Colorado boasts many roads that ascend high above the clouds. Most climb over mountainous passes; some summit 14,000 foot peaks. Many of these roads were built to access mining sites or small mountain towns, while others were built to allow people to see the magnificent views from the high alpine passes and peaks. A few of these roads are paved, but watch out for those more off the beaten path. Some will even require high-clearance 4WD vehicles to navigate the exposed and rocky switchbacks. Read on to see the highest 20 roads in Colorado and find out if your favorite makes the list.

RELATED: The 10 Steepest Mountain Passes in Colorado

20. Independence Pass, summit elevation: 12,095 ft.

Independence Pass - OutThere Colorado

GALLERY: Colorado’s Beautiful Peaks!

19. Cottonwood Pass, summit elevation: 12,126 ft.

Cottonwood Pass Bending Road OutThere Colorado
Cottonwood Pass, a scenic back-country road in Colorado, near its summit — Continental Divide (Altitude: 12,126 feet). It is usually closed from early November to late May each year due to heavy snowfall.

18. Webster Pass, summit elevation: 12,140 ft.

Webster Pass Colorado OutThere Colorado
Webster Pass Colorado. Rugged 4×4 road leads to summit of Webster Pass around 12,000′ ft. Red iron ore is exposed and makes for interesting, bold colors.

17. Trail Ridge Road High Point, summit elevation: 12,183 ft.

Trail Ridge Road Cars on the Road OutThere Colorado
Trail Ridge Road connects Estes Park, on the eastern side of the park, with Grand Lake, on the western edge of the park. Photo credit: cumulus_humilis (iStock)

16. Hancock Pass, summit elevation: 12,208 ft.

Hancock Pass. Photo Credit: Jeffrey Beall (Flickr)
Hancock Pass. Photo Credit: Jeffrey Beall (Flickr)

15. Jones Pass, summit elevation: 12,454 ft.

GALLERY: Colorado’s Beautiful Peaks!

14. Whiskey Pass, summit elevation: 12,549 ft.

13. Cinnamon Pass, summit elevation: 12,640 ft.

12. Stony Pass, summit elevation: 12,650 ft.

11. Pearl Pass, summit elevation: 12,713 ft.

10. Hurricane Pass, summit elevation: 12,730 ft.

9. Engineer Pass, summit elevation: 12,800 ft.

Engineer Pass - robert thigpen - flickr
Engineer Pass. Photo Credit: robert thigpen (flickr)

8. Black Bear Pass, summit elevation: 12,840 ft.

Black Bear Pass - Sandy Horvath-Dori - flickr
Black Bear Pass. Photo credit: Sandy Horvath (flickr)

7. California Pass, summit elevation: 12,960 ft.

6. Hermit Pass, summit elevation: 13,047 ft.

5. Imogene Pass, summit elevation: 13,117 ft.

Imogene Pass - Scott Dingle - flickr
Imogene Pass. Photo credit: Scott Dingle (flickr)

4. Mosquito Pass, summit elevation: 13,186 ft.

Mosquito Pass - Larry Lamsa - flickr
Mosquito Pass. Photo credit: Larry Lamsa (flickr)

3. Argentine Pass, summit elevation: 13,207 ft.

2. Pikes Peak Highway, summit elevation: 14,115 ft.

Pikes Peak Highway Turns OutThere Colorado
Pikes Peak Highway, Colorado.

1. Mount Evans Scenic Byway, summit elevation: 14,160 ft.

GALLERY: Colorado’s Beautiful Peaks!

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