb to over 10,000 feet between Crested Butte and Highway 133. The 30 mile long drive (one way) takes just under two hours under normal driving conditions.
Overview of Scenic Kebler Pass Road Trip
Kebler Pass gives visitors a chance to take in the beautiful aspen trees of the surrounding area, especially during peak color time in the fall months. Their brilliant shades of orange, yellow and red are certainly a sight to behold. The landscape is also quite stunning in other seasons as well, and is a wonderful example of the beauty of Colorado’s natural vistas. Driving over the pass gives great views of the surrounding West Elk Mountains and the Ruby Range, giving photographers plenty of subjects along the way.
The pass began as a railroad route and is approximately 30 miles long. It takes about two hours to complete the drive in one direction. The route is alternately paved and gravel, and all kinds of transportation are welcome on the road including bikes. The road follows Coal Creek west from Crested Butte and climbs gradually past the old Keystone Mine. The gravel section of road follows the old Rio Grande Railroad grade toward Kebler Pass and the former mining camps of Irwin and Ruby, the Telco lumber camp, and the coal mining town Floresta. At the top of Kebler Pass, the left fork in the road will take you toward Ohio Pass and Gunnison. The right fork goes toward Kebler Pass. The pass then heads into the Anthracite Creek drainage and meets Highway 133 at the Paonia Dam.
There are wonderful activities to indulge in outside the Kebler Pass route itself. There are two hiking trails located along the way that are moderately difficult. The first is Dyke Trail, which starts in the Irwin Lake area about thirty minutes outside of town. The second is Lost Lake Trail and begins in approximately the same location. You can also try the hiking route that is part of the West Maroon Pass between Crested Butte and Aspen. Kebler Pass is closed in winter months, from mid-October to mid-June, generally. During this time, the pass is a popular route for snowmobiling.
Kebler Pass was named for Julian Kebler. Kebler was a chief lieutenant for the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company.
Driving Directions to Kebler Pass from Crested Butte
To get to Kebler Pass from Crested Butte, take CO-12 (Whiterock Avenue) west out of town. This road climbs up and over Kebler Pass where it then intersects with Highway 133. Turn right to go south towards Somerset, Paonia and Hotchkiss or north towards Carbondale.
Don’t forget to take your camera and your binoculars! This is one scenic drive you will want to remember.
With so much to do in Crested Butte you will not know where to start. Enjoy the outdoors with hiking, biking, golf, fishing, rafting and much more!! Crested Butte Real Estate Market offers a wide variety of properties including ski in/ski out single family homes, ski-in/ski-out condominiums, lake and river frontage properties, golf course property, and true luxury mountain homes on acreage. To see featured properties or search the MLS – visit chriskopf.com. Contact Crested Butte Realtor, Chris Kopf at: (970) 209-5405.