Hermit Pass in CO: a rocky and rough road to the summit
Hermit Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3.986m (13,077ft) above the sea level, located in Custer County, in the U.S. state of Colorado. It's one of the highest roads of Colorado. It is recommended that beginner riders avoid this road. The route demands 100% concentration.
How to do the Hermit Pass?
Located outside Westcliffe within the San Isabel National Forest, the road to the summit is totally unpaved. It’s called County Road 160 (Hermit Road). The drive is 23.17km (14.4 miles) long.
Is the road to Hermit Pass difficult?
A good 4x4 vehicle with high clearance is strongly recommended. Please note the higher you go on this road, the rockier it becomes. The road has frequent switchbacks, tight turns, and occasional stream crossings. Road is fairly wide all the way. Despite starting off as a gentle incline, the road quickly becomes very rocky and technically challenging. 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. 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 mountains, the road to the summit is 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. Even during the peak of summer, there still may be patches of snow along the road.
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%.
Pic: Nicholas Brandt