West Elk Loop

Department of Transportation.

The 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 Monument, Curecanti National Recreational Area, and Crawford and Paonia State Parks.


Navigating the Byway:

This byway follows CO Hwy 133 south from the town of Carbondale to the Paonia Reservoir. Here, the byway begins a loop which eventually meets back at the reservoir again. Staying on CO Hwy 133 and traveling west will take you through the town of Paonia to the town of Hotchkiss. From here, the byway meanders along CO Hwy 92 south until it joins up with State Hwy 50, about 52 miles away. The byway then follows Hwy 50 for 28 miles until it reaches the town of Gunnison. From Gunnison, the byway follows CO Hwy 135 northward through the town of Almont to the town of Crested Butte. From Crested Butte, the byway travels west again over a dirt and gravel section of road for 31 miles until it joins Hwy 133 again at the Paonia Reservoir.

Additional Information