Webster Pass

Webster Pass, a challenging 4wd Trail in CO

Webster Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3.689m (12,103ft) above the sea level, located on the boundary between Summit and Park counties, in the U.S. state of Colorado. The pass crosses the Continental Divide. It's one of the highest roads of Colorado. 

Can you drive to Webster Pass?

Set high in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, the road to the summit, originally known as Handcart Pass, is called Webster Pass Road #285. To get this road from I-70 take Exit 205, Silverthorne / Dillon, and travel east on HWY 6 toward Keystone. Just past Keystone, turn right onto Montezuma Road (County Road 5). Follow Montezuma Road for 7 miles to the town of Montezuma. Travel through Montezuma to Webster Pass Road which will be on your left.

How long is Webster Pass?

The road to the summit is 14.70km (9.14 miles) long, running north-south from Montezuma Road to County Road 60. The first road over the pass was built by William Emerson Webster and the Montezuma Silver Mining Company in the late 1870s as a toll road. The peak of the pass is also the exit to the infamous Red Cone.

Is Webster 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.

Is Webster Pass dangerous?

Located within the White River National Forest, the road is totally unpaved and features extremely narrow sections. A high-clearance 4×4 vehicle is required. The trail can become quite hazardous and requires vehicles with significant clearance. There is a river crossing and multiple steep switchbacks.

How long does it take to drive Webster Pass?

A traveler on this road must be experienced and completely devoted to safe, slow and obstacle-conscious driving to deter danger. The trail takes approximately 45 minutes each way so allow a couple hours to make the roundtrip. When you get to the top of the pass, you’ll intersect with Red Cone and Handcart Gulch trails. A very steep decline on Red Cone makes it one of the most dangerous trails in the state. Unless you have the proper vehicle and experience, you’ll want to turn around and take Webster Pass Trail back down the mountain. Webster Pass Road provides a great opportunity to enjoy spectacular scenery along the Continental Divide. You will travel through large open alpine terrain as you climb up to the pass. There are also opportunities to connect with other 4WD roads in the area. It’s a thrilling drive with outstanding scenery. The picturesque drive follows Snake River, notorious for a few switchbacks to beware of.
Pic: Brian Lee

 

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