Scenic Drives

The West Elk Loop Scenic and Historic Byway has been described by a forest ranger as “the closest you can come to a wilderness experience in a passenger car.” This route has a unique combination of geological, historical, recreational, and scenic features.

Carbondale is the gateway for this magnificent adventure that takes you through the Crystal River Valley, whose well-watered reaches made it a favorite among both Native American and pioneer settlers. Scenic features include views of mountain ranges, fields of alpine wildflowers, farmlands, and cattle ranches. Recreational opportunities abound with hiking, backpacking, cycling, photography, rock climbing, and wildlife viewing.

Click here for more information about the West Elk Loop Scenic & Historic Byway.

Length: 205 miles.
Driving time: 6 to 8 hours.
Special considerations: 31-mile gravel section over Kebler Pass closed in winter.