Red Mountain Pass

Creeping along the road's twists and turns, many drivers have terrified themselves by peering off its narrow, icy shoulders. They are wide-eyed at the nearly vertical plunges of a few hundred feet here, 1,000 feet there. The pavement ends just inches from where thin air begins.

Click Here to take a 6 minute drive with me across the pass. 

I am referring to Red Mountain Pass located in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. At an elevation of 11,018 ft above sea level, the pass is one of the highest paved passes in Colorado. The pass is named for the nearby Red Mountain on the northeast side of the pass and is traversed by the Million Dollar HighwayU.S. Highway 550 between Ouray and Silverton, which is part of the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway..  the entire road is paved.

The pass is known for being treacherous in the wintertime due to the steep 8% grade and switchbacks on the north side facing Ouray, Avalanches are frequent, and can block the highway for some time. Unofficially, the pass receives approximately 500 inches of snow each year.. The lower part of the pass towards Ouray is blasted into near-vertical cliffs of quartzite hundreds of feet above Red Mountain Creek and the Uncompahgre River. This section of road is winding, narrow and has no shoulder.

This road is usually open all year, but it can be closed anytime due to massive rock slides, continuous falling rocks and the amount of rubble, and when the access is not cleared of snow. there are no protections or guard rails along some parts of the route to aid in wintertime snow removal

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