Fall colors at their finest. See the largest grove of aspens on earth. Avoid the crowds (sorf of).

Kebler Pass, or Gunnison County Road (GCR) 12, is an excellent place to see fall colors in Colorado. You won't get nearly as much congestion as on Independence Pass in Aspen, but you get just as many yellow and amber leaves. The road is dirt but passable by any vehicle–although because it's at over 10,000 feet–it's closed in winter and can get extremely muddy if it snows or rains. The mud is slick. You'll want a 4WD vehicle, and boots for all weather if you're going to be stopping along the way to take photos.

Your jaw will start dropping as you take McClure Pass, just after the small town of Redstone. Follow 133 all the way over and just past Paonia State Park. You'll take a left on GCR 12 for 30 miles of incredible views, winding up right in downtown Crested Butte.

Pack List

  • 4WD car (high clearance ideal but not necessary)
  • Camera and photography gear
  • Hiking boots for stops along the way
  • Snacks
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Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Autumn
Features
Forest
Scenic

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Timing

Make sure you go no later than the end of September or the beginning of October! The colors can fade quickly with the cold temperatures that are frequently here early in the fall.

Probably the best place in Colorado for fall photography

Give yourself at least a long weekend here to explore all the photographic possibilities for sunrise and sunset. This location is major chunk of my Colorado Fall Colors eBook guide.

Some of the best aspen groves around!

The aspens groves on this drive are some of the biggest in Colorado. Make sure you time your trip for peak colors, this usually starts the last week of September until early October.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Bike the Lower Loop

While the trailhead for Lower Loop actually begins a mile and a half up Peanut Lake Road, travelers should start the trip from the town of Crested Butte, or by leaving vehicles in the designated park.

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Camp at Kebler Pass

Camping on Kebler Pass begins at around GPS: 38.89575, -107.214655. The pass is only available during the warmer summer months but is quite the treat.

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Hike to Meridian Lake

The trail starts off with a small river crossing. You can find an easier place to cross nearby, or just march right through, if you have waterproof shoes or sandals.

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