Directions

From the Town of Crested Butte:

As State highway 135 from Gunnison enters Crested Butte, continue to a 4-way stop and keep driving north toward the Mt. Crested Butte ski area. Technically, the highway becomes CR317. Just under a mile from the 4-way stop, turn left onto CR734. This road heads NW, following the Slate River to an old townsite called "Pittsburg." About 1.6 miles beyond Pittsburg, the road will take a sharp right at a switchback and will begin its ascent to Paradise Pass. If driving a passenger car, you should be able to make it to this point without any problem. At the switchback, a short road heads off NW to some camp spots and you could park a car here, somewhere. However, the road on up to the pass is in amazingly good shape and we have seen regular passenger cars with no extra ground clearance make it to the pass. Attempt at your own risk however and perhaps inquire locally about road condition before proceeding further, especially if there have been recent, heavy rains.

The remainder of this road climbs rather relentlessly for the next 3 miles to Paradise Pass. The middle section is steep as it works its way up through switchbacks. There are a couple of short sections that are rockier but don't present significant hazards to your undercarriage. At the pass, there's a small pond and several road options. The first road left of the main road (as it begins to head down the valley to the north) will take you to the Yule Pass trailhead parking. This last little stretch can be rockier. If uncomfortable driving that last bit, park in the vicinity of the pond somewhere.

Note: From the top of Paradise Pass, the same road drops north into Paradise Basin and becomes FR319. This road drops down and connects with the Schofield Pass road (FR317) a little west of Schofield Pass and east of the parking for the West Maroon Pass TH. While much of this road is drivable by passenger vehicle, we would recommend not attempting it because a few sections could become difficult, especially near the lower end where some larger potholes develop. For this section, a vehicle with some extra ground clearance would be a safer choice. FR317 taken east back over Schofield Pass will take you down to Gothic and back out to Crested Butte, closing out a highly scenic loop drive.

Additional Note: The Yule Pass trail heads WNW following an old mining road. The first half mile of this trail has some challenges crossing a couple of washed out drainages and narrowing to a teetering sloping trail in a few spots with crumbly rock & talus. Once the trail rounds Cinnamon Mountain it becomes much better with only a couple of other minor obstacles before reaching the pass.


Camping

Once you turn onto CR734 and get past the private property, there will be numerous camp spots all along this road. Take your pick. As the road begins the climb to Paradise Pass, at the first major switchback, there is some open camping at the switchback and then more spots on additional switchbacks or major curves on the way up to the pass. Then at the pass, there are any number of other possible camp spots. None of these are "maintained" campsites. Be warned that on good weather summer weekends, nearly every campsite you can find will be taken by Friday evening.

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