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Hagerman Pass, Leadville

#9 of 9 in Parks in Leadville
Mountain · Hidden Gem · Scenic Drive
Hagerman Pass, elevation 11,925 ft (3,635 m), is a high mountain pass that crosses the continental divide in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado in the United States. The pass traverses the Sawatch Range west of Leadville, connecting the headwaters of the Arkansas River on the east with the upper valley of the Fryingpan River above Basalt, in the basin of the Colorado River.

The pass was named for James J. Hagerman, builder of the Colorado Midland Railroad. The Colorado Midland railroad crossed the continental divide through one of two tunnels (initially the Hagerman Tunnel (1877), later the Busk-Ivanhoe Tunnel (1893) at lower altitude) near the top of Hagerman pass. The latter tunnel now serves as a water diversion tunnel draining Ivanhoe Lake on the west side of the pass into the Arkansas River basin.

In 1909, the Shoshone Transmission Line was built to connect a generating station near Glenwood Springs with Leadville and Denver. This historic electric transmission line has been modernized several times and is still in use.

The pass is traversed by an unimproved road that is passable only with four-wheel drive vehicles, bicycles, ATVs, or on foot. Two-wheel drive vehicles will find it difficult due to some stream crossings and rocky sections. It is open from approximately late May through the arrival of the first heavy snow in mid or late autumn. The road has occasionally been blocked by fallen trees.

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Hagerman Pass reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
15 reviews
  • Most of this pass are a pretty easy drive. However, there are some patches where you're going to need decent clearance. We did see some standard 4 door, full-time 4-wheel drive vehicles along this...  more »
  • I’m really glad we drove our truck here. I don’t think I’d want my SUV out here. It is extremely rough and rocky in places. There was also some deep water. The wildflowers on the west side were...  more »
  • Drove this in a Ford 250 PU 2 wheel drive in 1974. Took us 3 1/2 hours to go 17 miles--one of the best rides of my life!
  • Tough in some spots- it’s a dirt road but when you get to the little break spot, the scenery is unbelievable and there’s awesome trails to hike. There’s a ghost town if you take the Hagerman tunnel trail up and then a beautiful blue lake at the end. We didn’t make it to the tunnel because of the snow but you definitely could get through w/ proper attire

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