McClure Pass, Colorado (Elevation 8,755 Feet)

My Bike Ride On The West Side Of The Pass - Paonia Reservoir To The Summit

Biking Colorado Mountain Passes
June 22, 2013 - Today I biked from Paonia Reservoir to McClure Pass, a 16-mile climb with a 2600+ gain in elevation. Frequently, I've been to the east side where the towns of Carbondale, Redstone and Marble are situated, but this time, I wanted to see something entirely new to me.

McClure Pass, Colorado
My 2008 Trek 1.2 bicycle, my faithful partner, is still getting it done! :)

Photos and write-up by Steve Garufi in Fruita, Colorado. Facebook - Twitter - Pinterest - YouTube

Click any image to view it at a larger size.
I started below the dam of Paonia Reservoir and parked where State Highway 133 and the road to Kebler Pass meet.

Carbondale, Crested Butte and Gunnison. You're in the heart of Colorado!

Colorado Mountain Scenery A view of the valley and road that leads to Kebler Pass and Crested Butte.

Camp Idrahaje West is in the foreground with West Beckwith Peak (12438') in the background. So pretty.

Paonia Reservoir

Paonia Reservoir, Colorado

Paonia Reservoir

The road goes along Paonia State Park, a manmade lake that dams the North Fork Gunnison River.
At the turnoff where you can go west toward Collbran The hard climbing begins.

There's also a sign: Six miles to McClure Pass. Expect much pain and anguish until you reach the top!

Colorado Road

3 Miles Per Hour

Biking upward. Often, I was in the two to four miles per hour range. :o)

Other Colorado mountain passes that are great for biking:

  • Cottonwood Pass
  • Independence Pass
  • Monarch Pass
  • Poncha Pass
  • Trout Creek Pass

  • McClure Pass, Colorado

    McClure Pass, Colorado

    Then finally, I made it. :)

    There are plenty of beautiful aspen groves at the pass. If you enjoy fall colors, this might be a great place to visit.

    Mountains Don't get wrong, there's nothing bad about the west side of McClure Pass, but the larger and more scenic mountains are on the east side in the Carbondale, Redstone, Marble section. Also, stop by Hays Creek Falls; it's a short walk from the highway near Redstone.

    Here's one photo of towering mountains as I faced the other side of the pass.

    Paonia, Colorado With the ride done and my bike stowed in my trunk, I pulled over to snap this photo of mountains in Paonia. If you want a more challenging bike ride, start in Paonia where it's 33 miles to McClure Pass.


    Paonia Reservoir and its mountains were so pretty.


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