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 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 in Colorado.
Where is Red Cone Pass in Colorado?
Set high in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, within the White River National Forest, the pass is located to the south of the town of Keystone in the central part of Colorado, near Webster Pass, only a few hours from Denver.
Is Red Cone Pass in Colorado paved?
The road to the summit is totally unpaved and very steep, filled sometimes with very loose rock. It does provide excellent views near the top.
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.
How Difficult is Red Cone Pass? Ascending the Challenge
Red Cone Pass presents a formidable challenge for even the most experienced adventurers. The trail to the summit winds along the edge of a steep talus slope, offering breathtaking views but demanding unwavering attention. Widely regarded as one of Colorado's most daunting off-road routes, the narrow one-way road features precipitous drops on either side and a series of challenging switchbacks leading to the ghost town of Webster. Only vehicles with high clearance and four-wheel drive should attempt the journey, as the trail is fraught with loose rock and potential obstacles.
How Risky is Red Cone Pass? Descending Danger
Descending from Red Cone poses an even greater test of skill and nerve. The steep, rocky terrain, combined with the trail's narrow width and sheer drop-offs, requires utmost caution. One misstep could lead to dire consequences, as the trail narrows to the width of just a few cars and descends over 1,000 feet to the valley below. With no room for error and no opportunity to turn back, travelers must ensure they are fully prepared for the descent. Snow blocking the path further complicates matters, making it essential to time the journey carefully and avoid attempting the trail in hazardous conditions.
Is Red Cone Pass open?
The road is usually packed with snow late into the summer season. It’s 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 it 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