Driving the rough 4x4 road to Poughkeepsie Pass in Colorado

Poughkeepsie Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3.938m (12,919ft) above the sea level, located in San Juan County, in the US state of Colorado. It’s a challenging trail that should only be attempted by those who how have pretty build vehicle capable of handling tough conditions. It’s one of the highest roads of Colorado.

Poughkeepsie Pass

Where is Poughkeepsie Pass?

Set high in the San Juan Mountains, outside of Ouray, the pass, also known as California Pass, is located to the south of Lake Como.

How long is Poughkeepsie Pass?

The pass is 18.50km (11.5 miles) long, stretching from Ironton to Animas Forks in a west-east direction.

How’s the road to Poughkeepsie Pass?

The road to the summit is called County Road 19. It’s gravel and rocky, a steep and rough road suitable for 4x4 high clearance vehicles only. This trail is tricky, and jeeps tend to roll on it, making it a very difficult drive. Expect erosion, loose rocks, sand, washes, shelves, and deep mud holes. Obstacles and ledges are up to 5 feet, with near-vertical grades of 8-10 feet tall. There is potential for water crossings with strong currents.

Is the road to Poughkeepsie Pass challenging?

This road has humbled many egos and is not for the sissies. It shouldn't be attempted by novice drivers. A 4WD vehicle and an experienced driver are a must. The trail's notable obstacle, "The Wall," lacked a bypass until 2015. Before that, you had to climb it or go back, leading to several accidents. A bypass was built in 2015, providing a less challenging route. Don't attempt it without differential lockers and a winch. The drive up to the pass is about as rough and steep as other roads in the area, with one sharp hairpin curve that is particularly steep. The curve is even tougher to navigate on the way downhill.

Is Poughkeepsie Pass open?

Snow is usually not plowed, delaying the trail's opening until later in the season. Typically open from April to October, the views at the top are stunning. Though not a technically challenging trail, it follows very narrow shelf roads, requiring all drivers to be very careful.
Pic: More To Living