Best time to visit Colorado

Guanella Pass in Colorado

Enjoy the striking combination of nature and architecture

Best time: late May–mid-November

Guanella Pass
Guanella Pass
Guanella Pass
Guanella Pass
Guanella Pass

Guanella Pass is a high mountain pass in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado with an elevation of 3,557 m (11,669 ft.). The pass connects the town of Georgetown and the town of Grant. It was named after a local road supervisor Byron Guanella in 1953. The pass is crossed by one of the most scenic roads in Colorado—the Guanella Pass Scenic Byway, connecting Interstate 70 and Highway 285. The paved road is closed to traffic for the winter due to snow and is open from late May to mid-November. During, the winter time it is often used as a snowmobile trail.

Guanella Pass Scenic Byway features fantastic views of towering Mount Bierstadt and Mount Evans, both over 14,000 ft (4267 m) high, the alpine tundra wildlife, wildflowers, spruce, lodgepole pine and aspen forests. The highest point of Guanella Pass is where the Mount Bierstadt hiking trail starts. The east side of the road borders to the Mount Evans Wilderness. Only pedestrians are allowed in the wilderness. Camping and parking along this road are only permitted at designated campsites.

Attractions of Guanella Pass Scenic Byway also include a historical Georgetown that was founded as a miners’ camp in 1868 and a scenic Georgetown Loop Railroad taking tourists for a trip through a forested gorge. The railroad operates from Memorial Day and until the end of September.

Practical info

When is the best time to drive Guanella Pass Scenic Byway?

The pavement of Guanella Pass Scenic Byway remains closed during winters, and visitors can drive through the scenic byway from late May until mid-November. Visitors can enjoy the scenic beauty of towering Mount Bierstadt and Mount Evans, pass through lush green forests, observe wildlife, and beautiful wildflowers during the summer and fall. A perfect stopover for hikers, the byway offers incredible views of alpine tundra that lead to the trails of Mount Bierstadt. Show more

What are the highest peaks visible from Guanella Pass Scenic Byway?

Guanella Pass Scenic Byway is one of the most scenic drives in Colorado and offers breathtaking views of high Rocky Mountain peaks like Mount Bierstadt and Mount Evans. Hikers can start an adventure uphill to Mount Bierstadt from the byway top, while tourists can enjoy the alpine terrain, mystic green forests, and pristine peaks. Visitors should plan a visit during summer or fall to enjoy the most of nature in this area. Show more

Can I park and camp anywhere along the road?

Visitors cannot camp or park their vehicles anywhere along the Guanella Pass Scenic Byway. The area has designated parking and camping sites. Georgetown and Grant are the two parking areas for the visitors to park their cars to explore the beautiful area by foot or bike. Along with adventures such as hiking on various trails, including the steep Mount Bierstadt climb, visitors can enjoy the wilderness of the area while complying with pet and motorized vehicles ban. Show more

When does the Georgetown Loop Railroad operate?

The Georgetown Loop Railroad, a famous tourist attraction in the area, operates from Memorial Day weekend until September, and it may extend beyond, weather permitting. This historic train offers visitors an opportunity for a memorable ride through the forest along the Clear Creek Canyon and the Devil's Gate viaduct, among the world's wonders. Visitors can also experience unique features like the railway's museum, coffee shops, gift stores in addition to the railway's operations. Show more

Are there any restrictions for visitors in Mount Evans Wilderness?

To preserve the natural ecosystem's sanctity and beauty, Mount Evans Wilderness places restrictions on visitors. Visitors are not allowed to hike with dogs, bicycles, or motorized vehicles except if mobility is a challenge. The area also takes care of animals and has maintained designated wildlife areas where visitors must maintain a safe distance. Visitors must adhere to safety procedures, stay on dedicated trails, and carry out litter after them. These precautions will help preserve and maintain wilderness without destroying fragile ecosystems. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin