Guanella Pass passes through two national forests on it’s way from I-70 to US 285. It begins in Georgetown in the Arapaho National Forest and climbs to 11,669 feet in 12 miles.
After the summit, it crosses into the Pike National Forest, before ending in Grant. It’s breathtaking the whole way and definitely worth a trip, which takes about an hour.
September and early October are two of the most popular times to drive the pass, with beautiful fall foliage everywhere. Both sides of the pass offer something unique, with plenty of forests and mountains to explore.
Biking – Some folks bike the pass.
Camping – There are 2 Arapaho NF campgrounds on the Georgetown side and 2 Pike NF on the Grant side.
- There are also lots of free dispersed camping spots on both sides of the pass. Sites can be found within 5 minutes out of Georgetown.
Fishing – Georgetown Lake and Clear Lake are the closest to Georgetown. There’s also a few lakes along the pass.
Hiking – Beautiful trails are found dotted along the pass. Most of the big hikes though are at the summit. A 1/4 mile hike overlooks the valley.
- At the top are big 13K-peaks and the 14,060 foot Mount Bierstadt. It’s a 3 mile hike (one-way) up 2,391 feet to the top of it.
- Silver Dollar Lake is a 1.75 mile (one-way) hike from the top.
Horseback Riding – Horses are allowed on certain multi-use trails.
Hunting – Permitted in parts of the federal land during appropriate seasons.
OHV – There are several forest service roads that allow off highway vehicles.
Winter Recreation – The pass may close if there is avalanche risk. Otherwise trails are open to cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
(north to south)
- Georgetown & Georgetown Lake
- Silverdale Intrepretive Site
- Clear Lake & Campground
- Silver Dollar Lake Trailhead
- Guanella Pass Campground
- Guanella Pass Trailhead
- Duck Creek Picnic Area
- Geneva Park Campground
- Burning Bear Campground
- Abyss Trailhead
- Three Mile Trailhead
- Whiteside Picnic Area
From downtown Georgetown, take the Co Rd 381/Gunella Pass Road. From Grant, take Co Rd 62/Guanella Pass Rd.
Season: April – November
Length: 24 miles
Roads: 2WD, Free
Map: Guanella Pass (.jpg)