I think the Continental Divide is the cat's pajamas. To think that you can be at a point where part of a rain shower can end up draining a thousand miles one way or a thousand miles the other way. On a failed mountaineering trip in April 1995, I drove to 4 highway passes on the Divide within 3 hours, with only slight detours from my nominal route! The Divide deserves a grand tribute. However, it will have to settle for this stupid collection of photos from it's high passes. (Plus a few bonus passes thrown in for good measure.) The passes appear in descending altitude order.
This is one of the 4 passes that started this obsession,
photographed in April 1995.
On US 6, providing an alternate route to the Eisenhower Tunnel.
The highest paved road in the United States that is open
This is not on the Continental Divide, but is still one of
the highest passes in the state accessible in a regular car.
The last 2 miles from the east are very steep for a 2WD car,
so be careful; the approach from the west is probably
impossible without 4WD and/or high clearance. Shot in
Another of the "Fab 4" from April 1995. As you can read for
yourself, this is on CO 9 connecting Alma and Breckenridg(e).
On CO 91 between Leadville and Copper Mountain, at the
noble Climax strip mining operation. Shot in June 1995.
It was night and I was trying to illuminate the sign with my car
headlights and overexposed the photo. The second scan is at
high resolution and I fiddled with the contrast and such to make
the sign just legible. I had to resort to scanning the negative
to make this happen. In any case, this pass is located along
CO 149 between Lake City and Creede. Shot in June 1996.
This pass on US 50 between Salida and Gunnison was so exciting
that I didn't even get out of my car. (Actually, there is
some touristy stuff there to avoid.) Shot in June 1996.
Home of Colorado's 1st ski area, and now an operating ski
area again. On US 40 between Winter Park and Empire.
Shot in March 1995.
An infamous pass. It is not on the Divide, but is the highest
pass along US 550. Its infamy lies
mainly in that this area is subject to vicious avalanches during
the snow season which have claimed the lives of several snowplow
drivers and civilians alike. During August 2005, it was quite
Although not the highest, this may be the most scenic of the
passes along US 550, just south of Silverton. Although cut off
in this photo, 13er Grand Turk is impressive from here. The
Colorado Trail crosses this pass perpendicular to the road.
Shot in August 2005.
Why let nightfall stop you (Part II)? On CO 149 between Lake
City and Creede. Shot in June 1996 illuminated by my high-beams.
This is a rather obscure pass just south of the Divide along US
550, but it does have a sign - and an outhouse. Shot in August 2005.
This pass has a dirty secret; it's not on the Continental
Divide. Thus, it didn't deserve the short walk needed for
a decent photo. On CO 14 between Walden and Fort Collins.
Shot in June 1996.
Your tax dollars at work.
On CO 145 between nowhere and nowhere, and not on the
Divide. Shot in July 1996.
Not on the Divide; not worth getting out of the car. On
US 285 between Fairplay and Denver.
An out-of-the way pass on CO 125 between Walden and Granby.
Once malapropped to "Rabbit-ass Pierce" by a TV weatherman, this
pass lies between Steamboat Springs and Kremmling on US 40.
The third highest of the "Fab 4" from April 1995.
On US 285 between Alamosa and Poncha Springs, but not
on the Divide. Shot in June 1996.
Alas this pass does not pass muster as a named point anymore. I know not why this pass lost it's name. It did not pass gas nor do anything else crass. It has a lot of class and did not harass anyone. There is no broken glass nor fragments of brass. As the kid from "South Park" with the great mass would say, "this sucks ass!" But, the old maps call it Muddy Pass.
This pass represents
the western terminus of CO 14, just below Rabbit Ears Pass.
My favorite pass for when I lived in Laramie, turning off of
US 40 meant that I had but 100 miles of unmolested driving
to home. This was the lowest of the "Fab 4".
Back to the mountaineering gallery
File last modified: 08 January 2005