Hagerman Pass is a high mountain pass, at an elevation of 3.635m (11,925ft) above the sea level, located near Leadville, Colorado, in USA. The pass crosses the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado in the United States. The road is not difficult, but high clearance is recommended. It's one of the highest mountain roads of Colorado.
It's a great way to get from the Leadville area to Basalt and back. It's extremely scenic, with many places to camp along the road. Plan a fair amount of time for this trail, as it's very long, and don’t forget your camera. The drive is definitely worth it. There are many excellent photo opportunities. Looking over Turquoise Reservoir, this high mountain pass is a great summer destination, and easily accessed from Leadville.
The pass was named for James J. Hagerman, builder of the Colorado Midland Railroad. Some road sections may require a high clearance 4WD vehicle, in four-wheel-drive, driven by a driver experienced in 4WD drive techniques to drive the road without getting stuck. At the top of the pass there are great views of the Turquoise Lake area to the east and the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness to the southwest.
Located in Pitkin County, this track can get very muddy and slippery after rain making it challenging to get through. During and after a storm the road may be impassable, even with a four-wheel-drive vehicle. The pass is traversed by an unimproved road that is passable only with four-wheel drive vehicles and on foot. Two-wheel drive vehicles will find it difficult due to some stream crossings and rocky sections. Motorized vehicles are not allowed within adjacent Wilderness Areas.
Do not travel this pass in severe weather conditions. Avalanches, heavy snowfalls and landslides can occur anytime, being extremely dangerous due to frequent patches of ice. This road is open from approximately late May through the arrival of the first heavy snow in mid or late autumn. Anytime it can be closed when the access is not cleared of snow.
Towards the top of the pass, the road becomes narrower with some rock ledges. Expect a rough road surface; mud and sand are possible but will be easily passable. The road has occasionally been blocked by fallen trees. Hagerman Pass 4WD road partly follows the old Colorado Midland Railroad line crossing the Continental Divide. There are two abandoned tunnels that were part of the railroad line.
Due its unique location and the climb in elevation over thousands of feet, and passing through remote areas, it is important when driving in these conditions to be prepared. Modern sources and topo maps list the altitude of the pass at 11,925ft. However, the road reaches a slightly higher point just south east of the pass, around 12,050ft.
Pic: Kristofer Carlstedt