Webster Pass  
USGS 7.5' Map: Montezuma, Jefferson
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Easy 4 FR 121, 285 5.6 10,000 to 12,096 ft. Ledge 1 3-4 hours
County: Summit and Park
Adopted by:      
Managed by: White River National Forest,
Dillon Ranger District

Pike National Forest,
South Platte Ranger District
680 Blue River Parkway
Silverthorne, CO 80498

19316 Goddard Ranch Court
Morrison, CO 80465

Summary: Webster Pass crosses the Continental Divide with dramatic views of the surrounding mountains. The south side of the pass is a narrow ledge road. The north side of the pass is a series of switchbacks.
Attractions: Scenery, Ledge road.
South side (FR 121) is closed naturally by snow fall.
North side (FR 285) is closed by the Forest Service from November 23 to May 20.
Best Time: June - The pass is typically snowed in
July - Late in the month if the snow has melted.
August - Best
September - Best
October - First snows will close the pass.
Hiking -

Equestrian -

Mountain Bike -


Motorcycle -

Camping: There are dispersed sites on the lower north side. The south side has a few dispersed sites as well as a Forest Service campground.
Base Camp: The north side would be a good place to base camp and explore Radical Hill FR 286, Santa Fe Peak FR 264, Deer Creek FR 5 and the other 4WD roads in the area. The south side is quick access to Redcone FR 565 and Hall Valley FR 120.C.
Fall Colors: Good - The south side has the best opportunity.
Snowshoeing -

Cross Country Skiing-

Snowmobile -

Navigation: From Bailey, CO head west on US-285 South for 14.3 miles. Turn right onto County Rd 60/Hall Valley Road at the town site of Webster and go 5.0 miles to an intersection. There will be an information sign here. Take the road that goes north up Handcart Gulch, this is the Webster Pass road. The road to the left is the Hall Valley Road FR 120.C.

From Keystone, CO. head east on US-6 East toward Aspen Way / Gonala Road / Keystone Road. Take the Montezuma Road exit and go 0.2 miles to a slight right onto Montezuma Road. Go 6.4 miles, passing through Montezuma, CO. and turn left onto Bullion Mine Road. Go 0.5 miles and turn right onto Webster Pass Road. Go 2.1 miles to a "Y" in the road. To the left is Webster Pass. The right takes you to Radical Hill FR 286.
History: Webster Pass was used by the Native Americans before propsectors discovered the pass in the 1860's. Originally known as Handcart Pass due to the miners who used handcarts to haul their outfits up the steep slope. The miners were unable to find gold in paying quantities so the valley was abandoned. The name changed in 1878 after the Webster brothers, working for the Montezuma Silver Mining Company, constructed a toll road from Montezuma, CO to the Grant and Bailey, CO area. Webster Pass became the main route for hauling freight into, and minerals out of, the Snake River mining district. By the 1890's a railroad route was surveyed for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad but it was never pursued.

On the south side of Webster Pass near the confluence of Handcart Creek and the North Fork of the South Platte River was the town of Hall Valley. The main town site is approximatley where the Hall Valley Campground is. In the 1870's a small mining community developed here, named after Colonel Jairus Hall who served in the Territorial Legislature. The town had a post office from 1874 to 1898 as well as saloons and stores. The largest mine in the area was the Whale Mine near Webster Pass. It was owned by Colonel Hall and had a tram system and smelter to process the ore.
Hall Valley

photo by:

When the railroads made their way to the mining districts through other routes, Webster Pass fell into disuse. In 1971 Webster Pass was reopened to vehicle traffic through the efforts of 4WD enthusiasts.
From the north side Webster Pass is a short ascent to the top of the pass by three switchbacks. The 4WD road is not too challenging, it will be navigating the switchbacks as you climb to the pass. There is a large parking area at the top with sweeping views of South Park ahead and the mountains of Summit County behind as you sit on the Continental Divide.
Webster Pass

photo by:
Adam M

The road down the south side of Webster Pass is similar with four switchbacks, but it is much steeper making for a narrow ledge road. Be aware of oncoming traffic and pay attention to wide spots to pass others, typically the switchbacks will be the best place to pass.
Ledge road on the south side of Webster Pass

photo by:
Adam M

Once you get down to timberline at the head of Handcart Gulch the road will follow the creek down to County Road 60. There may be muddy sections if it is early in the season, with one being quite deep. Just before connecting with the county road you will pass the Crow Cabin in a small meadow.
Handcart Gulch. Base of Redcone on the left.

photo by:
Adam M

Data updated: October 1, 2014        4WD Road driven: July 23, 2010        Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2014