Skip to main content

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 29; US Route 6 over Loveland Pass

Upon leaving Leadville I took a turn on Colorado State Route 91 towards Fremont Pass and the Climax Mine.  From the terminus of CO 91 I took Interstate 70/US Route 6 east to Dillon to spend the night.  The next morning my planned route back to Denver included crossing Loveland Pass via US 6.


This article serves as the 29th entry in the 2016 Summer Mountain Part Trip.  Part 28 covers the history of US Route 24 through the Town of Leadville.

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 28; US Route 24 through Leadville

Loveland Pass crests the Continental Divide of the Colorado Rockies Front Range at an elevation of 11,990 feet above sea level.  Loveland Pass is one of the oldest transportation corridors through the Rockies.  Loveland Pass traces it's origins back to a wagon road constructed through Clear Creek Canyon by William A.H. Loveland in 1863-1864.  The Loveland wagon road up Clear Creek Canyon to Loveland Pass was built to take advantage of the numerous mining stamp mills that popped up during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush.

During the Auto Trail era in Colorado the road over Loveland Pass appeared not to be a major corridor of travel.  No signed highways appear over Loveland Pass on the 1924 Rand McNally Regional Highway Map.  The Midland-Roosevlt Midland Trail is shown to climb out of Clear Creek Canyon via Berthoud Pass (future US 40) via Empire.


Loveland Pass appears on the route of CO 91 on the 1927 Rand McNally Highway Map of Colorado.  CO 91 in it's original form began at US 40S in Leadville.  CO 91 from Leadville headed northeast via Fremont Pass and Loveland Pass to US 40/CO 2 in Empire. 


During 1936 the Loveland Ski Area opened operations and brought additional tourism to Loveland Pass.  By 1937 US 6 was extended from Greeley, CO to Long Beach, CA according to USends.  US 6 absorbed the entire route of CO 91 over Loveland Pass and Fremont Pass which can be seen on the 1939 State Farm Insurance Map of Colorado.  By 1940 US 6 would be rerouted from Fremont Pass to Vail Pass but Loveland Pass would remain as part of the highway.


During March 1973 Loveland Pass was bypassed by I-70 by way of the Eisenhower Tunnel.  Notably hazardous cargo and trucks over 13 feet, 11 inches cannot enter the Eisenhower Tunnel.  Given the heavy truck restrictions through the Eisenhower Tunnel US 6 over Loveland Pass has remained an important trucking corridor despite it's heavy 6.7% grades.

Upon my arrival to Loveland Pass on eastbound US 6 I was greeted with a Department of Agriculture sign announcing the height of the pass along the Continental Divide.  Notably US 6 over Loveland Pass is the second highest US Route only behind US 34 on the Trail Ridge Road.


A look southwest from Loveland Pass towards the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.


A progressive look northeast from Loveland Pass into Clear Creek Canyon.  The heavy road grades of US 6 become immediately apparent.





A panoramic view of Loveland Pass.


Upon reaching I-70 I stayed eastbound through Clear Creek Canyon towards Denver.  I would make several additional stops in Clear Canyon on my way to the Denver Area.

2016 Summer Mountain Trip Part 30; former US Route 6 and Colorado State 91 in Silver Plume


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Onion Valley Road; former California State Route 180 to Kearsarge Pass

This summer I had an opportunity to drive one of the lesser known great roads of California; Onion Valley Road from Independence west to Onion Valley near Kearsarge Pass.  Aside from being massive climb into the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains the path of Onion Valley Road was once signed as California State Route 180 and was intended to be part of a Trans-Sierra Highway.


Onion Valley Road is located west of Independence of Inyo County and is 12.9 miles in length.  According to pjammcycling.com Onion Valley Road begins at an elevation of 3,946 feet above sea level in Independence and terminates at 9,219 feet above sea level at Onion Valley.  Pjammcycling rates Onion Valley Road with an average gradient of 7.8% and lists it as the 6th most difficult cycling climb in the United States.  Onion Valley Road also includes ten switchbacks which largely follow the course of Independence Creek.  Anyway you look at it the route of Onion Valley Road is no joke and is definitely a test of driving…

Trans-Sierra Highways; California State Route 4 over Pacific Grade Summit and Ebbetts Pass

Back in late October of 2016 I had a long weekend off which coincided with a warm weekend in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  That being the case the winder in the weather gave me a chance to finish some additional Trans-Sierra Highways starting with California State Route 4 over Pacific Grade Summit and Ebbetts Pass.  I would later return to Pacific Grade Summit and Ebbetts Pass during the smoke filled summer of 2020. 

California State Route 4 ("CA 4") contains probably most infamous Trans-Sierra State Highway in Caltrans Inventory.  CA 4 from CA 207 in Bear Valley east over Pacific Grade Summit and Ebbetts Pass includes approximately 30 miles of one-lane highway which reaches gradients as steep as 24%. 
CA 4 is a 192 mile State Highway which originates at I-80 near Hercules of the San Francisco Bay Area and terminates at CA 89 in the remote Sierra Nevada Mountains of Alpine County.  CA 4 is probably the most diverse State Highway in California as it has; several freeway segme…

Horseshoe Meadows Road; former California State Route 190 and the legacy of the Lone Pine-Porterville HIgh Sierra Road

This summer I had an opportunity to drive one of the lesser known great roads of California; Horseshoe Meadows Road from Whitney Portal Road westward into Horseshoe Meadows of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Aside from being massive climb into the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains the path of Horseshoe Meadows Road was once part of California State Route 190 and was intended to be part of a Trans-Sierra Highway known as the Lone Pine-Porterville High Sierra Road.


Horseshoe Meadows Road is located west of Lone Pine of Inyo County and is 19.7 miles in length.  Horseshoe Meadows Road begins at an approximate elevation of 4,500 feet above sea level at Whitney Portal Road in the Alabama Hills and ends at an elevation of 10,072 feet above sea level in Horseshoe Meadows.  Horseshoe Meadows Road is the second highest paved road in California only behind Rock Creek Road near Tom's Place.  Pjammcycling rates Horseshoe Meadows Road with an average gradient of 6.2% and lists it as th…