Pearl Pass

Aspen, Colorado (Pitkin County)

Last Updated: 08/07/2022
5 / 5 ( 35 reviews )
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Highlight: Pearl Pass
Located just south of the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, this high alpine off road trail trekking between Aspen and Crested Butte provides a variety of different terrain from grassy hillsides and water crossings, to coarse rock fields and towering mountains. You will truly be amazed while traveling in some of the most remote terrain in the state taking in incredible views as you cross the Continental Divide at 12,705 feet. Snow can linger very late into the summer, and some years this pass doesn't even fully open due to snow blockage.


Route Information

Technical Rating


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1. FS 102 (0 mi)
The trail starts on the west side of Express Creek Road just before the road ends. There is a large kiosk here with a map and information about the area.

Directions to Trailhead

From Aspen: From the roundabout on Highway 85 just west of Aspen, take Castle Creek Road about 13 miles till the road dead-ends. Turn right at the road closed sign following the sign for Pearl Pass. From Crested Butte: Head south on Highway 135 and turn northeast on Brush Creek Road, Forest Service Road 738.



Trail Reviews (35)

Questions & Answers (9)

Q: 2015 Tacoma DCSB with a 3" lift and 32s and rear locker. My main concern is not having sliders. How likely is body damage if I take it slow with a spotter?
–Jack Reynolds (08/06/2021)
–John (08/06/2021)
Q: Would this be doable in a '98 Tacoma single cab? It's stock on 31" ATs; with open diffs.
–Nicholas Cancalosi-Dean (08/04/2021)
–John (08/05/2021)
Q: Hmmm. 2012 Stock Range Rover Sport. I'm a little concerned about the rocks and the moraine.
–Allison Wood (04/10/2019)
–Ryan Boudreau (04/10/2019)
Q: How far can I get on Pearl Pass from the Crested Butte side in a moderately modified JK? I have a few years experience.
–Bill Lewis (10/04/2018)
–Ryan Boudreau (10/05/2018)
Q: Hi, as i asked for the Taylor Pass, i would ask you if i can do this trail with my full stock dodge ram. If not, are there any other off road trail to reach Aspen from Crested Butte? Thanks in advance for the answer!
–Lorenzo (07/03/2018)
–Lorenzo (07/03/2018)
–Ryan Boudreau (07/03/2018)
Q: I’m thinking of running this in mid July in a stock 100 series land cruiser with 33” KO2s. Any issues? Bit of a newbie here.
–Matt Hyde (04/08/2018)
–Jeff (05/22/2018)
–Ryan Boudreau (04/09/2018)
Q: Any guesses on trail condition by the end of march? Would love to hit this and Taylor Pass while I'm there.
–Brian Faris (03/01/2018)
–Ryan Boudreau (03/01/2018)
Q: Planning trip for Oct 12th. Was wondering is the pass is typically open around this time or if there will be to much snow. I will be riding in a wrangler rubicon with 3 in lift and 35s. Thanks and happy riding!
–Geoffrey Hannan (09/27/2017)
–Ryan Boudreau (10/10/2017)
–Ryan Boudreau (09/28/2017)
Q: I see the status as 'partially open'... is there any issue in utilizing this trail from Crested Butte to Aspen?
–Casey Wilson (08/16/2017)
–Ryan Boudreau (08/16/2017)

Writer Information

Ryan Boudreau

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Hi, I'm Ryan! I am a Colorado native and I've been wheeling since I was 16 years old. I grew up with a relentless passion for all things Jeep and off road related, and that passion has never died out. I am a member of the Mile-Hi Jeep Club, Patrol 16 Sasquatch Jeepers and currently own an '06 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited (LJ) nicknamed "Minion". I am a huge supporter of Stay the Trail and Tread Lightly, and have participated and even been in charge of many trail restoration projects. I have been a trail leader several times for events such as All-4-Fun, ColoradoFest, Set Them Free, 14er Fest, and other. I am also the creator of the Unlimited LJ Adventure. My rig is built for extreme offroading, but I love to get my tires dirty on any kind of trail whether it's rock crawling or just scenic high Alpine drives. I've wheeled all over the country including Colorado, Utah, Kansas, the Carolinas, AZ, and California. I love a great adventure, and love even more to share those adventures with others. If you see the "minion" out on the trail, make sure to stop and say hello.
For individual use only, not to be shared.