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Colorado’s Most Stunning Mountain Passes

By: Spencer McKee

Getting around Colorado would be pretty difficult without mountain passes. Thankfully, plenty of passes have been established around the state to make travel a bit easier. Often at a high altitude and full of curves beside steep drops, the scenery that tends to surround these mountain passes makes them worth visiting – even if you've got nowhere to go. Here's a collection of a few of our favorite mountain pass photographs from around the state.

Webster Pass Colorado OutThere Colorado
Webster Pass
This rough 4×4 road eventually ends up at the summit of Webster Pass around 12,000′ ft. The red coloring in this area is due to exposed red iron ore.
Cameron Pass Night ElCapitan OutThere Colorado
Cameron Pass
Another pass known for being surrounded by beautiful peaks, Cameron Pass is between the southern end of the Medicine Bow Mountains and the northern end of the Never Summer Mountains, providing the easiest route between Fort Collins and the North Park area of Colorado. Photo Credit: ElCapitan
Colorful Wildflower Meadow in the Mountains OutThere Colorado
Shrine Pass
Colorful meadows of wildflowers popping up near Shrine Pass.
Aspen Fall Colors at Mt Sneffels OutThere Colorado
Dallas Divide
Twelve miles west of Ridgway, Colorado, the Dallas Divide mountain pass is known as one of the most scenic roads in the country. While it only reaches an elevation of roughly 9,000 feet, it provides beautiful views of Mount Sneffels and more.
Mountain Road OutThere Colorado
Webster Pass
A brave driver tackles the most dangerous section of Webster Pass.
Pikes Peak Autumn on Bald Mountain Colorado OutThere Colorado
Ute Pass
Trees start to change colors on Pikes Peak and Bald Mountain on the other side of Ute Pass.
Fremont Pass
Fremont Pass is named after John C. Fremont, an adventurer who explored the region during the 1840s.
Trail Ridge Road Longs Peak OutThere Colorado
Trail Ridge Road
Longs Peak as seen from Trail Ridge Road, the highest continual road in the country. Known for how much of this road lies above treeline, Trail Ridge road is a popular destination within Rocky Mountain National Park.
Molas Pass Mountains OutThere Colorado
Molas Pass
The Needle Mountains subrange as seen from near Molas Pass. This subrange is noteworthy for being home to some of the most rugged mountains in the state.
Chimney Peak OutThere Colorado
Owl Creek Pass
One popular destination along Owl Creek Pass is the Chimney Peak rock formation, reaching 11,781 ft. For the best views of this area, visit while the trees are changing in the fall.
Million Dollar Highway
Red Mountain Pass
Epic views from the front seat of a Jeep headed over Red Mountain Pass on a snowy day. While this pass has some of the best scenery, it’s also one of the most dangerous during the winter months.
Gunnison Colorado Autumn OutThere Colorado
Kebler Pass
Home to some of the most scenic foliage in the state, Kebler Pass is a very popular destination come fall. Whether you’re a photographer or hiker, you can’t miss this Colorado destination.
Nokhu Crags and Summer Storm over the Rocky Mountains - OutThere Colorado
Cameron Pass
The Nokhu Crags as seen from the Cameron Pass area. This summit reaches a peak elevation of 12,490 feet and is part of the Never Summer Mountain Range. Photo Credit: Robert Ford
Monarch Pass Colors Paul Weimer OutThere Colorado
Monarch Pass
Snowy peaks rise up a short distance from the top of Monarch Pass. Photo Credit: Paul Weimer.
Pikes Peak Autumn on Bald Mountain Colorado Aspens OutThere Colorado
Ute Pass
Aspens in the fall near Ute Pass are a popular draw for tourists.
Loveland Pass Hiking Trail OutThere Colorado
Loveland Pass
A hiking trail bordered by a wooden fence near the top of Loveland Pass surrounds hikers by an amazing backdrop.
Colorado Scenic Beauty Kenosha Pass in the Autumn OutThere Colorado
Kenosha Pass
Fog rises in the morning near Kenosha Pass as light falls on the nearby mountain ridge. Kenosha Pass rises to a height of 10,000 feet and is located southwest of Denver, Colorado.
Independence Pass Road OutThere Colorado
Independence Pass
Once known as Hunter Pass, Independence pass is a high-altitude mountain pass that reaches an elevation of 12,095 feet. It’s also part of the Continental Divide and is the fourth-highest paved road in the state.
Bemrose Ski Circus Hoosier Pass
Hoosier Pass
A pass that’s on the Continental Divide, Hoosier Pass reaches a height of 11,542 feet. While it’s in a very snowy part of the state that’s close to Breckenridge, it’s also one of the mountain passes that is generally kept open year-round.
Guanella Pass Mount Bierstadt OutThere Colorado
Guanella Pass
The view of Mount Bierstadt from the top of Guanella Pass. If you’re looking to climb this Colorado 14ers, you’ll be happy to know that there’s easy parking right on the side of this mountain pass that will give you great trailhead access.
Cottonwood Pass Bending Road OutThere Colorado
Cottonwood Pass
Part of the Continental Divide, Cottonwood Pass is located near the border of Chaffee and Gunnison counties. While this pass is generally one of the safest ways to travel through the Sawatch Range, a certain section was covered debris measuring 15 feet deep in 2002 after a serious mudslide.
Coal Bank Pass Sunset Wide OutThere Colorado
Coal Bank Pass
Reaching a maximum altitude of 10,640 feet, Coal Bank Pass is in western Colorado, more specifically the San Juan Mountains, making this one of the most scenic routes in the state. While the northern side of this pass is quite manageable, the south side is very steep at a 6.5% grade.
Coal Pass Winter OutThere Colorado
Coal Bank Pass
Jagged peaks surround Coal Bank Pass, making this one of the most scenic drives in the state. Plus, if you’re headed to Durango, a large portion of the drive will be all downhill.
Boreas Pass - Fall Colors - OutThere Colorado
Boreas Pass
As the sun starts to set on Boreas Pass near Breckenridge, it creates that amber aspenglow that Colorado is known for. Tucked away in Summit County, Boreas Pass is another road that tourists and photographers flock to during the fall months of the year thanks to the many aspens in the area.
Autumn at Boreas Pass OutThere Colorado
Boreas Pass
A Jeep cruises through changing leaves on Boreas Pass.
Wilkerson Pass OutThere Colorado
Wilkerson Pass
Mountain peaks stretch for miles from the top of Wilkerson Pass. This pass is also a great place for star gazing on a clear night.
Berthoud Pass at Night OutThere Colorado
Berthoud Pass
West of Denver, Berthoud Pass is most well-known for providing access from I-70 to places like Winter Park and Granby Ranch, as well as Rocky Mountain National Park.
Snow Mountains Curved Road OutThere Colorado
Berthoud Pass Snowcapped mountains surround Berthoud Pass making for a beautiful drive year-round. At times, this road can get a bit slick, but road crews work hard to generally keep it safe to drive.

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