Tomichi Pass Trail is a 4,6 miles trail located in Chaffee County, Colorado (USA), at an elevation of 8,556 to 11,985 feet (3.653m), driveable from July to October. The road starts in Forest Service Road 839. It's one of the highest mountain passes of Colorado.
Due its unique location, be prepared. The trail is open only from July to September: June (the upper section is usually still closed by snow), July (possible opening depending on snow level), August, September (best), October (early in the month). Trail is suitable for stock, high-clearance SUVs with low-range gearing. Not recommended for novice drivers or anyone afraid of heights. After rain, sections of road can become decidedly hazardous when fast-flowing creek crossings and slippery mud can cause road closures. If you are ready to try a difficult trail that doesn’t involve serious rock crawling, this is your opportunity. Views going up are spectacular but the driver won’t be able to enjoy them until he reaches the pass. Don’t start up the trail if someone is coming down even though uphill drivers have the right of way.
The pass is located in Chaffee County. 4 wheeling is an inherently dangerous activity and shouldn’t be attempted without the appropriate training and equipment. The area is remote, so make sure you go with another vehicle. ATVs and dirt bikes will feel at home on the narrow trail.The road is dangerous based on the narrowness of the trail rather than the road surface. Passing is extremely difficult on the north side. You may have to back up a considerable distance if you meet another vehicle. There are no hard-core obstacles, but several places are moderately rocky.
To drive this trail, you must have supreme confidence in your vehicle and your driving skills. The town of Tomichi (near site of cemetery) had a population of 1500 during the boom years of the 1880s. The silver crash of 1893 brought an end to the town. In 1896 a few prospectors returned, but most were killed in 1899 when a snowslide destroyed the town. Remnants of building foundations can be found with patient examination of the area.
Never underestimate this track! This hill is actually pretty steep and the ground is very loose rock and dirt. It is gated after the mine that is at the top. Tomichi Pass lies just south of Hancock pass and about one mile north of the small settlement of Sargents on Highway 50. The summit is only about one mile from the fork with Hancock pass, which makes for a nice and short side trip if you're not wanting to go further south. The road is quite straight forward and only has two items to note: one being the noticeable shelf road carved on the mountain on the north side, and the other is the bridge which spans an eroded section of the road.
The shelf road is not much narrower than many other roads. You won't be able to pass any other vehicles along this section, save for any quads or bikes you might encounter, so it pays to be watching closely for any traffic starting up or down the road. The aforementioned bridge is actually the toughest part of the trail! Sounds funny, but the bridge is in pretty poor shape. If wet, you could slide off and get pretty tippy in the muddy section at the one end. The road is pretty smooth for the duration. The southern approach is just your typical forest road.
Pic: Ryan Hodo