Kebler Pass

Kebler Pass is a very scenic dirt road through the West Elk Mountains. In the summer it is well maintained for passenger car traffic, since it is an important connection between Crested Butte and points north, such as the I70 corridor. In the winter it's closed. Depending on maintenance, the road can have quite a bit of washboard surface, but as a whole is very rideable in an aerobic style. I don't know any Colorado Pass that has more colorful Aspen than the western approach to Kebler Pass.

1.(mile00,8914ft) START-FINISH EAST : Crested Butte
2.(mile06,8938ft) jeep trail turnoff to Ruby Lake is on right
3.(mile07,9906ft) dirt road turnoff to Ohio Pass is on left, stay right
4.(mile07,10000ft) TOP: Kebler Pass, Irwin town site cemetary is near here on right
5.(mile25,6767ft) road crosses Anthracite Creek, dark Canyon trail begins here, road is paved for a short distance
6.(mile31,6311ft) START-FINISH WEST : Kebler Pass road joins Mc Lure Pass road
 

Approaches

From West. Between points 5 and 6 the road follows Anthracite Creek. After a short paved section, the first real climb begins. You are rewarded with a magnificent view of the Ragged Mountains. The scenic variety along the rest of the climb is unsurpassed. Sometimes it's the cirques of the Ruby Range ahead, at others it's the peaks of the West Elks to the west. The curve below Marcellina Mountain is the most popular stopping point for views to west and south, during some fall weeks across a sea of yellow aspen trees. The route flattens for several miles, even goes downhill, and then buries itself in the aspen forest. It remains in the trees while crossing the top.

From East. The climb is short, as steady as they come and in the trees. As of at least July/05 the initial miles leaving Crested Butte are paved. The rest of the approach is a hard medalled surface that is also suitable to a degree for road bikes. The same route serves as approach to Ohio Pass. The turnoff is almost at the top of Kebler Pass. 

A Day on a Two Day Tour with this point as the highest summit:

PARTIALLY PAVED/UNPAVED

(<Schofield Pass|)
Kebler Pass, McLure Pass : Crested Butte > Kebler Pass > McLure Pass > Marble: 61miles (mech Odo (m1:87.10.04).
Notes: ride with G and Colorado Mountain Club. The Schofield Pass page contains an overview of both days


lower
                        southern turnoff to Kebler Pass


History

Kebler Pass and Ohio Pass were part of the Ute Trail network. The trail connected the area of the present town of Gunnison to the White River Valley near Rangely. If you would follow this trail today, you would start in Gunnison and cross Ohio and Kebler Passes. You would turn onto Rte 133 towards McLure Pass. Ride a little more than halfways up the pass and then head up East Muddy Creek to cross the 10 to 11 thousand foot high plateau,  separating the valley of the North Gunnison from the valley of the Colorado. From Silt you follow the Colorado downstream to de Beque. The route goes up Roan Creek and connects to Douglas Pass. From there it decends along Rte 139 to Rangely and the White River.

Later both Kebler and Ohio passes served as a supply route for a short lived gold and silver boom near their summits, lasting till 1885. Back then Ohio Pass was the more important supply route. It had a stage line as well as a railroad partly up the valley.

This brings us to today, when Kebler pass eclipses Ohio Pass in importance and also in traffic. Kebler Pass is possibly the most important dirt road connection in Colorado. In the summer it connects Crested Butte with the world to the northwest, Aspen, Glenwood, finally I70. Ohio Pass, on the other hand, is of no importance from a traffic standpoint. The only town of any size, Crested Butte, is more easily reached via the valley route from Gunnison. Kebler Pass traffic can be especially heavy during late September and early October, when the pass becomes one of the prime aspen leaf viewing routes. Sadly motorists outnumber cyclists by a large margin, not only during that special time.

Kebler Pass
                        with fall colors