Best time to visit Colorado

Mosquito Pass in Colorado

One of the highest passes in Colorado accessible by a car

Best time: late July–September

Mosquito Pass
Mosquito Pass
Mosquito Pass
Mosquito Pass

Mosquito Pass is located in the Mosquito Range, on the border between Lake and Park counties in Central Colorado. It lies on the divide between the Arkansas and South Platte Rivers, east of the Continental Divide. With an elevation of 4,019 m (13,185 ft), Mosquito Pass can be crossed only on foot, or by a 4WD car that can overcome a stream crossing, rocky terrain, and a steep climb. The dirt road over the pass is called the "highway of the frozen death" because of extremely dangerous patches of ice. It is generally passable only during summer months roughly from late July through September. During the winter, frequent snowstorms and blizzards cover the road with lots of snow making it impassable.

Mosquito Pass road is one of the highest mountain roads in the state, and it is in poor condition. It can be reached from Colorado Highway 9, north of Fairplay over to the town of Leadville. The name of the pass and nearby town of Mosquito came from a town meeting where a mosquito was crushed between pages of a book. Thus Mosquito has become the only name townsfolk could agree on, according to a local legend. Another legend says that Judge Wilbur F. Stone could not decide on a name for his mining company until a mosquito landed on the blank space, providing a name for both the company and the entire mountain range.

Even in the summer, the trail is often covered with mist that limits visibility. During a storm the road may be impassable even for a high clearance 4WD vehicle. Mosquito range is a popular destination for climbing, hiking, and mountaineering.

Practical info

What is Mosquito Pass?

Located on the border between Lake and Park counties, Mosquito Pass is one of Colorado's highest passes, with an elevation of approximately 4,019 meters. This pass is situated in the Mosquito Range and divides the Arkansas and South Platte Rivers, east of the Continental Divide. It's possible to cross the pass by hiking, but it's steep and rocky terrain requires a 4WD vehicle to cross it. Show more

When is the best time to visit Mosquito Pass?

The pass is typically passable from late July to September. It's best to avoid it during winter when snowstorms and blizzards may make it impassable. In the summer, Mosquito Range becomes a popular spot for hiking, climbing, and mountaineering. Therefore, it's ideal to visit Mosquito Pass from late July through September when weather conditions are most conducive to outdoor activities. Show more

Can a regular car cross Mosquito Pass?

A regular car is not suitable for traversing Mosquito Pass, which is dissuaded due to numerous dangerous patches of ice and unpredictable weather. However, a high-clearance 4WD vehicle is recommended and can travel over the pass with great caution. Nevertheless, visibility can be restricted due to the mist, which frequently covers the route, exposing drivers to risks and hazards. Show more

Is Mosquito Pass dangerous?

Yes, Mosquito Pass is hazardous. The poor condition of the road, its location on a river divide between two rivers, and patches of icy roads make this pass treacherous. However, hiking and exploration are relatively safe and enjoyable as long as individuals are equipped with the necessary safety measures and are aware of unanticipated changes in weather conditions beforehand. Precautionary measures should be a top priority when visiting Mosquito Pass. Show more

What are other popular activities in Mosquito Range?

In addition to hiking, climbing, and mountaineering, Mosquito Range is well-known for exploring abandoned mines and ghost towns. This range features many alpine lakes, including Montgomery and Traver Reservoirs, which are ideal spots for fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. The mountain's steep summits offer a perfect environment for winter mountaineering instruction. Lastly, the nearby towns of Fairplay and Leadville offer a unique mining heritage for visitors to explore. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin