- The Ruby Range is a popular destination for Crested Butte locals and visitors alike.
- Located just over Kebler Pass, on the eastern edge of the Ragged Wilderness.
- At 13,058 feet, Mount Owen is the tallest of these lesser-known peaks.
- Accessible summits, beautiful hiking trails and more make this area a favorite.
A picturesque range just on the other side of Kebler Pass from Crested Butte, the Ruby Range is a beautiful place to visit, especially in the fall when the aspens turn the mountainsides into a brilliant patchwork of orange, red and yellow. The Ruby Range has nine main peaks, all located relatively near to each other; hiking and biking trails (the Dyke Trail, despite a long double track approach, is an excellent stretch of single track); and gorgeous campsites at Lake Irwin.
The tallest peak in the Ruby Range, Mount Owen reaches up to 13,058 feet, looking out over the smaller, less-know peaks in this mountain range. The easiest way to summit Mount Owen is via the trail that leads up the south ridge from Lake Irwin, with views of Kebler Pass and the largest aspen stand in America below. Strong hikers may consider extending their day with a side trip to the summit of neighboring Ruby Peak, accessed via the shared saddle to the south.
On the eastern edge of the Ruby Range, Lake Irwin is a small alpine lake with beautiful campsites, perfect for camping before an attempt at Mount Owen’s summit. Campsites are limited at the campground, so making reservations in advance is always a good idea. In addition to the lake and Mount Owen Trailhead, the area just around Lake Irwin contains mountain streams, small waterfalls, open alpine meadows and a glut of the lovely wildflowers that this area is known for. Campsites are $16/night, water and vault toilets are available.
An interesting geological formation at the far southern edge of the Ruby Range, the Grand Dyke is a large outcrop of rock that juts into the air, creating a spiny crest that leads down from Ruby Peak.
Avid rock hounds can be found looking through the loose rock of the Ruby Range for spessartite, garnets, yellow topaz, obsidian and more. Ruby Peak, in particular, is known as a good rock hunting spot. Dorothy Hill and Sugarloaf Mountain are also known to produce good specimens.