A rocky and rough road to Hermit Pass in Colorado

Hermit Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3.986m (13,077ft) above sea level, located in Custer County, in the U.S. state of Colorado. It's one of the highest roads in Colorado.

Hermit Pass

Where is Hermit Pass?

The pass is located outside Westcliffe, in the southern part of Colorado, within the San Isabel National Forest.

How do you get to Hermit Pass?

The road to the summit is totally unpaved. It’s called County Road 160 (Hermit Road). Starting at Westcliffe, the road is 23.17km (14.4 miles) long.

Is the road to Hermit Pass difficult?

A good 4x4 vehicle with high clearance is strongly recommended, but stock SUVs with low-range gearing and moderate ground clearance should have no problem. Please note the higher you go on this road, the rockier it becomes. The road has frequent switchbacks, tight turns, and stream crossings. The road is fairly wide all the way. Despite starting off as a gentle incline, the road quickly becomes very rocky and technically challenging. It's steep and winding in places. It starts as a wide, easy climb on a dirt road with a few small rocks here and there. As you climb some wide switchbacks, there are a few spurs -- always turn right at the spurs to keep going to the top.

Is the road to Hermit Pass in Colorado steep?

The road to the summit is very steep. Starting at Westcliffe, the ascent is 23.17km (14.4 miles) long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 1.578 meters. The average gradient is 6.81%.

Is the road to Hermit Pass worth it?

Plan 2 hours to complete the remarkable drive without stops. This is a popular road that gets heavy use up to Hermit Lake during the summer months. Avoid weekends and holidays to escape most of the crowds. The road offers panoramic views of mountain peaks and alpine lakes.

Is Hermit Pass open?

Set high in the Sangre di Cristo mountain range, the road to the summit is seasonally closed and usually impassable from late October through late June or early July. Even during the peak of summer, there still may be patches of snow along the road.
Pic: Nicholas Brandt