Gunnison County, Colorado
Gunnison National Forest
Gunnison Ranger District
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map
Forest Service Road: 761
Trail Type: Straight Through
Nearby Towns: Aspen, Crested Butte, Gunnison
Nearby Trails: Italian Creek, Pearl Pass, Richmond Hill
Trail Length: 8.5 miles
Elevation: 9,423 to 11,908 feet
This is a great trail that connects the Italian Creek and Pearl Pass trails, though it can also be run on its own. It provides some amazing scenery, especially for viewing aspen trees on the north side. There is a great rocky section through a stream that would be challenging or impossible for stock 4x4 vehicles.
If you start from the south end on Taylor River Road it will most likely be very dusty. The road to get to the trailhead is very flat and easy, though. The trailhead is on the right as you get to camping spots in the trees.
The trail starts as a rocky climb on a narrow road. It would be difficult to pass someone here. If you are traveling north you will be headed uphill and should have the right-of-way in most circumstances.
You will be on Forest Service road 742. There is an important intersection where 742 continues to the left. You will instead continue on the trail straight ahead which is Forest Service road 761. This is the difficult and fun section of Taylor Pass.
You will travel in a stream on rocks, some of which are fairly large. You can weave around most of the large ones, however. It continues on in a shallow stream, then you climb out on a dirt hill at the end.
The climb up to the pass itself is steep, with tight switchbacks. Taylor Lake is at the bottom here.
Continue on the other side down a steep and narrow section. Be sure to check for vehicles coming uphill as they have the right-of-way.
The rest of the trail is beautiful and fairly mellow. The easy descent downhill is filled with aspen trees for a distance, and this section would be perfect for viewing the changing colors in the Fall.
At the end you will find yourself on pavement. Turn left to go to Pearl Pass or turn right to go to Aspen.
- July 25, 2009: ran by Gary, Jeffrey, Matt, Mike and Walt
- September 4, 2005: ran by Bob, Cheryl, Dave, Dave, Ladd, Micheal, Monica and Walt
From Taylor Park Reservoir, take Taylor River Road (Forest Service road 742) 17 miles, then turn right following signs to Taylor Pass. From Aspen, head south 11 miles on Castle Creek Road from Highway 82, then turn left on Express Creek Road.