Stony Pass

Stony Pass: a rocky, rough and washed out road in Colorado

Stony Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3.846m (12,618ft) above the sea level, located in San Juan County, in the U.S. state of Colorado. The pass got its name because of the rocky terrain. It's one of the highest roads of Colorado.

How long is Stony Pass?

Tucked away in southwest Colorado, the road to the summit, also known as Hamilton Pass, is totally unpaved. It’s called Stony Pass Road (Forest Road 520 and County Road 3). The road is 16.73km (10.4 miles) long, running from County Road 4 to Forest Road 506. The road was built in 1872 as a stage route and a major supply line for the mining claims in the area. It was abandoned for a long time until the Forest Service reopened it in the 1950’s.

Is Stony Pass Colorado Open?

Set high in the San Juan Mountains, the road traversing the pass is not plowed in winters. It’s usually impassable from late October through late June or early July (depending on snow). The open and close dates all depend on snowmelt and snowfall each year. Atop Stony Pass east of Silverton, there are panoramic views of the Continental Divide. The summit has lots of wildflowers and small creeks and waterfalls.

Is the road to Stony Pass in Colorado difficult?

The road to the summit is fairly rocky, rough and washed out in parts. Originally an old stage and freight route, this road follows the Rio Grande for many miles. High clearance, 4WD, and off-road vehicles are required. The road is pretty narrow in parts: there’s one spot where you hope you don't meet someone coming from the other way, as it is down to a one lane width at that place.


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