Best time to visit Colorado

Hagerman Pass in Colorado

A rugged trail crossing the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains

Best time: late May–mid-October

Hagerman Pass
Hagerman Pass

Hagerman Pass is located in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado, crossing the Sawatch Range west of Leadville. The pass with an elevation of 3,635 m (11,925 ft) was named for James J. Hagerman, a founder of the Colorado Midland Railroad. A rough dirt road that goes over the pass is accessible only by 4WD cars, bicycles, and ATVs. It's somewhat challenging due to a few stream crossings and rocky sections. The road is open roughly from late May through to mid-October when the first heavy snow covers the track. During summer it can get muddy and slippery after rain or get blocked by fallen trees. The road gets narrow near the top of the pass with some switchbacks.

Hagerman Pass road connects the towns of Leadville and Basalt. Initially there was an old Colorado Midland Railroad line running along the road that went south along Turquoise Lake and through Hagerman Tunnel and crossed the Continental Divide. However, after the mining activity decreased, the railroad was abandoned. Hagerman Pass Road still features two abandoned tunnels that were used by trains.

The area is very beautiful and offers access to great hiking and camping. Enjoy the magnificent views of the Turquoise Lake and the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness. Hell's Gate peak near Hagerman Pass is a stellar granite area towering over 3000 meters (10,000 feet) and a popular destination for sport climbing.

Practical info

When is the ideal time to visit Hagerman Pass?

The period from late May to mid-October is the optimal time to visit Hagerman Pass. During this time, the area is blooming with wildflowers, and the weather is cool and comfortable. The pass is closed from mid-October when the snow covers the road. Although it is open in the summer, it can become slippery and muddy after rainfall. Show more

Where does the Hagerman Pass road go?

Hagerman Pass road goes across the Sawatch Range in Colorado, connecting Leadville and Basalt through the Continental Divide. Scenic views of Turquoise Lake and the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness can be enjoyed during the drive. If you're into camping and hiking, Hell's Gate peak near Hagerman Pass offers fantastic opportunities for sport climbing, rising over 3000 meters. Show more

Can I access Hagerman Pass without a 4WD vehicle?

Hagerman Pass is accessible via a rough dirt road, available only for 4WD vehicles, bicycles, and ATVs. If you don't have a 4WD vehicle, consider biking to the pass, which can take up to 4 hours from Leadville. For visitors who prefer guided tours, several local tour organizations offer guided tours in jeeps or ATVs. Show more

What are the options for hiking around Hagerman Pass?

Hiking near Hagerman pass abounds, with options like the Hell's Gate trail (7 miles round trip) and Grizzly Lake trail (9.8 miles round trip). For the easier hike, try Windsor Lake (1.7 miles round trip). Hiker's paradise, the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness, around Hagerman Pass provides a range of possibilities for camping and hiking, but multi-day permits are required. Show more

Is there anywhere to camp near Hagerman Pass in Colorado?

Yes, Dearhamer Campground is the nearest camping area, located approximately four miles east of Hagerman Pass. The campground provides basic amenities such as fire pits, picnic tables and vault toilets. If you are planning a camping trip near Hagerman Pass, Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness offers a great option, but permits are essential and limited, so plan accordingly. Show more

Ask a question

Find hotels and airbnbs near Hagerman Pass (Map)

Last updated: