Guanella Pass Road
Department of Transportation.
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.
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
Navigating the Byway:
Take I-70 west of Denver to Exit 228 in Georgetown. Follow the signs from the Gateway Visitors Center. The byway follows first NM 381 and then NM 62 for 23 miles and ends in Grant.