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West Elk Mountain Wilderness. Photo by Jason J. Hatfield

Colorado’s Scenic and Historic Byways: West Elk Loop

Take this 205-mile loop to unwind as you drive past aspen-covered landscapes.

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Carbondale (loop)

This stretch of asphalt circles the West Elk Wilderness and all of its snowcapped mountain majesty. It’s the type of drive during which you can lose track of time (there’s no cell coverage in some areas) and space (thanks to the looping road). Take breaks to admire a waterfall, gaze at meadows, or gain entry to the state’s least-visited national park: Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

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Roadside Attraction

From CO 133, take CR 3 to Marble, a hamlet where some of the rock for the Lincoln Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was sourced. marbletourismassociation.org

’Grammable Spot

Pick any lookout between Carbondale and Redstone where you can place Mt. Sopris’ impressive summit in the background.

Refuel

You have two chances to nosh on naan and Himalayan-inspired flavors at Sherpa Cafe, which has locations in both Gunnison and Crested Butte. 313 Third St., Crested Butte, 970-349-0443; 323 E. Tomichi Ave., Gunnison, 970-641-7480

Go Now

Catch just one flick ($15) at the Crested Butte Film Festival, or stay for four days of filmmaker Q&As and more than 85 screenings. Sept. 26 to 29; Crested Butte, 303-204-9080

Get Outside

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