Yes, we're headed for Crested Butte. I would like to go back and do Lead King Basin sometime. It leads you right behind the Maroon Bells mountains.
The road quickly becomes narrower and rockier. From what I've read, it is more common to drive from Crested Butte down to Marble which seems to make the Devil's Punchbowl area even more dangerous. It is a two-way road, but thank goodness we didn't meet another vehicle until we were out of the Punchbowl. There is no way to get around someone.
Looking back you can see how narrow the road is next to that tree.
Looking ahead at a steep part of the road next to the snow bridge. There have been years that the snow bridge didn't melt off the road enough for the pass to be open the whole summer.
This was looking down at where you don't want to end up. Pictures really don't capture what it's like on this pass.
Driving past the snowbridge, we were almost at waterfall of the Devil's Punchbowl.
This is it! The infamous Devil's Punchbowl. It's actually very pretty and I didn't see any devils.
I took this looking back down in the Punchbowl. The pile of tree limbs is so close to the road it looked like it had probably blocked the road at some point and had to be cleared. A close up of one of the really rough and rocky sections.
We finally reached the main water crossing of the Crystal River. This was August 20 and I can't imagine how deep the water was in late July/ early August when the pass was first driven this year.
The sign on the other side of the water crossing is for the traffic heading down the Devil's Punchbowl. It says, "Dry Your Brakes. Steep Hill." Don't get out of your vehicle to take any pictures and definitely don't rely on your parking brake.
A look back at the water crossing.
Nearing the summit there are the same warning signs before you enter the hard part of the pass.
The rest of the pass is pretty relaxing. Jay said that driving over Black Bear Pass is more difficult than Schofield. I think the forest service and the law enforcement around Schofield discourage people from driving it because if you do need help or get seriously injured, it's extremely difficult to get to and takes a long time. The difficult part of Black Bear Pass is one-way, but since it's right above Telluride you can get help quicker than on Schofield. The road was always plenty wide enough for our Jeep Rubicon Unlimited. I've even seen pictures on the internet of someone that drove a Hummer over the pass. If you are an unexperienced off-roading driver or steep dropoffs or water crossings make you nervous, do not attempt Schofield Pass.
The Baroni Mine Portal.
The view at the summit is not impressive nor is the elevation compared to most mountain Jeep trails.
The road smooths out but is still narrow and we had to work our way around this group of cars that was heading up to the lake.
In the center is the first view of Mount Crested Butte.