Carbondale, CO


Mt Sopris towers over the town of Carbondale and provides several nice photographic opportunities (in the right conditions and locations). This rounded top mountain stands almost 13,000 ft. and is surrounded by a nice aspen grove and colorful underbrush.

I have scouted many areas around Mt Sopris to locate the best composition and found one of the best is simply off the highway to Aspen (CO82). In the fall, when trees and underbrush come alive and the coming winter can dump a nice dusting of snow on the top. Under the right conditions, this location can be breathtaking.

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). This shot was taken just 20 yd. from the road CO82 outside of Carbondale, CO.

Download KMZ Trail File

Click Here to download the KMZ file for this location.

GPS Coordinates & Elevation

Google Maps Birds-Eye-View

Click link above to view location in Google Earth


CLICK HERE to get driving directions to Mt. Sopris overlook parking area.

From the intersection of CO 133 and CO82 in Carbondale, CO, travel east for approximately 1 mile and you will see a turnoff to a small neighborhood. Take a right and pull off to the side of the road. Walk 20yds or so and find your composition.

Best Time of Day to Shoot

From this location, you are shooting south which means you can get a good image in early morning or late afternoon/sunset.  

Best Time of Year to Shoot

For me, what makes shooting Mt. Sopris most interesting are fall colors and snow. For this reason, the best time of year would be late September or early October. 

The above shot was taken on September 26th

What Lens(es) Do You Need

This shot was taken with a 35mm lens, but you can use anything from medium wide to short telephoto to get the right composition.


There are no permits required in the area.

Direction of the Shot

The shot from the road is south by southeast @ 160°

Special Nuances of Shot

As far as landscape photography goes, this is as easy as it gets. Just park on the side of the road (CO 82), walk 20 yds, pick your composition and shoot.  I have scouted several different locations for shooting Mt. Sopris this is by far the easiest.

Special Equipment Needed

No need for any special photography equipment other than a tripod.

Number of Other Photographers to Expect

It would be unlikely to see other photographers at this location.


Current Weather

It would be unlikely to see other photographers at this location.

Cell Service

This location is only a few miles outside of Carbondale – which has good cell reception.

Overnight Lodging/Camping

There are a handful of places to stay in and around Carbondale. The campsites I have stayed at are the Crystal River KOA about 9 miles south of town and the Redstone Campground about 22 miles south of Carbondale. As of this writing, there are only 2 hotels in town.  

Camping - click on the campground below for directions

Carbondale / Crystal River KOA – (9 miles south of Carbondale)

Redstone Campground - (22 miles south of Carbondale)

Lodging - click on the lodging below for a TripAdvisor review

Comfort Inn & Suites Carbondale
920 Cowen Dr, Carbondale
Days Inn Carbondale
950 Cowen Dr, Carbondale

Nearby Restaurants

Carbondale is a nice town and has some pretty good restaurants and watering holes. My favorites are White House Pizza, Goat Kitchen & Bar and of course The Village Smithy for breakfast (my second favorite breakfast joint in Colorado).

Nearby Restaurants - click on the restaurant below for yelp review

The Goat Kitchen & Bar
995 Cowen Dr, Carbondale

Village Smithy Restaurant
26 S 3rd St, Carbondale

White House Pizza
801 Main Ct, Carbondale

Laundry Mat

The closest laundry facilities are in Carbondale, CO.

Sopris Laundry, 906 CO-133 Carbondale

Other Photography Opportunities Around

Click on an image below to move to that location

Airport Options

The closest airports are Montrose (MTJ) 100 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


Other Resources

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. 

Visit Carbondale