Situated east of Gunnison, Waunita Pass is a short, fun seasonal drive you can take through the Gunnison National Forest. It connects Highway 50 with itself, a detour of a drive, passing the towns of Pitkin and Ohio City.
Waunita Pass Road is suitable for most 2WD automobiles. Because it’s a dirt road, 4WD is advisable at times of inclement weather. It’s a seasonal drive that’s snow covered in the winter. There are a few fun gems in route, and even more spread throughout the national forest.
Waunita Hot Springs Ranch is located on the east side of the pass on County Road 887. It’s a private hot springs reserved for guests in the summer, and open to the public for day visits in the winter. Between this western guest ranch and the start of the pass lies another attraction, Bowerman Ghost Town. There’s not much left to this townsite, just one historic cabin in shambles.
Free dispersed campsites can be found along Waunita Pass Road. It’s very easy to find primitive campsites on both sides of the pass within the Gunnison National Forest. There is no camping within the town limits of Pitkin.
From Gunnison – Take Highway 50 east to the town of Parlin. Take County Road 76 26.5 miles to Pitkin. From there you’ll hop on Waunita Pass Road/County Road 763 to climb over the pass. After reaching the other side you can take a right onto County Road 887, which takes you back to Highway 50. You can also start from Highway 50 and County Road 887 and reverse the directions.
From Pitkin you can head north to the town of Tincup. There is a rugged 4×4 pass there where high clearance is definitely required. Tincup Pass crosses the Continental Divide, connecting the western side by Almont, with the ghost town of Saint Elmo by Buena Visa to the east.
Address: Waunita Pass Road, Pitkin, CO 81239
Season: June through September