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Webster and Red Cone Pass Trail in Colorado

A perfect ride for a 4WD with scenic views of the Continental Divide

Best time: late June–September

Webster and Red Cone Pass Trail
Webster and Red Cone Pass Trail
Webster and Red Cone Pass Trail

People often search for Webster Pass and Red Cone Pass separately. However, the two of them make up Webster and Red Cone Pass Trail, an 18-mi (30-km) loop that can be accessed from road 285, near the town of Montezuma about a two-hour drive from Denver. Both summits are usually covered in one day, as you drive from the Red Cone Pass down to Webster Pass. The trail can either be hiked or conquered in a high-clearance 4WD.

Red Cone Pass

Red Cone Pass is a steep and rocky trail climbing Red Cone Peak to an elevation of 12,801 feet (3,902 m) above sea level. The pass is located near Dillon, Park County, within Pike National Forest and is one of the most unusual dirt tracks in Colorado due to its color and shape. The pass can only be reached via a steep gravel road. Mind that driving along the edge of the slope can be rather dangerous, and is suitable for experts only. However, the drive's scenic views and occasional encounters with mountain goats are worth taking the risk.

Webster Pass

Webster Pass crosses the Continental Divide in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The Road is located south of the semi-ghost town of Montezuma within White River National Forest at an elevation of 12,103 feet (3,689 m). The picturesque drive follows Snake River, notorious for a few switchbacks to beware of.

When is Webster/Red Cone Pass open

Webster and Red Cone Pass Trail is usually accessible for OHV (off-highway vehicles) between May and October. However, the best season for Red Cone Pass is late June through September, and for Webster Pass—July through October. The safest road conditions are observed in late August and early September when the snow melts entirely. If you come at a different time, please check whether there's no snow blocking your way, because it can be impossible to turn around on a one-way road. If you come late in the season, watch out for local fall foliage. Lastly, in winter, the trail is not maintained yet you can still get there via snowshoe.

Hall Valley and Handcart Campgrounds

Finding a dispersed campsite is not a problem—you'll have a lot of them along Webster Pass Road. Additionally, you can also choose from paid camping options situated at the southern terminus of the Webster and Red Cone Pass Trail. The two most popular choices include Hall Valley Campground and Handcart Campground, both managed by the US Forest Service. If you prefer to stay in a hotel, check out the map below.

Practical info

What is the ideal time to go to Webster and Red Cone Pass Trail?

The best period to visit Webster and Red Cone Pass Trail is from late June to September, after which snow clears up, and the fall foliage makes the beautiful scenery even more striking. It is also advised to take in the Red Cone Pass from late June to September and Webster Pass from July to October when the best experience can be expected. By the end of August and early September, any risk of snow or hazardous road situations is absent. Show more

What is the location of Webster and Red Cone Pass Trail?

By travelling 93 miles south of Denver, Webster and Red Cone Pass Trail can be visited. The trail is an 18-mile (30 km) loop situated off road 285. Webster Pass is located south of semi-ghost town Montezuma, White River National Forest, in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Meanwhile, Red Cone Pass is in Park County Pike National Forest near Dillon. The path of Snake River is where the perfect drive experience can be achieved. Show more

When can OHV operate on the Webster/Red Cone Pass Trail?

Operating an off-highway vehicle along Webster and Red Cone Pass Trail is usually permitted from May to October. Late in the season, particularly from late August to early September when the risk of snow or roadblock is almost non-existent, is the perfect period to visit. It is still necessary to ensure whether conditions are favourable or confirm if any landslide or snowy roads may have blocked the trail by taking safety precautions and adhering to essential guidelines. Show more

Can driving along the Red Cone Pass Trail be dangerous?

The journey along the Red Cone Pass Trail has some danger associated with it, making it best for experts only. The trail is rough and steep, and driving along the edge of the slope can be risky, even more so with terrible weather. The best time to travel the trail is undoubtedly when it is sunny as road safety is guaranteed. Although the risk is present, mountain goats and other remarkable sights make it worth it. Show more

Are there any accommodation facilities surrounding Webster and Red Cone Pass Trail?

Numerous dispersed camping sites can be found near Webster Pass Road and paid campsites like Handcart Campground and Hall Valley, the southern terminus of Webster and Red Cone Pass Trail, are ideal for visitors who love to camp. Keystone Ski Resort, located precisely one hour away from Handcart Campground, is also a viable option for visitors who would instead lodge in a hotel. Show more

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Authors: Olha Savych