Vail Pass

Vail Pass is a difficult road in Colorado

Vail Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3.251m (10,666ft) above the sea level, located on the boundary of Summit and Eagle counties, in the US state of Colorado.

Is Vail Pass dangerous?

Set high in the Rocky Mountains, on the central part of Colorado, the road to the summit is paved. It’s called Interstate 70. The pass was named for Charles Vail, a highway engineer. The highway is extremely steep on both sides (eastbound or westbound) and has at least a 7 to 8 percent grade at one point or another. It’s one of the steepest paved mountain passes of Colorado. Much like Loveland Pass, its windy nature features hairpin turns and brutal winter weather. The pass crests at 10,660 feet above sea level and two runaway truck ramps exist on the westbound side for victims of brake failure. The steep sides provide drivers with little room for error. These slippery mountain stretches are notoriously dangerous in the winter and are prone to multi-car accidents because it’s easy for drivers to lose control of their autos.

How long is the road to Vail Pass?

The road to the summit is 32km (20.4 miles) long, running from Vail to Copper Mountain. The first paved highway over the pass was completed in 1940. In the 1970s the route was upgraded to Interstate 70. 

Is Vail Pass open?

Access to the pass is typically open all year round, with the occasional closure in winters due to dangerous weather conditionsVail Pass is the most dangerous section of highway on the route from Denver to Vail during the Winter. It is frequently closed by local authorities during severe snowstorms, as conditions become underivable. Travelers should be prepared for changing conditions and near-zero visibility in winters.


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