Weston Pass in Colorado: The Road to Riches

Weston Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3,639m (11,938ft) above sea level, located in the U.S. state of Colorado. Four-wheel drive is not necessary. It's one of the highest roads in Colorado.

Weston Pass

Where is Weston Pass?

The pass is located on the boundary between Park and Lake counties, in the central part of Colorado.

Is Weston Pass paved?

The road to the summit is totally unpaved. It’s called Country Road 22 (Co Rte 7). It is 42.80 km (26.6 miles) long, running west-east from US-24 to US-285. This trail is not difficult, though there are a few rocks on the trail that you may want to avoid if you do not have much clearance.

Is the road to Weston Pass difficult?

The eastern route is considerably easier than the western slope. From the east (via Highway 285), the road is not difficult with just some rough spots. It’s suitable for passenger cars. From the west (via Highway 24), high clearance and 4-wheel drive are recommended. The road itself has quite a few washboards near the bottom, making it an annoying drive. However, if you hope to traverse the entire route, a 4WD vehicle and high clearance are strongly recommended. The drive is very steep, hitting a 12% maximum gradient through some of the ramps.

Is the road to Weston Pass open?

This road is usually impassable from late October through late June or early July (depending on snow). It is not generally snow-free until late June or even July in some years. When you get to the pass, there is a sign marking the altitude.

When was the road to Weston Pass built?

Located within Pike National Forest, the road through the pass was built in 1860 and heavily used in the 1860s and 1870s, as a busy toll road. The road was commonly known as “The Road to Riches,” with prospectors busy transporting the area’s silver and gold. The pass was used by the native Ute Indians and was later used by prospectors with gold and silver dreams. Originally served as a wagon road between Fairplay and Leadville and carried mining supplies and travelers over the pass.

Is Weston Pass worth it?

Set high in a beautiful area of Rocky Mountain high country, along the way, you’ll be surrounded by beautiful mountains, and the scenery is amazing. You also see some old cabin remains here and there along the trip. There are numerous beaver dams and some great mountain views. Near the summit is a mountain hut, Weston Pass Hut. At 11,950 feet, the hut boasts the highest elevation of any Colorado backcountry lodging of its kind. On the west side, there is a 4x4 trail that goes up to an old gold mine; this is a bit more challenging trail that requires a little more expertise and high clearance.
Pic: CD