Travel Center

West Elk Loop

Length: 205 miles. Driving time: 6-8 hours.

Crested ButteWest Elk Loop MapThe twin summits of Mount Sopris and the incomparable Black Canyon of the Gunnison anchor the ends of the West Elk Loop. This magnificent landscape has been home to uncounted generations of Native Americans, most recently the Utes. White settlers originally came in search of minerals and stayed to farm and ranch. The coke ovens at Redstone bear witness to the toil that built the communities of today. Carbondale, Hotchkiss, Crawford, Gunnison, Crested Butte, and other towns offer a slice of Colorado's rich history, varied lifestyles, and natural beauty. The route gives access to the White River and Gunnison National Forests, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Curecanti National Recreational Area, and Crawford and Paonia State Parks.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Blue Mesa Reservoir
Curecanti National Recreation Area
Crawford State Park
Paonia State Park
Cyrstal River Hatchery
Roaring Judy Hatchery
Hotchkiss National Fish Hatchery 

Local Chamber of Commerce(s):
Marble Crystal River
Glenwood Chamber (near West Elk Loop) 

News & Itineraries:
AAA Colorado: Encompass: Mini Tour: Retro Travelers: June 2013

Special Considerations:
31-mile gravel section over Kebler Pass closed in winter.
Contact Information

U.S. Forest Service
P.O. Box 309
Carbondale CO 81623

West Elk Loop Scenic and Historic Byway

Contact Information


Lenore C. Bates
Colorado Scenic Byways Coordinator
4201 E Arkansas Ave, Shumate Bldg
Denver CO 80222-3406

Colorado Tourism Office
Call 1-800-COLORADO (800-265-6723)

2016 Partnerships

Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways 2016 partnerships

All-American Road Sponsor:


America's Byways Sponsor:

Colorado Vacation Directory


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Colorado: The Official State Web Portal