Molas Pass

Molas Pass is a challenging climb on the Million Dollar Highway

Molas Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3.328m (10,918ft) above the sea level, located in San Juan County, in the U.S. state of Colorado The pass is traversed by the Million Dollar Highway. 

Set high in the San Juan Mountains of western Colorado, the road to the summit, officially called U.S. Highway 550, is totally paved. It is usually open all year, but can be closed anytime when the access is not cleared of snow. Summer temperatures can range from 70–90 °F highs at the ends of the highway to 50–70 °F in the mountain passes. The snow season starts in October, and snow will often close the road in winter. Chains may be required to drive. It’s one of the steepest paved mountain passes of Colorado.

The weather on this zone is harsh and highly unpredictable and it does not take much time for the bright sun shine to change over to moderate to heavy snow fall. Though it is one of the higher passes in Colorado, it has only a few switchbacks on the north approach and is generally kept open in the winter months. The scenery of the San Juan’s is unsurpassed and many call this area the American Alps. The climb is pretty steep, and hits a 7% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps.


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