Best time to visit Colorado

Kebler Pass in Colorado

A scenic drive through aspen forests, alpine meadows and mountain lakes

Best time: mid-June–mid-October

Kebler Pass
Kebler Pass
Kebler Pass

Kebler Pass is a beautiful high-mountain pass between Crested Butte and Paonia. The road goes west from Crested Butte to Highway 133, near a mining town of Somerset. You'll be driving through the lush Gunnison National Forest, famous for its fall foliage and some of the largest aspen groves in the United States. Besides, Kebler Pass road is part of the West Elk Loop, a national scenic byway, and can be used as a scenic shortcut to get to Aspen with magnificent views of the West Elk Mountains.

Kebler Pass facts

The highest point of the pass is 10,007 feet (3,048 m) above sea level. The speed limit is just 30 mph (48 kmh), and the grades are not that steep. So the 30-mile (40-km) pass requires 2 hours to drive through.

When is Kebler Pass open

The gravel road is open for traffic from approximately mid-June to mid-October. It’s closed every winter after the first substantial snowfall, which makes the road impassable. For the latest updates check out the Colorado Department of Transportations.

Kebler Pass fall colors

During fall, Kebler Pass becomes one of the most photographed places in the state. The area boasts Colorado's largest aspen grove, situated between Crested Butte and Paonia in the Gunnison National Forest. The grove, which has over 45,000 trees shares a single root system, covering over 100 acres.

Because the trees are connected, they change colors in the fall at the same time. The grove looks like a sea of gold approximately from mid-September until early October. Take a scenic drive on Kebler Pass to enjoy the magnificent sight of thousands of aspens. Please keep in mind that peak colors only last several days!

Kebler Pass camping

There are campsites near most lakes and near Crested Butte for those who decide to spend the night and take advantage of the premium Colorado hiking experience. Lake Irwin Campground and Lost Lake Campground-Paonia RD are famous for excellent fishing opportunities. Erickson Springs Campground is another popular pick.

Kebler Pass hiking trails

Gunnison National Forest is home to dozens of scenic trails. One of the treasured hiking areas is tucked right off the Kebbler Pass—the Three Lakes Loop with the trailhead sitting next to Lost Lake. This moderately easy 4.7-mile (7.6-km) alpine hike is a must if you wish to discover the area on foot.

Practical info

What is the optimal time for enjoying Kebler Pass's scenic drive?

Visitors can enjoy Kebler Pass's scenic drive, which passes through alpine meadows, mountain lakes, and aspen forests, from mid-June to mid-October without obstruction. The road is closed, and impassable in winter, and recent visitor data suggest that the optimal time to visit Kebler Pass lies in September and early October, when the aspen grove covering over 100 acres, consisting of 45,000 trees, changes its colors to brilliant gold. The pass is situated on West Elk Loop, a national scenic byway. Show more

What is the highest point's altitude at Kebler Pass, and what should drivers be aware of?

Located at an altitude of 10,007 feet (3,048 m) above sea level, Kebler Pass requires a moderate pace of driving and is best suited for people who prefer to take their time enjoying scenery that passes between the two ends of the pass. The Forty-kilometer-long (30-mile-long) Kebler pass has a speed limit of 48kmph (30 mph). The road's serpentine tarmac snakes through stunning nature's best views, so visitors have more than enough stops to soak in the scenery. Show more

When can one visit Kebler Pass?

Kebler Pass is available for travel from mid-June until mid-October because the street isn't cleared up for traffic during the winter months, when it is closed. The weather conditions play a critical role in deciding the actual duration, and it is advised that visitors check the latest updates on the road's status from the Colorado Department of Transportation. Those interested in visiting must ensure that they plan their trip according to the dates that it remains open. Show more

Why is Kebler Pass such a popular destination during the autumn season?

People flock to the Kebler pass during the fall season as it boasts Colorado's largest aspen grove, covering over 100 acres and 45,000 trees that share a single root system whose leaves change colors simultaneously, providing visitors with breathtaking golden tree sightings. The optimum time for experiencing this natural wonder lasts from mid-September to early October, with the best views lasting only a few days. Kebler Pass is also one of the highlights of the West Elk Loop, a national scenic byway. Show more

What hiking areas are located near Kebler Pass, and where is their trailhead located?

The Three Lakes Loop is among the most magnificent hiking destinations in the Gunnsion National Forest situated near the Kebbler Pass. The trailhead for this moderately easy 7.6-km (4.7-mile) hike is located at the Lost Lake campground, but visitors can opt for other exciting campsites, including Lake Irwin Campground, Lost Lake Campground - Paonia RD, and Erickson Springs Campground. Visitors are encouraged to visit the Three Lakes Loop, the ultimate way to explore the Kebbler Pass area on foot. Show more

External Resources

Ask a question
Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin