What's the best way to drive from Vail to CB in late September? I'm getting confusing results on some of the mapping software I'm using.
You have a few options and they depend on the types of roads you like best, and scenery you'd like to see.
From CB drive over Kebler Pass (through Colorado's largest aspen grove) and then continue either to Aspen on Hwy 134 (for longer more scenic drive, or down to Glenwood Springs via Carbondale on Hwy 82. Then head West on I-70 to Vail about 5 hours and worth every minute in the fall.
This route is more direct (3.5 hours) and NOT as spectacular in the fall and so happens to be the preferred winter route. From CB drive South to Gunnison, East on US 50 to Poncha Springs- North on Hwy 285/24 to Leadville. From Leadville 2 options; to Minturn (Hwy 24) which is less direct and very scenic, or to Copper mountain (Hwy 91), then West on I-70 to Vail.
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Kebler Pass is beautiful, last time I was there (many years ago) it was a gravel road. Not sure if it is paved or not now.
The other posters gave you the best routes as you have requested. In late September when the trees will be changing colors, I like going West on I-70 to the Minturn exit. Proceding south on Colorado Hwy. 24 through Leadville and into Buena Vista. In Buena Vista I turn west and take the road over Cottonwood Pass. It is paved road up to the top of Cottonwood Pass, then it turns into a Very Good (I drive my small car here) gravel road for about 12 miles down to Taylor Reservoir. At Taylor reservoir it turns back to paved road. The road is a beautiful drive down to Almont. At Almont I turn North and go to Crested Butte. I believe this is probably the shortest route.
When in Crested Butte, do take the time to drive to Keblar Pass. (another one of my favorite Colorado drives)
Thank you all very much!!
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