Webster Pass

Webster Pass, a challenging Colorado 4wd Trail

Webster Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 3.689m (12,103ft) above the sea level, located in Summit County, Colorado in the United States. The pass crosses the Continental Divide. It's one of the highest mountain roads of Colorado. 

Located in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, the road to the summit is called Webster Pass Road #285. This road is usually closed in winter months, but it can be closed anytime when the access is not cleared of snow. Do not try this trail if is snow covered or you will get boxed in with no place to go. Only the most aggressive stock SUVs with experienced drivers should attempt this trail. Your best chance of a snow-free trip is in late August or early September. 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.

Is Webster Pass dangerous?

Located within the White River National Forest, make sure you get your vehicle and yourself well-prepared before driving this road. 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. This stretch is so steep it is difficult to walk down in places. 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. The south side of the pass is a narrow ledge road. The north side of the pass is a series of 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. Originally known as Handcart Pass, the name changed in the 1870s after the Webster brothers constructed a toll road.

Is Webster Pass open?

Remember this is is a mountainous area, climbing up a high mountain. The pass is usually open from July (late in the month if the snow has melted) to October (first snows will close the pass).
Pic: Brian Lee