Red Cone Pass

The breathtaking road to Red Cone Pass in Colorado

Red Cone Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3.905m (12,811ft) above the sea level, located in Park County, in the U.S. state of Colorado. The trail to the summit can't be taken lightly, with some edges over 1.000 ft. It’s one of the highest roads of Colorado.

Where is Red Cone Pass Colorado?

Set high in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, within the White River National Forest, the pass is located south of the town of Keystone in Central Colorado. The road to the summit is totally unpaved and very steep, filled sometimes with very loose rock.

How long is Red Cone Pass?

The road to the summit is 11km (7 miles) long, running from Webster Pass to County Road 60. If you have a 4x4 vehicle with a decent amount of clearance you can do this trail. Mind that driving along the edge of the slope can be rather dangerous.

Is Red Cone Pass dangerous?

The steep trail to the summit follows the edge of the talus slope. Though it does not look steep it is very steep and shouldn't be ridden if you are not an experienced rider. It’s said to be one of the most intimidating off-road trails in Colorado. The one way road is pretty narrow with tremendous vertical drops on both sides and a challenging series of switchbacks to the ghost town of Webster. No stock vehicles. This trail’s notoriety is based on an extremely steep 3/4-mile long, one-way descent from the top of Red Cone down to Webster Pass. The issue is that it can be mentally challenging to do the trail because of the long, steep descent down from Red Cone. As the route is very rocky, it is strongly recommended to be prepared for a flat tire. There are lots of rocks and a good, optional obstacle on the way up, but it's the last part of the trail that people remember. It's extremely steep and often filled with loose rock. If you slip sideways you could have a difficult time recovering. If you slip off of the trail going down the Mountain you will most likely die -- the trail is about the width of two or three cars and about 1,000 feet down to the next flat spot. It is extremely dangerous because your vehicle will likely roll if it gets sideways on the hill. Before descending, make sure there is no snow blocking your continued descent from Webster Pass, because you cannot turn around and drive back up Red Cone. This section is one way downhill only. Those who attempt to drive up this section will damage trail and risk getting the trail closed.

Is Red Cone Pass open?

Remember this is a mountainous area, climbing up a high mountain and the road stays packed with snow late into the summer season. The pass is usually open from July (late in the month if the snow has melted) to October (first snows will close the pass).  Do not try this trail if is snow covered or you will get boxed in with no place to go. Your best chance of a snow-free trip is in late August or early September.
Pic: Kristofer Carlstedt

 

 

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