Off The Beaten Path
Fantastic views all around! There are a number of great four wheeling trips that can be accessed in the summer months (and for the experienced four wheeler even some in the winter).
Hagerman Pass, elevation 11,939 ft (3,639 m), is a high mountain pass that crosses the continental divide in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado in the United States.
The pass was named for James J. Hagerman, builder of the Colorado Midland Railroad. The Colorado Midland railroad crossed the continental divide through one of two tunnels (initially the Hagerman Tunnel, later the Busk-Ivanhoe Tunnel at lower altitude) near the top of Hagerman pass. It traverses the Sawatch Range west of Leadville, connecting the headwaters of the Arkansas River on the east with the upper valley of the Fryingpan River above Basalt, in the basin of the Colorado River.
The pass is traversed by an unimproved road that is passable only with four-wheel drive vehicles and on foot. Two-wheel drive vehicles will find it difficult due to some stream crossings and rocky sections. It is open from approximately late May through the arrival of the first heavy snow in mid or late autumn. The road has occasionally been blocked by fallen trees.
Cottonwood Pass, elevation 12,126 feet (3,696 m), is a high mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of south-central Colorado, United States. It is located near the border of Gunnison and Chaffee counties in Colorado and is in the Sawatch Range. The area surrounding the pass is mostly forest, with the San Isabel National Forest to the east and the Gunnison National Forest to the west.
The Continental Divide is marked at the saddle point of Cottonwood Pass. The pass is closed seasonally due to heavy snowfall, typically from around October until sometime in May. When open, the pass can be accessed from Buena Vista to the east by following Chaffee County Road 306. Near the summit, the road name changes to Gunnison County Road 209 as it continues to the west, passing near Taylor Park Reservoir and continuing down into the town of Almont. The majority of this road is paved, with the exception being the section linking the summit of Cottonwood Pass with Taylor Park Reservoir, which is gravel. When open, the pass is one of the few routes through the Sawatch Range accessible in a standard two-wheel drive passenger vehicle. Independence Pass is another such seasonal route through this mountain range, while efforts are made to ensure that U.S. 50 at Monarch Pass remains open year-round for all vehicles, barring extreme weather conditions.