TR: Dyke to Dark Canyon Loop (15 Sept 2012)

(Last Updated On: September 13, 2017)

I have had this loop in mind for quite some time. But, I intentionally saved it for the fall, knowing that the loop would take me through some of the most beautiful aspen groves in Colorado. Although I ended up hiking the Dyke to Dark Canyon Loop about a week before the peak leaves on Kebler pass, it was still one of the most spectacular hikes I’ve done in the area, and the leaves were still amazingly colorful.

I started at Horse Ranch Park. A view of the geologic dyke, for which the Dyke trail is named.
Hiking Dyke Trail to Dark Canyon Trail near Crested Butte, CO

Hiking Dyke Trail to Dark Canyon Trail near Crested Butte, CO

I opted for a counter-clockwise loop, and began hiking up the Dyke Trail.
Hiking Dyke Trail to Dark Canyon Trail near Crested Butte, CO

Hiking Dyke Trail to Dark Canyon Trail near Crested Butte, CO

I followed the Dyke Trail until the turn off toward the Raggeds Wilderness. Every biker who has ridden this trail knows this turn off – it’s the one where you really want to go, as it’s straight fall line, but the Dyke trail turns a hard left. Shortly after, the hike got really good.
Hiking Dyke Trail to Dark Canyon Trail near Crested Butte, CO

Hiking Dyke Trail to Dark Canyon Trail near Crested Butte, CO

Dyke to Dark Canyon hike near Crested Butte

Dyke to Dark Canyon hike near Crested Butte

Beckwith.
Dyke to Dark Canyon hike near Crested Butte

Marcellina.
Dyke to Dark Canyon hike near Crested Butte

Dyke to Dark Canyon hike near Crested Butte

The trail itself actually headed through a dyke.
Dyke to Dark Canyon hike near Crested Butte

I followed the trail into the Raggeds Wilderness where I turned left onto the Oh-Be-Joyful Pass trail. I followed this all the way back to Dark Canyon Trail. The intersections were well-signed.
Dyke to Dark Canyon hike near Crested Butte

The trail flattened out when I reached the Dark Canyon Trail. But, the trees were fabulous.
Dyke to Dark Canyon hike near Crested Butte

And so were the views!
Dyke to Dark Canyon hike near Crested Butte

Ruby and Owen.
Dyke to Dark Canyon hike near Crested Butte

I followed Dark Canyon Trail all the way back to Horse Ranch.
Dyke to Dark Canyon hike near Crested Butte

It was a surprisingly wonderful hike. I highly recommend it, especially as a fall classic!

NOTE: The leaves are at peak on Kebler pass this weekend! They will stay beautiful for another few days. So, get out there and soak in the fall colors before they are all gone!

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things,Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate 🙂 Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

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Summary
Dyke to Dark Canyon Loop Hike
Article Name
Dyke to Dark Canyon Loop Hike
Description
From beautiful aspen forests to scenic vistas, the Dyke to Dark Canyon Loop has it all - located on Kebler Pass Road near Crested Butte!
Author

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things, Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate :) Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

4 thoughts on “TR: Dyke to Dark Canyon Loop (15 Sept 2012)

  • September 25, 2012 at 10:28 am
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    Last Tuesday we completed the Ruby Anthracite hike as an out and back, very nice. We crossed Ruby Anthracite Creek, went a bit further and turned around. Fall color was about 1/3 there. I have always admired Marcellina and might one day try and climb it.

    I added the Oh-Be-Joyful loop hike to my itinerary and completed that on Thursday. Mileage was 1.2 miles from the O-B-J camping/parking area to the trail sign and 5.3 miles to the Daisy Pass trail intersection so your perception that it is longer than 3 miles from the sign to Daisy intersection was spot on – more like 4 miles. It was ~6.5 miles to Blue Lake. The entire loop was just under 15 miles with significant switchback cutting on the Gunsight Pass road and hopping the low flowing Oh-Be-Joyful creek rather than crossing the Slate and walking all the way around to the O-B-J camping/parking area. There’s gotta be a way to safely drop down Wolverine Basin to avoid the tedious Gunsight Pass road section.

    Peeler Basin was my favorite section of the O-B-J hike. I suspect that fewer people get in there. Cows were everywhere.

    Ed & Jen

  • September 27, 2012 at 11:18 pm
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    Ed and Jen, Thanks for your contributions and insights to these hikes! Much appreciated!

  • June 25, 2015 at 7:09 pm
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    Hi Brittany –

    Was this a one-day or multi-day hike? How many miles total?

    Thanks,

    Allison

  • June 25, 2015 at 8:16 pm
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    Hi Allison. The Dark Canyon hike was 14.5 miles one way. You can find more information about it as well as many other hikes on my Crested Butte hiking guide.

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