Taylor Pass: Outdoor Activities and Scenic Mountain Views


The Taylor Pass Trail, a stunning mountain pass located in the heart of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, offers a breathtaking escape for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Situated at an elevation of 11,928 feet, this picturesque pass connects the towns of Aspen and Crested Butte, providing a gateway to some of the most spectacular wilderness in the state.


  • Taylor Pass is a popular destination for hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and off-road adventures.
  • The pass connects Aspen and Crested Butte, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
  • Visitors can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities throughout the summer and fall seasons.

Exploring the Terrain: Hiking and Trekking Opportunities

Taylor Pass can be accessed at the Bowman Creek Trailhead and other places. It boasts an array of hiking trails suitable for all skill levels. The pass itself is part of a 14.9-mile trail that winds through dense forests, alpine meadows, and along the banks of the Taylor River. For those seeking a more challenging trek, the nearby Cathedral Lake Trail offers a steep climb rewarded with incredible views of the surrounding peaks.

When hiking in Taylor Pass, be sure to wear sturdy footwear, bring plenty of water, and pack layers to accommodate changing weather conditions. It’s also essential to be aware of altitude sickness, as the high elevation can affect some individuals.

Mountain Biking Trails

The Taylor Pass Trail area is a paradise for mountain biking enthusiasts, with numerous trails offering a mix of technical challenges and stunning views. The Star Pass Trail, which connects to Taylor Pass, is considered one of the top descents in the Crested Butte area. Riders can expect to encounter a variety of terrain, from smooth singletrack to rocky sections that demand skill and concentration.

If you’re new to mountain biking or unfamiliar with the area, consider hiring a trail guide or joining a group ride to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Fishing and Water Activities

The waters surrounding Taylor Pass are home to an abundance of fish, including trout and kokanee salmon. The Taylor River, which runs alongside the pass, offers excellent opportunities for fly fishing, while nearby Taylor Park Reservoir is a popular spot for boating and lake fishing.

Before casting your line, be sure to obtain a valid Colorado fishing license and familiarize yourself with local regulations and catch limits.

Photography and Nature Observation

With its stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife, Taylor Pass is a photographer’s dream. From wildflower-filled meadows to snow-capped peaks, there’s no shortage of breathtaking scenes to capture. Keep an eye out for marmots, pikas, and bighorn sheep, which are commonly spotted in the area.

For the best lighting conditions, plan your photography sessions during the early morning or late afternoon hours. Fall is a particularly spectacular time to visit, as the aspen trees turn a brilliant gold, creating a stunning contrast against the rugged mountain backdrop.

4X and Off-Roading Adventures

Taylor Pass is a popular destination for off-road enthusiasts, with several trails accessible to 4X vehicles. The road over the pass itself can be challenging, with sections of bowling ball-sized rocks and steep grades that require a high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle.

Before embarking on any off-road adventures, make sure your vehicle is properly equipped and maintained. It’s also crucial to stay on designated trails to minimize environmental impact and respect the delicate alpine ecosystem.

Camping and Overnight Stays

For those looking to immerse themselves in the beauty of Taylor Pass, there are several camping options available. The Taylor Park area offers beautiful campsites along the Taylor River and near the reservoir. When camping, practice Leave No Trace principles by packing out all trash, minimizing campfire impact, and respecting wildlife.

If you prefer a more comfortable stay, the nearby towns of Aspen and Crested Butte offer a variety of lodging options, from cozy cabins to luxurious resorts.


What are the best times of year to visit Taylor Pass for outdoor activities?

Summer and fall are the most popular seasons for visiting Taylor Pass, as the weather is generally mild and the trails are accessible. However, keep in mind that afternoon thunderstorms are common in the summer months, so plan your activities accordingly.

Are there any permits required for hiking or camping in Taylor Pass?

While no permits are required for day hiking, overnight camping may require a permit, depending on the location. Be sure to check with the local ranger station or land management agency for the most up-to-date information on permits and regulations.

What should I bring for a day of off-roading in Taylor Pass?

When off-roading in Taylor Pass, it’s essential to bring a well-maintained, high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle. Other important items include a spare tire, jack, tow strap, and a full tank of gas. Don’t forget to pack plenty of water, snacks, and sun protection.

Can beginners participate in mountain biking or 4X trails in Taylor Pass?

While some trails in the Taylor Pass area are suitable for beginners, it’s important to choose routes that match your skill level and experience. If you’re new to mountain biking or off-roading, consider taking a lesson or guided tour to build your confidence and learn proper techniques.

How can I ensure my safety while engaging in activities at Taylor Pass?

To stay safe while enjoying the outdoors at Taylor Pass, always let someone know your plans and expected return time. Carry a map, compass, and emergency supplies, and be prepared for changing weather conditions. It’s also crucial to stay on designated trails, respect wildlife, and know your limits.


About the author

James Ranson

I’m an editor, traveler, and fan of the great outdoors. I’ve been to all 48 continental US states, and my drives through Colorado’s rugged peaks and snowy forests (not to mention whiskey tastings in Denver!) still stand out in my memories. I’m excited to use my ten years of editing experience to develop engaging and informative guides and articles that enhance the outdoor experiences of both Colorado residents and visitors. Whether a piece is about exploring the best ski resorts, uncovering scenic trails for hiking, or finding the most inspiring drives through the Colorado Rockies, my aim is to provide comprehensive and accessible content that encourages adventure and exploration.