Pearl Pass

Challenging ride with varied terrain and beautiful views.

Total Miles
Plan with onX Offroad


3 to 4

Technical Rating

Best Time

Trail Overview

Pearl Pass provides a wide variety of exciting riding including rolling hillsides, difficult rock ledges, and high-mountain riding with spectacular views. Part of this trail passes alongside the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness and stays very remote, so plan accordingly. Unlicensed vehicles are allowed at the start of Trail #738 but must turn around at the pass. Trail is closed March 1 to May 27 depending on snow.


Difficult. Many boulder fields, steep climbs, water crossings and narrow shelf roads. These conditions are magnified by snow and ice that are present well into late summer at higher elevations. During years of heavy snowpack, the summit can be blocked for the entire year. Trail is not recommended for stock SUVs.


Few people know that mountain biking started in Crested Butte back in 1976, when a group of half-crazy bicyclists decided to ridetheir heavy, balloon-tired Schwinn bikes over Pearl Pass. Now there is an annual event in September called the Pearl Pass Tour. In one day, bikers ride from the town of Crested Butte to Aspen, a total of 38 miles. In 2009, the event was held on September 12. The date changes a bit each year, so you might want to find out the exact date before heading out.

Access Description

From Crested Butte: From Highway 135 south of town, head northeast on Brush Creek Road, F.S. 738 (same road that goes to airport). From Aspen: From the roundabout on Highway 82 on the west side of Aspen, take paved Castle Creek Road, F.S. 102, south about 13 miles and turn right at sign for Pearl Pass.

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