America's Scenic Byways

Guanella Pass Road

22 miles - 1 hour

This well-settled road leap-frogs the steep divide between the South Platte and Clear Creek watersheds, passing through a succession of distinct environments. The lower elevations are green and wet, with thick stands of spruce, fir, aspen, and pine rising along cascading creeks. Higher up, the streams snake through broad meadows, succoring thirsty mammals, nesting birds, and the industrious beaver, The road crests well above the timberline, where every spring the grasses and flowers stubbornly renew, and the fragile tundra thaws and blossoms.

Mining Legacy
The Guanella Pass Road known to visitors today was once an old wagon trail used by miners traveling between Georgetown and Grant. Gold lured miners and others to the area, but it was silver that brought prosperity to the valley. Well-preserved Victorian structures in Georgetown remind visitors of a day when the town was known as “Silver Queen of the Rockies.” Silver brought Cornish, Irish, English, Italian, German, and Scandinavian miners to the area, adding to the already existing culture.

Exploring the Byway
Before the automobile and sightseeing trips, mountain men traveled through this area in search of the prized beaver. Today, visitors can explore the Rocky Mountains along well-established trails. Hiking, horseback riding, biking, and backcountry exploring are all popular activities along the trails. Numerous camp spots, fishing holes, and four-wheel drive roads also hold adventure for the traveler.