Squaw Pass is a 9,790 foot mountain pass located in the Arapaho National Forest, roughly halfway between Evergreen and Idaho Springs, Colorado. The journey up and down Squaw Pass offers miles of scenic roadway filled with aspen trees, wildflowers and mountain views.
Although the journey is incredibly scenic, more often than not, Squaw Pass is nothing more than a quick stop along the way to the nearby 14,000 foot Mount Evans. For most drivers a seasonal trip from May to October, weather pending, up Mt Evans Byway is an unbeatable way to see the front range.
History of Squaw Pass
The automobile route over Squaw pass was first established in 1923, and would later become fully paved in 1956. The pass shares its namesake with the nearby Squaw Mountain, both of which bear the name of a derogatory sexual slur used to describe Indigenous Native American women. Efforts have been made to rename Squaw Pass, just as the California’s Squaw Valley.
Squaw Pass Accessibility
Squaw Pass is reached along Squaw Pass Road, which is also known as Colorado State Highway 103. The route connects Evergreen, Echo Lake Park, and Idaho Springs with fully paved roads that experience a large number of sharp turns and elevation changes.
Drivers must be attentive when summiting Squaw Pass, and weather conditions should always be checked before traveling along SH 103.
Seasonality – In the winter, SH 103 is not considered an essential travel road, so access to Squaw Pass is often blocked by snow. With that said, the connecting Old Squaw Pass Rd is popular for snowshoeing.
Vehicle Restrictions – There are no vehicle restrictions on Squaw Pass Road. 2WD and low clearance is okay, although motorists should be aware of Colorado Traction and Chain Laws.
Activities near Squaw Pass
Squaw Pass is tucked into some of the most dramatic scenery in the front range of the Rocky Mountains. The surrounding Arapaho National Forest provides ample opportunities for hiking, climbing, mountain biking, and viewing wildlife.
At the pass, Squaw Mountain Trail is a 4.1 mile service road where OHV and hikers can travel to a fire tower that offers panoramic views of the stunning alpine wilderness.
Season: Early spring to late fall
Elevation: 9,790 feet (2,984 m)
Mountain Range: Front Range of the Rocky Mountains
Coordinates: 39°40’47.8″N 105°28’25.8″W
Access: Colorado State Highway 103 (Squaw Pass Road)