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On Walkabout On: Hoosier Pass, Colorado

A few weeks ago when I climbed the 14,270 foot Quandary Peak outside of Breckenridge, Colorado I had to cross Hoosier Pass in order to get to the trailhead.  In fact the trailhead is located at the very bottom of the north side of the pass on Highway 9.  On the way back from my climb I decided to make a stop at the summit of Hoosier.  The summit actually had quite a few people there taking pictures of the surrounding mountains along with getting pictures of this summit marker:

Picture from Hoosier Pass, Colorado

 

At 11,539 feet the pass is one of the highest in the United States and is also right on the Continental Divide.  So you could literally pour a glass of water on one side of the pass and it would eventually end up in the Pacific Ocean while pouring a glass of water on the other side would end up in the Atlantic.  The below maps shows where the Continental Divide and Hoosier Pass is located:


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Besides the marker designating the altitude and the fact it sits on the Continental Divide, there is also a historic marker that shows that the first recorded crossing of Hoosier Pass was by the Fremont Expedition in 1844 which included the famed Kit Carson:

Picture from Hoosier Pass, Colorado

You can learn more about Kit Carson at the below links:

Of course Native-Americans and fur trappers are likely to have crossed this pass long before Fremont, but unfortunately since it was not recorded it has been lost to history.  The marker also explains that the pass received its name in 1860 from miners that were originally from the state of Indiana.

However, most people do not stop at Hoosier Pass to pour water or learn about its history; they instead come to take in the views such as of the 14,172 foot Mt. Bross and the 14,286 foot Mt. Lincoln:

Picture from Hoosier Pass, Colorado

The peaks are part of what is called the DeCaLiBron.  The DeCaLiBron are four 14ers, Mt. Democrat, Mt. Cameron, Mt. Lincoln, and Mt. Bross that can all be hiked in one day for those fit enough to accomplish this feat.  These peaks are all part of the Mosquito Range that runs through this area of central Colorado.

Here is a picture I took further down from the summit of Hoosier Pass looking at the valley that leads to Fairplay, Colorado where more peaks of the Mosquito Range can be seen:

Picture from Hoosier Pass, Colorado

Further down Hoosier Pass I stopped and took this picture of the 14er, Mt. Sherman that I recently climbed:

Picture from Hoosier Pass, Colorado

As I continued down Highway 9 from Hoosier Pass, mining activity along the creek that ran near the highway became quite evident:

Picture from Hoosier Pass, Colorado

In the background the rounded peaks of the Mosquito Range continued to dominate the view:

Picture from Hoosier Pass, Colorado

Here is the view looking back up towards Hoosier Pass and the peaks of the DeCaLiBron:

Picture from Hoosier Pass, Colorado

Finally the road from Hoosier Pass ended at the small village of Fairplay and its recreated 19th century outdoor museum, South Park City:

Picture from Hoosier Pass, Colorado

A drive over Hoosier Pass and a stop in either Breckenridge or Fairplay makes for a very nice day trip for anyone living in one of the Front Range cities.  This day trip has plenty of great scenery as well as offering a glimpse into the mining past of the state.

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