Aspens on McClure Pass
Near Marble, CO
I am a sucker for photographing Aspens in the Fall. I really like the look of a pristine white Aspens surrounded by golden leaves and red underbrush.
I was driving along the McClure Pass on the way to the Crystal Mill when I spotted this small grouping of Aspens on the north side of the road. I pulled over and played around with compositions and took a dozen or so shots. When I later uploaded my images, I realized my lens had been set to autofocus and I missed the most important trees in the front on most of the images. Luckily, I had 2 images that worked and I selected this composition.
Next time I visit here, I will take more time, compose and use a tripod for critical focus. Lesson learned. It is a great little Aspen grove that can product some nice results.
Trail Difficulty - EASY
I would rate the difficulty of this trail as a 1 on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being most difficult). The hike to the location is a simple 50 yd. walk alone the road from the pullout on McClure Pass.
Download KMZ Trail File
Click Here to download the KMZ file for this location.
GPS Coordinates & Elevation
8,425 Ft. Elevation
Google Maps Birds-Eye-View
Click link above to view location in Google Earth
CLICK HERE to get driving directions to Aspens on McClure Pass parking area.
The closest town is Carbondale, CO (which is a town west of Aspen). Directions are from Carbondale.
From Carbondale, travel south on CO133 for 21 miles until you see the turnoff to Marble - don’t turn, but set your vehicles odometer. Continue on CO133 (past the Marble exit) up the mountain (McClure Pass) for 5.5 miles until you see pullout just past the railing on the right. The pullout is not made for cars, so you need to be careful when pulling over.
The location of the shot is on the same side of the road as the pullout (north) about 50yds back from the pullout.
Best Time of Day to Shoot
The best time to shoot this shot is late morning to early afternoon (or on a cloudy day) as the shot is almost due north.
Best Time of Year to Shoot
This shot is at its best during the fall colors which ranges between the last week in September to the first week in October. From my experience, the McClure Pass tends to turn a few days before other part of central Colorado.
The above shot was taken on September 26th
What Lens(es) Do You Need
From the road, this shot was taken with a 135mm lens. I like the compression of the trees and shooting up hill with a longer lens. You could walk up the hill a little and try a wider-angle lens.
There are no permits required in the area.
Direction of the Shot
The shot from the road is due north @ 0°
Special Nuances of Shot
I like this location for Aspens as it is shooting uphill which provides a nice background/backdrop and good color. Try to make sure you use a polarizer to deepen the colors.
For me, the key to this shot is getting the front Aspens tac sharp, so take your time and use a tripod.
Special Equipment Needed
No need for any special photography equipment, but again I would use a tripod and take your time focusing.
Number of Other Photographers to Expect
This spot is off of the beaten path for most photographers and it would be rare to see anyone else at this location.
The weather in Colorado is normally mild in the summer, cold (lows in the 20’s) in the spring and fall.
I use Verizon and there is no cell service at this location. There is no cell service until you get close to Carbondale.
On the drive back to Carbondale, there are several camping spots to choose from. Two in the Marble area and 2-3 others on CO133 toward Carbondale.
Camping - click on the campground below for directions
Bogan Flats Campground just after the turnoff from CO-133 S toward Marble
Meri Daes RV Park is in Marble.
Redstone Campground - (22 miles south of Carbondale)
Lodging - click on the lodging below for a TripAdvisor review
Beaver Lake Lodge & Cabins
201 E Silver St, Marble, CO
Comfort Inn & Suites Carbondale
920 Cowen Dr, Carbondale
The nearest restaurants are the Slow Grooving BBQ in Marble (10 miles) or to drive into Carbondale (25 miles). The Slow Grooving BBQ is a nice little place to grab a good meal and cold brew and Carbondale has a variety of good places to eat.
If you stay in Carbondale, you need to make sure you stop for breakfast at The Village Smithy – one of my favorite joints in Colorado.
Nearby Restaurants - click on the restaurant below for yelp review
Slow Grooving BBQ
101 W 1st St, Marble, CO
Village Smithy Restaurant
26 S 3rd St, Carbondale, CO
White House Pizza
801 Main Ct, Carbondale, CO
The closest laundry facilities are in Carbondale, CO.
Sopris Laundry, 906 CO-133 Carbondale
Other Photography Opportunities Around
The closest airports are Montrose (MTJ) 80 miles, Grand Junction (GJT) 100 miles and Denver (DEN) about 200 miles away. Montrose and Grand Junction are nice regional that services: American Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines.
Area Guides and Workshops
The Photographer's Ephemeris is a very valuable tool for landscape photographers to determine the direction of the sunrise/sunset & moonrise/moonset from any place on earth on any day (past and future). Click here to take you to The Photographer's Ephemeris for this location.