Gunnison County Road 12, commonly known as Kebler Pass, runs between SR 133 between Paonia State Park and Crested Butte. This is a gravel road, closed in the winter, but passable by passenger car otherwise – as long as it is not really wet. Then one might be better in 4WD. The summit is neared Crested Butte at 10000′, and the road is about 33 miles in length and takes at lease two hours to traverse.
Why travel along Kebler Pass road? There are many areas for camping, hiking and biking, and includes a couple of beautiful mountain lakes called Lake Irwin and Lost Lake. The road is part of the West Elk Loop, which runs for 205 miles starting in Carbondale along SR 133 and winding through Crested Butte, Gunnison, Poania and several other towns.
The views of the West Elk Mountains, Ruby Ridge, Marcellina Mountain, West and East Beckwith Peaks and Gunnison National Forest are spectacular. This is especially true in late September and early October when the aspens are turning color from green to yellow and sometimes to oranges and reds.
Interestingly Aspens have a single root system, are a clonal colony and are a true single living organism. Some believe that the areas along Kebler Pass road form the largest aspen forest in the US. During our travels this recent fall, we felt that the single most spectacular area was along Kebler Pass. Plan your next visit to Colorado for this season and you will not be disappointed.