We took a road trip to south central Colorado to see the final colors of fall. With Gunnison and Crested Butte as our destination, we made a few stops along the way to enjoy the scenery and see a few new sites. A couple hours into our travels, we veered off the beaten path to find a Colorado ghost town.
Saint Elmo was established in 1880 and originally named Forest City because of its remote location. It was founded to support the men working in the nearby mines and at its height was the largest town in the area with almost 2,000 residents. In 1890, part of the town was destroyed by fire and never rebuilt. By 1900, the town population was only 64 residents. However, the Stark family ran the general store until the 1950’s until Annie Stark, the last of the siblings passed away.
After finding no ghosts at the ghost town, we headed onward to our destination via Cottonwood Pass. We spotted some lingering Aspen gold along the pass, but the vibrant yellows and golds were soon exchanged for white snow as we reached the 12,126 ft summit of Cottonwood Pass at the Continental Divide. Here we stopped to stretch our legs and let Furry B romp in the snow. This stop offered great snow capped views of the Sawatch (not Sasquatch) mountain range. After snapping a few pics, we continued on the unpaved section of the pass into Taylor Reservoir, and on to Gunnison for the night. Gunnison is surrounded by three mountain ranges, mountain streams and beautiful scenery, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Even though the sun shines almost every day, it is also known as the coldest town in winter in the United States due to its location at the bottom of several valleys. Western State Colorado University calls Gunnison home, and its “W” located on Tenderfoot Mountain is the world’s largest collegiate symbol. Their athletic facilities are also a world record holder, being recognized as the highest collegiate football field in the world at 7,750 feet.
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After a night in the small mountain town, we continued our road trip to Kebler Pass, one of the world’s best places to view gold Aspens. Being mid-October we may have missed the peak of the Aspen’s golden transformation, but the drive did not disappoint. There was still plenty of color to enjoy and it was fun to see the contrast between the fall colors and the recent snowfall. With a successful photography session on Kebler Pass, we spent the late afternoon exploring nearby Crested Butte. Crested Butte is one of America’s great ski towns, but the entire town only covers an area of 0.7 square miles. Skiing has been the main town attraction since the 1960’s and Crested Butte also claims to have created the sport of mountain biking. (Fun Fact: Many locals believe the movie Avatar is based on the town of Crested Butte.)
Fun with Leaves (Click FAST)