Dark Canyon, Irwin, and Dyke Trail Loop is located on Kebler Pass which is known for its massive aspen trees in the fall. Not to leave out its sensational wildflowers in the summer months. Beautiful hike with endless views, incredible forests, beaver dams, and rugged mountains.


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For a fall hike, this one tops a lot of them! We drove from the town of Crested Butte and headed up CR 12 (Kebler Pass) for 11.7 miles to the Trailhead which is well marked on the right side of the road.

We started the loop counterclockwise and found ourselves engulfed in beautiful aspen groves immediately.



After numerous switchbacks of glorious aspens and fall foilage, we landed in open meadows. Kind of a lung buster up to here but rewarded with having the first signs of fall start our day.



What a treat as we wandered across the meadow of golds with a backdrop of intense purple and red high peaks. It’s gorgeous here and realized we have yet to see another hiker anywhere.





There were several areas of intense gold leaves and others still green but the sounds of leaves whispering in the slight breezes felt like fall is here to stay.

Just after the meadows, we found huge beaver ponds to our right as we started a downhill descent into a rugged forested area. From the looks of things it seemed, there would have been creeks flowing through here in the summer months.





A signpost “Ragged Wilderness” really explained what lied ahead. We just left West Elk Wilderness and the terrain and views changed dramatically. Much more rugged and wild here. Loved it. One last push to the top and it’s sensational.





It is pretty much downhill from here. We passed the trail sign on our right to “Oh Be Joyful Pass” (thought about it but did not turn!) I think our entire hike we turned left at every junction to make our loop.

Soon we found several rock outcroppings with views as far as 50 miles and hung here for a while. If you choose to do the loop going clockwise this would be a good stopping point for a short yet beautiful hike.





Back with the beautiful aspens again and loving the sound of leaves fluttering making a pleasant end to our hike. For the first time, we had lunch among the trees instead of where we can see for miles.

A trail you want to be prepared for with appropriate hiking gear. At high altitudes, dehydration plus fickle weather is always something to consider. CLICK HERE> for a look at the practical gear we carry in our backpacks on every hike.


One last beaver pond and we have ended our day. For an enjoyable summer or fall day hike this is perfect. Several trail options throughout allow you to make your own hike.

NOTE: Kebler Pass has seasonal closures: >Click Here for information


5.9 Mile Loop

Rated: moderate


Open to dogs, horses

Gunnison National Forest

West Elk Wilderness

Ragged Wilderness



On County Road 12, also called Kebler Pass Road. 11.7 miles from the town of Crested Butte, CO (take Whiterock Ave through town which turns into Kebler Pass) Take a right at Horse Ranch Park and park here. The Trailhead is just up the dirt road past the gate.




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Note: Many of the links are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission (at no added cost to you).