Jones Pass in CO may be intimidating to novice drivers

Jones Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3.804m (12,480ft) above the sea level, located on the boundary of Clear Creek and Grand counties, in the U.S. state of Colorado. The road to the summit has a relatively good road surface given its high altitude. It's one of the highest roads of Colorado.

Jones Pass

Can you drive to Jones Pass in CO?

Tucked away in the beautiful Arapaho National Forest the road to the summit is totally unpaved. It’s called Jones Pass Road (Forest Road 202). It’s essentially a dirt road with some steep grades along the way. The road is narrow and steep and may be intimidating to novice drivers. The road travels above treeline for several miles until it dead-ends after crossing the Continental Divide. It can be traversed by most vehicles in good conditions but medium to high clearance is necessary in passing some of the route’s tougher sections. Although the route is not overly difficult, the winding turns and steep grades may be intimidating for inexperienced drivers. The switchbacks on the way up are easy and wide in most places. They are near the edge in many places, though, so it may challenge those with a fear of heights. The road is kept well maintained, though.

Is the Jones Pass open in Colorado?

Set high in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, this road is usually impassable from late October through late June or early July. Vehicle access to the summit is typically limited to the late summer season.

Is Jones Pass in CO steep?

Starting just west of Berthoud Falls off Hwy 40, the road to the summit is 8.69km (5.4 miles) long. Over this distance the elevation gain is 795 meters. The average gradient is 9.14%. It climbs gradually to the top of the pass and descends steeply down the west side to a closed road.

How long does it take to drive Jones Pass in CO?

Plan about one hour to reach the summit from Highway 40, without any stop. However, the drive is pretty scenic and encompasses miles of stunning views. Along the road, drives will catch many glimpses of Colorado’s mining history among the wildflowers and alpine views. There is room for parking at the summit of the pass.
Pic: Nate Jensen