Enjoy a road among the clouds to Guanella Pass in CO

Guanella Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3.562m (11,686ft) above the sea level located in southwestern Clear Creek County, in the U.S. state of Colorado.

Guanella Pass

Is Guanella Pass in Colorado paved?

The road to the summit is totally paved and suitable for all vehicles. It’s called Guanella Pass Scenic Byway (Guanella Pass Road). The road is 38.30km (23.8 miles) long, running north-south from the historic town of Georgetown (the county seat of Clear Creek County), on I-70 to Grant (in Park County), on Highway 285.

Is Guanella Pass hard to drive?

Spanning the Arapaho and the Pike National Forests, this is a mountainous drive, and altitude and extreme weather are always a factor. The pass is not maintained in the winter. Large RVs are not recommended on this mountain byway. Much of this road is wide enough for two cars to pass. The drive is steep, hitting an 11% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps.

When was the road to Guanella Pass in Colorado built?

Set high in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado, the first road through the summit was built in the 1860's as a wagon route. A former burro trail, the pass was named after Byron Guanella, a road supervisor and commissioner in Clear Creek County.

Is Guanella Pass Colorado open?

The road is seasonally closed from late October through late June or early July (depending on snow) on the section between Naylor Lake (north) and Burning Bear Campground (south). Make sure you check road conditions before heading out. There is a parking area at the closure gate on the Georgetown side of the pass to allow access to the pass by foot or snowmobile during the winter. The weather will grow chillier as you get higher, so even in summer, dress in layers if you want to get out of the car to explore. Remember to dress warmly as even in summer the temperatures can drop significantly, and storms move in quickly at this high elevation.

How long does it take to drive over Guanella Pass?

This is a remarkable road trip. Plan 1 hour to complete the remarkable drive without stops, although you may want to block out extra time to stop, take photos and explore the region it passes through. The road, also known as County Road 381 allows to explore Colorado's flora and fauna at its best. This byway is just long enough to weave into a day trip.

Is Guanella Pass Scenic Byway scenic?

Make sure you leave enough time to make plenty of stops along the way. The drive features spectacular views of Mount Evans and Mount Bierstadt. There is usually a lot of traffic, especially on the weekends and during peak leaf-peeping season. Avoid heavy traffic by traveling during the week. The road passes through a succession of distinct environments. This road, while a detour from Hwy. 285, provides a perfect snapshot of the Rocky Mountain ecosystem in only 23 short miles. Views year-round are beautiful for different reasons. The road crests well above timberline, where every spring the grasses and flowers stubbornly renew, and the fragile tundra thaws and blossoms. This old logging and mining area flanked by Mounts Bierstadt and Evans boasts two of the state's best-preserved Victorian towns, Georgetown and Silver Plume. The lower elevations are green and wet, thick stands of spruce, fir, aspen, and pine rising along cascading creeks. Higher up, the streams snake through broad meadows, succoring thirsty mammals, nesting birds, and the industrious beaver. Perhaps the highlight of the byway is the summit of the pass, where travelers are rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. It’s an excellent staging point for fishing excursions and several alpine hikes. Sightings of bighorn sheep and mountain goats are not uncommon. One of the most popular times to travel the Guanella Pass Byway is September through early October, as brilliant fall foliage abounds around you during this time of year.