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Colorado Scenic Byway - West Elk LoopContrast the rugged beauty of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, a gorge with the steepest drop-off cliffs in North America, with the Crystal River Valley and you have the majestic beauty of the West Elk Loop in Colorado.

As you travel this 205-mile pristine wilderness route, you’ll discover mining communities and mountain towns popping up along the way.

West Elk Loop - Scenic Byway of ColoradoFirst up, Carbondale, filled with galleries and boutiques, and a view of Mount Sopris. Next, explore the very quaint town of Redstone, where coke ovens once used for processing coal peacefully exist with the 42 room mansion of the founder, Cleveholm Manor.

The marble used in the Lincoln Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, DC came from Marble.

After Paonia and Hotchkiss, explore Gunnison, which hoped to be Colorado’s first state capitol.

And last up, Crested Butte, with a Victorian Historic District decked out in bright colors that is also home to home of some of Colorado’s best skiing. Visit the Pioneer Museum in Gunnison to learn the whole story.         

West Elk Loop - Colorado Scenic Byway