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Guanella Pass Scenic Byway

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General Information

Description - This byway leads north/south from Georgetown, a National Historic District, which is located on Interstate 70 west of Denver, to the small town of Grant, also a historic mining town. There are many sight seeing activities for visitors to Georgetown including museums, shopping, mine tours and a steam railroad. The scenic byway climbs the canyon walls south of town, following a creek bed after the switchbacks. This route follows the western Mt. Evans Wilderness boundary passed lakes, campgrounds and four-wheel drive roads before reaching Guanella Pass (11,669 feet). Looking east from the pass you'll find a great view of Mt. Bierstadt. South of the pass the byway enters the Pike National Forest and passes trailheads, trails and four-wheel drive roads. This portion of the byway follows Duck Creek then Geneva Creek into Grant.

Recreation - Scenic driving is the most evident of recreation opportunities from Guanella Pass. This route passes through Arapaho and Pike National Forests, which provide access to hiking, mountain biking, camping, four-wheel driving, sight seeing and horseback riding, from the byway.

Climate - Elevations on the Guanella Scenic Byway range from 8,700 feet to 11,669 feet (Guanella Pass). The pass is maintained throughout the year, but winter travel on any high-elevation road can be treacherous. Summer temperatures at 11,600 feet are usually chilly so bring long sleeves, hats and gloves if you plan on spending any time out of doors on the top of the pass. Always be prepared for precipitation. Conditions at high elevations change quickly and dramatically. Hypothermia can happen in any season.

Location - Guanella Pass is located in central Colorado. To reach Georgetown travel west of Denver on Interstate 70. Exit 228 is used to reach the northern start of the byway. This area is known as Clear Creek Canyon or drainage. The byway travels over the pass and into the South Platte drainage.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Jody Radcliffe (Aurora, CO)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Continued... Hiking trails, multiple streams, expansive views provide good photo opportunities. The construction when we went last year was very heavy on early Friday due to amount of people trying to go over the high part of the pass but you can get to campsites without going through construction.

Filed By: Jody Radcliffe (Aurora, CO)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: We have been going this route from Grant for the past 3 years to go camping. The road is slow going but it's very scenic and several options for campings. There is often storm clouds and shows in late afternoon or evenings in the summer. We've yet to see deer or much other wildlife but could be the time of day or year. There is a website about the construction for anyone concerned about traffic delays. http://www.co.clear-creek.co.us/General/Project%20Information%202007.htm

Filed By: John Conway (Covington, WA)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: Traveled this route in late-Sept. 2004 on a motorcycle. Was told a large part of the route was paved with smaller portions of gravel. Boy, was I in for a surprise. Coming north fron Grant, the road is nothing but washboard - no problem, I'd just go slow and get to the paved section. Wasn't to pleased to find what was once paved was now "under construction" and completely torn up! I wasn't about to turn around and go back over the 8 miles of washboard so I pushed on. Very scenic area, so I was rewarded for my struggle. Would have enjoyed it more if I didn't have to concentrate so hard on NOT dieing in the bottom of a monster pothole! But the good news is; the majority of the route is being widened and resurfaced. From what I understand, the southern section of washboard is private property, so the state and county don't want to spend money on fixing it.

Filed By: Dan Gresko (Arvada, CO)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I grew up in the area( Bailey) and have been to the pass many times. In winter, the road is a bit rough...that plus the fact that not many people really know the area have made it a great place to go for as long as I can remember. Plus the cool fact that Geneva was the site of a small ski area about 20-25 years ago(little known history)..you can still hike the area and find cool stuff.

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: very nice trip to see the fall colors. not as popular as some areas. take your time and enjoy the changing scenary.

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Travelled the byway by chance on September 8th, a day with some snow in the foothills and the pass. The road for much of it's length is poorly maintained with the dirt portions on the flatter portions the equivalent of a washboard. On the approach to the pass from the Grant side, through the switchbacks, there are many deep potholes and large rocks sticking up through the road, much care or ground clearance is needed. The falling rock zone looks more like a falling boulder zone. The pass itself for us was snowcapped, very cold with drifting snow, very nice. The ride down to Georgetown is much easier than the ride up from Grant.

More Information

Contact Information:
Clear Creek County Tourism Board, P.O. Box 100 , Idaho Springs, CO, 80476, Phone: 303-567-4660

Additional Information:
Colorado Scenic Byways - Driving through Colorado can be some of the most rewarding driving possible. The scenic byways deserve their name and are definitely worth the detour.

Scenic Byways Homepage - National Scenic Byways official web site with detailed info on all national and state byways.


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