Poughkeepsie Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 12,919 feet (3,938 meters) above the sea level, located in the San Juan Mountains outside of Ouray, in San Juan County, Colorado, USA. It’s a challenging trail that should only be attempted by those who how have pretty build vehicle capable of handling very tough conditions. It’s one of the highest mountain roads in Colorado.
The road to the summit, also known as California Pass, is called County Road 19. It’s gravel and rocky. It’s a real challenging road and a true test of your vehicle and your stamina because the road abounds in twists and turns with wheels sometimes hanging above the precipice. It’s a steep rough road. 4x4 high clearance vehicles only.
This trail is tricky, and jeeps tend to roll on it. It’s a very difficult drive. Snow is usually not plowed, so trail opens later in the season. Avoid driving in this area if unpaved mountain roads aren't your strong point. Stay away if you're scared of heights. It is recommended that beginner riders avoid this road.
This road has humbled many egos. It’s not for the sissies and shouldn’t be attempted by novice drivers. A 4WD vehicle and an experienced driver are a must. The one obstacle which makes this trail so well known is "The Wall". Don't go unless you have differential lockers and a winch.
The drive up to the pass is about as rough and steep as all the other roads in the area, except for one sharp hairpin curve very steep. It’s open from April until October. The views on the top are stunning. This trail is absolutely beautiful from start to finish. Though it isn't a technically challenging trail it does follow very narrow shelf roads. All drivers will need to be very careful.
Pic: Kyle Santa-Romana