We're Gonna Pass - Colorado Pass #1 - Kenosha Pass


Moving to Colorado, we found something new to collect: passes. These are places that a road or hiking path was created at the lowest point between two mountains. You will find 166 mountain passes over 7,783 feet (2,372 m). Of those passes, 107 are actually drivable; however, there are only 61 of those are paved while the rest are either gravel or unimproved. Of the 61 roads that are drivable with an ordinary car (meaning low clearance and not a 4×4), 30 of them are over 10,000 ft (3048 m). Stat wise, this is a very collectible project.

If you would like to learn about what a pass is and how Colorado keeps travelers safe, please read our post We're Gonna Pass, Thank You - Colorado Passes and How To Traverse Them.



Sitting at 10,000 feet (3,000 meters) above sea level, Kenosha Pass sits just below the treeline and seems to be nothing more than a "hill" west of the city of Grant. However, there is more under the surface of this place. This pass was formed by what is called the Kenosha Batholith which was created by cracks in the earth's surface allowing buoyant magma to rise forming plutonic diapirs. The magma cooled and left a dome shape of granite. It was here gold was found, making it a perfect location for mining.

We found some very interesting things about this area. This area is part of the Pike National Forest and has many areas to enjoy the outdoors such as camping and hiking the Colorado Trail which crosses the summit. We had hoped we would be able to hike at the time we visited in late November, but we were not ready to do snow hiking; we didn't even know it was a thing until a few weeks later.


One of the more interesting finds we came across is a sign saying, South Park National Heritage Area. No this does not have anything to do with the cartoon series South Park. It refers to the history of this area. At one time this was a booming location drawing everyone seeking fortune in gold. Starting in 1859 during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, the towns of Fairplay, Alama, and South Park had tens of thousands of residents all working in the mines, supporting the miners, or hoping to get some of the gold the miners found. You will find places like Paris Mill still standing in a dilapidated state. Of course, our favorite of the historical finds is the old county courthouse. It has been saved and restored.


For being our first adventure in Colorado, there was much to see. We loved the fact that continuing west on highway 285 we would find this was not a hill at all, but a mountain hovering over the small unincorporated community of Jefferson at 9,501 feet 2,896 meters). At one point on the drive down there is an overlook that allows you to see the Rocky Mountains.


Screenshot of PASS' location from Google Maps.

[//]:# (!pinmapple 39.413169 lat -105.758011 long d3scr)

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The area looks amazing! For me it has got a little silence in it:)

It was really pretty with the snow. Being our first trip in Colorado, we had no clue what to expect. I wish we could have hiked a bit of it while we were there.

Hiya, @ybanezkim26 here, just swinging by to let you know that this post made it into our Honorable Mentions in Daily Travel Digest #1197.

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Oh wow! Thank you so very much. I do appreciate the mention for sure.