Wonders of the Western Slope Fall Drives: Kebler Pass

By: Dann Cianca, Weekday Morning Meteorologist Email
By: Dann Cianca, Weekday Morning Meteorologist Email

KEBLER PASS, Colo. - Over the next several weeks, Wonders of the Western Slope will be highlighting some of western Colorado's best fall drives.

The road through Colorado's West Elk Mountains over Kebler Pass crosses some of Colorado's most scenic country.

“People have referred to this as the ‘Golden Highway’," explained spokeswoman for the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre & Gunnison National Forests, Lee Ann Loupe. “It’s a gorgeous drive. It’s about thirty miles long. It takes about two hours to drive it each way and it connects from just north of Paonia to the town of Crested Butte.”

Like many of the pathways through the High Country, this road has its roots in the mining industry.

“This road was initially a horse route, a wagon route, and then in the late 1800s, 1893 about… the railroad came in and put in tracks," Loupe said.

Now, it exists as a link for ranchers, hunters, recreationists and those just looking to take in the view.

And that view is incredible, with towering mountains and more!

“We have large stands of aspen and we have a whole array of wildlife that live within those zones, between birds, sometimes you can look up and see flying hawks, sometimes eagles. There’s a lot of elk and deer up in here, probably some bear!”

The road is usually closed from October through June due to snow and by summer, the campers arrive at places like the Lost Lake Campground.

“It was just rebuilt a couple years ago. It is a very popular campground… really beautiful setting. You have the backdrop of the mountains. You have brand new camp sites put in here. There’s a lake for fishing and there’s a lot of hiking and neat things to do around here.”

The road seems to be most popular in the fall, however.

“Fall is a great season to be out and about on the forest. The bugs are down. The weather’s great. You get the changing colors. Hard to beat that!”

The entire route winds through huge and deep stands of aspen. When you're not in the aspen, you're viewing them from above, almost as far as the eye can see

“Colorado’s known for its beauty, especially in the fall. When you get this beautiful aspen with the green spruce and the backdrop of the mountains, it doesn’t get any prettier than that. It’s what brings people to Colorado," said Loupe. "I definitely think this area’s one of the Wonders of the Western Slope. Kebler Pass, this road is just gorgeous where it goes in and out. A lot of people drive it.”

So, take a drive down this “Golden Highway’, this Wonder of the Western Slope and don’t forget to bring your camera!

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