Georgia Pass

Breckenridge, Colorado (Summit County)

Last Updated: 07/13/2019
4.5 /5 ( 8 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: 05/20 - 11/23
Difficulty: 3-3
(MODERATE )
Length: 11 miles
Highest Elevation: 11550 feet
Duration: About 2 hours 30 minutes
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: South
Nearest Town: Breckenridge
Nearest Town w/ Services: Breckenridge
Official Road Name: FS 355, CR 54
Management Agency: White River National Forest
District: Dillon Ranger District
Distance:
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Georgia Pass
Georgia Pass is the middle and least trafficked of the three main passes over the Continental Divide in Summit County. To the east, Webster Pass is more popular with the 4WD crowd due to the well known and technical 4WD offroad trails it connects. To the west, Boreas Pass is easy and often clogged with tourists in minivans. The southern slope is an easy dirt road. The north, however, is where all the fun awaits! The trail summits in the saddle between Mount Guyot and Glacier Ridge with spectacular views of both the rugged Swan River Valley and the grassy plains of South Park. The Glacier Ridge 4WD trail meets this trail at the summit, connecting to the notorious rock garden, SOB Hill (a.k.a. Number 10 Road). On a historical note, Georgia Pass once served as the primary route into the Swan and Blue river valleys for gold-hungry miners. At the height of the rush, as many as 200 prospectors a day flooded over the pass, then called Swan River Pass, into the boom towns of Parkville, Swandyke, and Tiger. No trace remains of these once vibrant towns except for a few ruins in Swandyke. (Parkville was buried by river dredges in the 1880s. Tiger was intentionally burned to the ground by the Forest Service in the 1970s to "rid the area of squatters.") By the 1880s, Boreas and Hoosier passes had become easier and more civilized routes and Georgia was all but abandoned.

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for Georgia Pass

Route Information

Advanced Rating System

Recommended Vehicle:
Stock SUV with High Clearance and 4 Low
Concerns:
Summary:
The south side of the pass is an easy dirt road passable in 2WD. If you only travel the south side, the trail is rated 1. The north side is a genuine 4WD trail. It's not overly difficult and can be done in a stock truck with good ground clearance and an experienced driver.

Technical Rating: 3-3
(MODERATE )

Typically, more rock or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 12" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 12" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 24" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep.
Read more about our rating system

Description

The northern slope of Georgia Pass begins as a relatively tame dirt road. Gradually, it becomes more rough, rocky, and narrow. The last mile before the summit is the hardest section with some tight rocky areas and some rutted, washed out dirt. The southern slope is all wide open dirt roads. Because of this, and because the summit is part of the Colorado Trail, it is sometimes crowded with sight-seers, hikers and their cars. Since the north slope is more interesting, it is usually run from north to south. Cell phone signals are spotty at best throughout the trail. The nearest emergency room is at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center (970-668-3300), located just off CO-9 south of Frisco. Summit County Sheriff office (970-453-2232) is on CO-9 in Breckenridge.
The summit area is often crowded with sight-seers and hikers. Take your time and keep your eyes peeled.

Waypoints

1. North Trailhead (0.00 mi)
Adjacent to Snow Caps, a sled dog company, FS 355 leaves FS 6 at a right turn (west). Cross the dredge tailings and turn left (south). For a good while, the road is wide and well maintained. This area is a mix of private land and Summit County Open Space. No camping is allowed.
2. American Gulch/GH93 (0.80 mi)
At a well marked fork, American Gulch/Humbug Hill, splits to the right (east). Go left, across a narrow bridge. Immediately after the bridge, a narrow trail goes left. This is a nice camping area with a short cut to Middle Fork Swan via a water crossing.
3. Seasonal Gate (1.10 mi)
The gate is closed from November through May, "or until road is dry," which could be well into June if the previous winter was unusually snowy.
4. Camping Fork 1 of 3 (1.50 mi)
To the right, is the first of three access points to a road that runs parallel to this trail. The road has several campsites that range from large sites suitable for small campers to small, rough, sloped sites that may only invite hammocks. It should be noted that this "camping road" had a couple of muddy, rocky spots that may damage low clearance trailers. Scout it out before you haul it. A few yards beyond this fork are some cabin ruins. This section was once a long, shallow water crossing, but in 2017, the Forest Service filled it in with gravel. There is still a small water crossing if you take the right fork onto the camping road.
5. Former Home Site - NO CAMPING! (2.30 mi)
This site was once a popular campsite. There was also an old house that was popular with squatters. In 2017, the Forest Service razed both. Please respect the signage keep your wheels and your feet off the new vegetation. NO CAMPING at this site!
6. Camping Fork 2 of 3 (2.80 mi)
To the right, across a shallow water crossing, is the second of three access points to the camping road mentioned in Waypoint 4. Continue straight on FS 355. From here on, there are quite a few unmarked or poorly marked intersections. Most of these spurs either rejoin the trail later or dead end. Some offer nice campsites. As a general rule, stay on the more established trail.
7. Fork - Stay Right (3.00 mi)
Take the right fork to stay on FS 355. The left spur dead ends.
8. Camping Fork 3 of 3 (3.00 mi)
Here, a sharp right is the last of the three access points to the camping road mentioned in Waypoint 4.
9. Unmarked Fork - Stay Left (3.10 mi)
Take the left fork to stay on FS 355. The right fork dead ends at a large campsite.
10. Unmarked Fork - Stay Left (3.20 mi)
Continue straight. The trail to the right joins the previous fork which dead ends at a large campsite.
11. Gate (3.40 mi)
There is an established turn-around here in case the gate is locked. The next section of trail is very narrow with few opportunities to pass. If you have to back up to allow a downhill vehicle through, this is a good spot.
12. Fork - Stay Left (3.60 mi)
This hard left is easy to miss. Don't worry if you miss it. Going straight accesses a private gate, then leads back to the main trail.
13. Switchback/Meadow (3.70 mi)
There's a very narrow and off camber switchback leading down into this wide meadow. Some bone heads thought it would be fun to create a short cut here. Please don't be a bone head. STAY THE TRAIL!
14. The Sluice Box (3.80 mi)
For a couple hundred hards, the trail becomes very narrow and rocky. Trees crowd both sides and spring water flows down this "sluice" year round. Well into June (sometimes July!), this spring water, joined by snow runoff, freezes into a treacherous ice rink. (See third pic.) Skill and momentum can get you through (and lockers don't hurt). However, some folks chicken out and take a bypass to the right. PLEASE don't take this bypass in Spring or early Summer! It is muddy and easily damaged.
15. Trail Braiding (4.30 mi)
As the trees thin out, the trail gets considerably steeper with banked turns and washouts. Just before the summit, the trail is badly braided, with several variations through the washouts and ruts. It's impossible to say what is the "right way" through this, but still, please stay the trail! If the trail is too wet or snow covered or just too difficult, it's better to turn back than to destroy the tundra.
16. Summit (4.50 mi)
The summit is wide and flat. There will likely be a few cars parked here that came up the southern approach. Keep an eye out for hikers and cyclists. Several trails lead off from the summit. 355.1C and 355A are short spurs that dead end. 258 is the Glacier Ridge 4WD trail that leads to SOB Hill (a.k.a. Number 10 Road). This also connects to the Colorado Trail not far from the summit. The south side of the pass follows CR 54, a wide and relatively smooth road.
17. Collapsed Cabin (5.10 mi)
On the right is a large, collapsed cabin. Behind it is a nice campsite.
18. Large Camping/Parking Area (8.20 mi)
There are a couple of very large, flat parking areas here, often populated with larger RVs, overlanders, and empty ATV/UTV trailers.
19. Michigan Creek Trailhead (9.70 mi)
The Michigan Creek 4WD trail begins here.
20. Michigan Creek Campground (10.40 mi)
To the right is the Michigan Creek Campground. Find more information on this facility in the Camping section below.
21. Southern Trailhead (11.00 mi)
FS 870, to the right, leads up to the Michigan Reservoirs. Continue downhill on CR 54. At a T-intersection, turn left onto CR 35 to get to US 285 at Jefferson. While your there grab a burger and shake at the Hungry Moose Caboose!

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 39.506440, -105.946500

Starting Point: Breckenridge/Jefferson.

On CO-9, between Frisco and Breckenridge, turn northeast at the traffic light onto Tiger Road/Shores Lane. Zero odometer here. Pavement ends after 3 miles. Continue on Tiger Road past dredge trailings and a wide parking area on the right at 4.8 miles. At 5.7 miles, the road forks. To the left, FS 354 is North Fork Swan. Take FS 6, Middle Fork Swan, to the right across a narrow bridge. Continue through private land until, at 6.2 miles, just after the snowmobile/dog sled tour company, take the well marked right turn onto FS 355, Georgia Pass. The southern trailhead can be reached from US 285. At the tiny town of Jefferson, CO, turn northwest onto CR 35, Michigan Creek Rd. Zero odometer here. After about 2.7 miles, bear right onto CR 54. At 5.1 miles, follow the sign to the left at a well marked fork. This is the southern trailhead. Here we describe the trail beginning at the northern trailhead.

Camping

Dispersed
No camping is allowed along the mile of private land between the northern trailhead and American Gulch. After that, dispersed camping is allowed and there are established campsites all along the trail on both the north and south sides. Near the south trailhead, pay camping is available at the Michigan Creek Campground. More information can be found on the US Forest Service website. There are also National Forest campgrounds at nearby Lake Dillon. More civilized lodging can be found in Breckenridge, Frisco, Dillon, and Silverthorne.
Camping: Georgia Pass

Trail Reviews (20)

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Pretty fun connector from Breck to Jefferson. Definitely not much harder than a We camped along the river near the bottom of the Breck side and drove the "camping road" all the way up to WP3, which was a bit more exciting than the regular route. Water crossings were decently low. I took a few more pictures of the rockiness of the trail for perspective. Check out some of the off-shoots from the top of the pass.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Ran it today from Breckenridge. No ice left, trail is clear.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Took a stock 2017 Jeep Renegade through this trail from the Breckenridge side. Right now the French Gulch shortcut is cut off and you cannot get to/from the trail through French Gulch. I had some slight trouble nearing the Georgia Pass summit due to a small amount of mud that caused some slipping, however, for the most past the trail was easily handled so long as we took it slow. Noticed no ice in the Sluice Box.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
We ran from Waypoint 1 to 14 (the Sluice Box)....it's "Open" to that point but the ice/snow forced us to turn around at a small campsite along the Sluice Box. I'm still too new at all this with a stock Rubicon to venture beyond that. That said, it was FUN. Turns are tight. Water crossings are neat, and can't wait to try it again in drier conditions up high!

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Ran from the Breckenridge side made it about 6 miles the ice in the sluice box was very thick like Trint ladd said, we kept breaking off large chunks with our 35's and lockers. We decided to turn around.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
The trail is very wet with late runoff. The ice in the Sluice Box (Waypoint 14) is very thick, but breaking off in large chunks. I didn't try it, but it is passable with enough skill or enough rig. PLEASE don't go off trail or make the trail wider as you navigate this obstacle!!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:
I talked to Dillon Ranger district today (7/9/2019). The gate to Georgia Pass is open. However, the trail is impassable with snow just below treeline.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Dillon ranger District said the pass is open all the way through. heading up there this week

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Traveled from south to north. It was snowing little bit and there was about a inch of snow in Georgia Pass area but it didn't affect my travel.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Traveled GA pass on Sunday afternoon starting on the North (Breck) side; trail was in good condition. It was dry and dusty, but we had a great view of South Park from the divide. Traveled as a party of two, did not encounter any other vehicles on the trail. Only 1 other group at the summit.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Ran the trail from the south side to north side. Nice little trail for easy day trip. The weather at the top was nice and cool. A couple of side by sides but not too crowded! Fairly easy trail. I didn't encounter the deep ruts in the trail as the video.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Georgia Pass is open clear through. All of White River National Forest is under a stage 1 fire ban. Gas stoves allowed. No open flames.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
As of Memorial Day 2018, the Northern gate is open. I drove as far as WP 6. There the hard-packed drifts were covering the road. Since I was rolling solo and had a lot more on my schedule, I turned back there. Note: The big water crossing (WP 4) has been filled in with gravel and the old house (WP 5) has been bull-dozed. The campsite at WP 5 is now blocked off. PLEASE stay off the grass and tilled soil there!! There are already tire tracks out on the grass. This is a perfect way to get a trail closed!! Don't be an idiot. Stay The Trail! Look for an updated write up in the next few weeks.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
The seasonal gate on the north side is locked. The south side has no gate and the road is easier. Snow wheeling is possible, but use caution and don't go alone.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Summit County has had a couple of snow storms now. Most trails that go above treeline are blocked with snow.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Drove the Jefferson side to the top and then went to SOB hill. Could have done 2WD all the way to the top, but dropped it in 4-low to save the torque converter.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Roads in Good Shape, No Snow.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Trail is open and passable from end to end. Did a work day in partnership with the Forest Service clearing the last remaining snow drifts, installing new signs, and closing off illegally created bypasses. Please stay on the main trail! At several sections of snow, bypasses into the trees had recently been created. Use the trails responsibly and if you cannot make it past an obstacle such as snow, please turn around and try another day.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Heavy snow from May is still hanging around even at lower altitudes. The Dillon Ranger District has opened the seasonal gate on Georgia Pass. However, the pass is not clear to the summit. In fact, the northern approach is well blocked with snow just beyond the second gate at WP 10 (pic 3). Between WP 7 and WP 10 there are several drifts of snow blocking the trail. These drifts are not terribly deep or long. Most of them are hard frozen and would better be described as ice. Heavy rigs may break through these and get badly stuck. Lighter rigs will be able to pass over them, but may find themselves sliding off the trail. (Pic 1 and 2) If you do decide to tackle the snow, PLEASE STAY THE TRAIL! There is already evidence that some folks are skirting off of the trail to get around drifts. When the ground is wet (as it is now), these excursions do a lot of damage. This is a sure fire way to get the Forest Service to limit access or even close a trail.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
This report is per a friend of mine: The Jefferson side of this trail does not have a gate nor a seasonal designation. Started on the Jefferson side off highway 285. At about 4 miles from the 870/54 intersection the trail was blocked by a large tree. That tree has been removed By the Sasquatch Jeepers from Mile-Hi Jeep Club. The road is open another half mile beyond that before it's completely snow-covered. It's about 1 foot deep and it's that loose granular sugar snow that gives you no traction. A group of well-equipped vehicles could make it a bit further.

Questions & Answers (3)

Q: Has anyone made it past the snow just below timberline in the past few days? I'm surprised to hear the gates are open but its still impassable as of 7.9.19
–Brock Ramsey (07/11/2019)
A: I have not heard about anyone summiting. It is normal for the USFS to open gates before a pass is passable. There are a lot of camp sites, foot trails, etc., that can be accessible with open gates even if the pass is not clear.
–Trint Ladd (07/11/2019)
Q: Is this trail too much for a Honda CRV - AWD?
–Marc (09/12/2018)
A: The south side, without question. The north side? Stock? Maybe. If you're very careful and selective about your lines. And don't mind a few scrapes on the undercarriage.
–Trint Ladd (09/12/2018)
Q: Is trail now free of snow?
–Colin (06/27/2018)
A: Yes. As my 6/23 review states, "open clear through."
–Trint Ladd (06/27/2018)

Writer Information

Trint Ladd

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Trint grew up riding dirt bikes in the creek beds of the Texas Panhandle. While attending college in Colorado in the late 1990's, he saw a magazine article about a Ford Explorer four-wheeling club. He never saw his Explorer as an adventure vehicle before, but quickly joined up and caught the bug. With his engineering background, Trint has always respected the factory design of a good truck (and recognized when manufacturers put cheap parts into something marketed for off road use). "A good driver, with a well built, stock truck can do trails that would break a $50k, built-up rig with an inexperienced driver." He put that 1st gen Explorer though hell and it always held up, earning great respect from the "big dawgs" in the club. (And earning the nickname, "The Idiot Stocker.") The truck was christened "BamBam" because of the frequent sounds ringing out from the factory skid plates. Now that Trint is "grown-up" (quotation marks intentional), he's a bit less inclined to dent up his pretty Toyota Tacoma, but still feels the same way about superior engineering. Trint's love for the mountains was ingrained at a very early age. 8mm film exists of 18-month-old Trint in a backpack on his dad's back while riding dirt bikes through the mountains of Red River, NM. Although Trint does enjoy a good, tough, technical rock trail, he can often be found on easier, winding, Alpine roads just taking the glory of God's country.
For individual use only, not to be shared.