Mosquito Pass

Leadville, Colorado (Lake County)

Last Updated: 08/09/2019
4.8 /5 ( 18 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: 07/01 - 12/01
Difficulty: 3-4
(MODERATE )
Length: 13.5 miles
Highest Elevation: 13185 feet
Duration: About 3 hours
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: West
Nearest Town: Leadville
Nearest Town w/ Services: Leadville
Official Road Name: Park County Road 12/Lake County Road 3
Management Agency: Pike and San Isabel National Forest
District: Leadville Ranger District
Distance:
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Mosquito Pass

Mosquito Pass (elevation 13,185'), between Alma and Leadville, Colorado, is among the highest Colorado passes accessible to 4WD vehicles. The views from here are spectacular, especially in early autumn when the valley’s foliage begins to change color. The vibrant gold, amber, and green colors provide a stark contrast to the drab brown stone and paled grasses covering the high treeless ridges. Earlier in the summer, the alpine grasses and wildflowers are spectacular. However, check with the Forest Service District Offices because Mosquito Pass opens late due to snow blocking the road. Pike National Forest/South Park Ranger District (719) 836-2031 San Isabel National Forest/Leadville Ranger District (719) 486-0749

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for Mosquito Pass

Route Information

Advanced Rating System (BETA)

Recommended Vehicle:
Stock SUV with High Clearance and 4 Low
Concerns:

Technical Rating: 3-4
(MODERATE )

Typically, more rock or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 18" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 18" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 36" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep and off-camber.

Read more about our rating system

Description

Mosquito Pass is a very rocky road. From east or west, the lower portions are mostly dirt and gravel. As you gain elevation, the rocks become larger (6" to 8" diameter). Several segments of the road are entirely covered in loose stones up to 10" diameter, giving the sensation of driving on bowling balls. At the highest elevations, there are numerous switchbacks, but all are sufficiently wide so as not to require three-point turns. At these locations, trail surface is exposed bedrock. Mosquito Pass also includes a few shelf road portions that preclude passing.

Waypoints

1. Trailhead (0.00 mi)

The trailhead is at the intersection of County Road 12 and County Road 10, on the east side of Park City.

2. Intersection FS Road 696 (2.30 mi)

Keep right (east) at the intersection where the brown Forest Service sign indicates Mosquito Pass to the right.

3. Scenic Pullout (3.50 mi)

Continue straight past the pullout. This area is wide enough for five or six vehicles to make a pit stop.

4. London Mill Marker (4.50 mi)

Continue straight past the historic marker. You will see the remains of the mill structure to the west well before approaching the marker.

5. Intersection Champagne Mine Trail (4.70 mi)

Turn left (west) to follow Mosquito Pass Road. Alternatively, you can proceed straight (north) on the narrow trail which continues for approximately two miles. It is a rocky and winding diversion trail that terminates at the near-vertical base of a ridge between Mt. Tweto and Mt. Buckskin. There is an abandoned mine and a small collapsed structure here.

6. Coomey Lake Spur (5.80 mi)

Follow the broad Mosquito Pass Road. The spur heads north one-half mile and arrives at Coomey Lake. The turn and exposed bedrock makes this one of the more difficult points on the Mosquito Pass Road.

7. North London Mine (5.90 mi)

Continue straight at the North London Mine. There is adequate space here for a dozen vehicles to park, if desired, to view the remaining structure (Do Not enter or climb on the structure).

8. False Top (6.50 mi)

Proceed straight on the shelf road past the false summit.

9. Mosquito Pass (7.50 mi)

Arrive at Mosquito Pass. There is a historical marker with details about the site. The pass is broad enough for eight to ten vehicles to park temporarily.

10. Switchback (8.40 mi)

Proceed through the switchback. This point is one of the more significant obstacles on the road. It is a tight turn but wide enough that it doesn’t require backing. Before arriving at Waypoint 11 (Lakes), the road to the north is Birdseye Gulch

11. Lakes (9.60 mi)

Continue past this wide spot in the road, where the lakes are to your south.

12. End at Diamond Mine (10.70 mi)

The Diamond Mine is an active/operating mine. The road here is wide and there is a pullout with space for 10-12 vehicles.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 39.278500, -106.086479

Starting Point: Leadville

Mosquito Pass is a straight-through trail with start/end points in Leadville and Alma, Colorado. From Leadville, travel east on 7th Avenue which becomes Lake County Road (CR) 3 for approximately four miles to the base of Diamond Mine and a wide pullout. This is the western trailhead. From Alma, turn west off Colorado Highway 9 onto either Park County Road 10 or Park County Road 12.. These County Roads converge a few miles west of Highway 9 at the town of Park City. The point of intersection is the eastern trailhead.

Camping

Dispersed

Dispersed camping is allowed however many segments of Mosquito Pass are not suitable for camping due to grades/inclines. Suggested places to camp include Waypoint 6 and the broad gulch south of the False Top (Waypoint 8). One connecting road, Birdseye Gulch (between Waypoints 10 and 11), also permits dispersed camping. The US Forest Service maintains Kite Lake Campground about five miles north of Alma. There are additional US Forest Service facilities on the Leadville (west) side.

Camping: Mosquito Pass

Trail Reviews (28)

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Fun trip, but a little crowded with other vehicles. Shoulda gone on a weekday...

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Awesome trail. so much more to explore in this area as well.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Mosquito Pass is now open and passable all the way through. A crew shoveled it open through the last drift.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Always a favorite of mine because of the scenery and elevation. Very rocky, and would be a challenge for some stock vehicles. 2000 Frontier (3" lift) and 2001 4Runner (3" lift) on 32s din't have any problems with clearance or articulation, for reference. As mentioned, what little snow is left was easily passable. The switchback at WP10 seems to be getting a bit more tippy on some lines in the last couple years. Pick your line carefully. Lots of wildlife, so keep your eyes open. We saw lots of marmots, pikas, ptarmigans, and even a yellow fox.

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Mosquito Pass, we started from Birdseye Gulch and went East to the top at 13,185 feet The east side down to alma from waypoint 9 looked like it still had snow drifts, didn't attempt to go down turned around and headed back to leadville

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Ditto on impassable at North London Mine because of snow. Trail further past looks questionable also.

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Open up to the North London Mine. Still too much snow to get pass that point.

Author:
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Rating:
About 6 to 8 feet of snow at North London Mine (Waypoint 7). Hopefully not too much longer!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
"Mosquito Pass/Lake County Road 3 is open for 1 mile past the Diamond Mine. Snow drifting on the shelf parts of this road."

Author: Official Crew
Status: Temporary Closure
Offroaded on:
Officials announced today that the pass is closed until further notice on account of avalanche debris. Check back here for updates. "Park County Road 12 (Mosquito Pass) is closed due to avalanche debris along with snow still at the higher elevations. This is a very popular 4-wheel drive road from Fairplay to Leadville. The public is asked to seek an alternate route."

Author: Official Crew
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Stopped in Leadville on November 9th when returning from Moab; there was 8" of snow around town and more at elevation. I drove to the east side of town (just beyond the houses) and snapped this picture.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
We ran this trail in a 2000 Frontier (3" lift) and 2006 4Runner (2" lift), both with 32" tires. We had a pretty easy time making it all the way through. The trail is rough but not challenging and there is a lot of room for passing vehicles for most of the trail. There is only 1 switchback corner on the west side of the pass that could get a bit tippy if you take it wrong. Overall very enjoyable. Good scenery. We did the whole pass in about and hour and a half.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Highly recommend this trail during the fall. We didn't air down until after first ascent, but we did air down after the first ascent making the rest of the drive more enjoyable. Fun drive and lunch in Leadville made for a great day on the trail. We drove our Willy's with a 3 inch lift on 34 in. Nitto Ridge Grapplers. Ben & Lindsey

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Amazing Trail with Amazing views. Difficulty level is not easy enough to bore you or difficult enough to discourage new off roaders like myself. Follow my adventure on instagram its_b_ram

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
September 1, 2018: Pass still open. Fun trail. Definitely doable with a stock Jeep JKU. Challenging in some places. Despite some initial concerns there are plenty of places to pull off when encountering vehicles coming the other way.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Breathtaking. the single word my wife used to describe this route. we made this trip using our 1999 stock wrangler TJ sport. We traveled from Fairplay, over Mosquito Pass, and down into Leadville, This was an incredible route. Road was chunky and bumpy but not un-doable or too hard by any means. Generously wide road with plenty of passing areas throughout. Mining buildings and other implements are littered throughout the landscape. The view at the top of Mosquito Pass is just beyond words. Breathtaking, as my wife declared. This route is one of America's National Scenic By-ways. It is worth it, if you have a solid and sturdy rig, to make this trip. As it was suggested to us, at the top of Mosquito Pass, by a Leadville local, we suggest the Leadville Grille at the end of your journey for a well earned drink and hearty Colo-Mex meal. Keep your rubber to the road & stay safe

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:

Calvary 4-Wheelers gathered for our Back-to-School Special run on Saturday, August 18, 2018. Along for the trip were me in my lifted XJ; my wife, Missy, in her stock TJ; my daughter, Leona, in her newly-lifted late ‘70s Plymouth Trailduster; Jon and his friend David in Jon’s red, lifted Cherokee; and John and his two boys in their blue JKU Rubicon. We had originally planned on going up to Wheeler Lake but found out there was going to be a major trail maintenance project going on there so we switched to Mosquito Pass.

We met in Jefferson on the west/south side of Kenosha Pass. It was cold, overcast and windy feeling more like late September than mid August. We drove into rain on the way to Fairplay which got steadily heavier until it was raining pretty hard. I was beginning to wonder if we might find snow at 13,000 feet on the top of the pass.

We took a back way in from Alma, heading up CR 10 (Park Hill Road) and then across FSR 449 (Narrow Gauge) along the old railroad bed. Along the way we saw a large bull moose and a pretty good-sized muley buck. We took a wrong turn at an unexpected fork and ended up coming down Orphan Boy Mine Road to CR 12 before the end of 449.

By this time the rain had started to let up and was down to off and on sprinkles. We made a brief stop at the information Kiosk for the North London Mill to take some pictures and, for those that wanted to, to air down. When we reached the left hand turn that starts the pass in earnest, we shifted into 4wd and began the climb.

After bouncing our way up the rocky road, pausing occasionally to admire the view and take a picture or two, we stopped for lunch at the North London Mine. The rain had completely stopped by now and the sun was intermittently peeking through the clouds. When the sun was out, it was quite pleasant. When it went behind a cloud it was still a little cool. We ate our lunch at a leisurely pace, enjoying the day and each other’s company.

After lunch and a little time to explore the mine ruins, we headed on up the pass. We only stopped at the top long enough to take a quick picture of the sign and then headed down the other side. The weather continued to improve and, by the time we got to Leadville, we were able to shed our jackets. We stopped at a gas station for a bathroom and some snacks before hitting the highway and heading home.

The trail was clear and passable the entire way. The views were as impressive as ever. This classic trail is definitely worth it.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Awesome trail with amazing views! It is very bumpy because of rocks but a relatively easy trail!

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
From Leadville, the road/trail to the summit is open but a bit challenging on the switchbacks due to large rocks protruding in the trail. A good line will keep you moving, otherwise one could reasonably expect undercarriage damage on a stock, unlifted vehicle. Low range gears, soft tires, and high clearance will be helpful. Approximately 1/2 mile from the summit towards Alma, the trail in impassable due to six foot snow drifts covering the road. This is a shelf road and any attempt to traverse the snow could result in a catastrophic event. Don't go alone!

Author:
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Rating:
The trail is still closed due to a few snow drifts across the trail. Between waypoints 8 and 9 are where the drifts are. They are passable with a motorcycle if you dont mind hiking a bike through at least two of the drifts. It will likely be another two weeks before they are open unless it heats up soon. Still a great trail to explore from either side. It is completely clear on both sides other than those drifts.

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Snow drifts at just under timberline were passable. By the time we got to one we couldn't pass, we could see London Mill, probably only 1/4 mile away. This was about halfway between waypoints 3 and 4. So we camped in the sites near the intersection with 696. Big note here, I guess Mine Water bought up most of Mosquito Pass and the are to fix it up. You can search and find articles about it if you search 'London Mine' on google. I had permission to camp and explore up 696 from the guy running security here. Be advised that the current MVUM maps aren't be updated for the change in ownership. There are sheets stapled to trees about the mine claims that were bought.

Author:
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Attempted to drive up to the London Mine site but the trail has snow drifts a few hundred feet after waypoint 2. Could be passable with more than one rig or a great starting point for a hike up to the mine. There are areas for parking at waypoint 2 as well as where the snow drift is.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Classic Colorado right here on this trail!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Recent storms have delivered early snow to the high country, particularly routes above 12,000ft elevation. While Mosquito Pass technically remains "open", there is approximately 4" of snow accumulation towards the summit. Use caution during this transition of seasons--don't travel alone (single vehicle).

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
I ran Mosquito Pass from west to east (Leadville to Alma) with friends visiting from Virginia, on Monday, September 11, 2017. Weather was stormy but we made it to the summit before rain began to fall. By the time we reached North London Mine, the rain had stopped but the ground was wet. There are two spots where the road is deeply rutted, one above and one below North London Mine. Careful line selection made it a non-issue, even in a stock '88 Trooper on 29" All-Terrains.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Despite a sign on the Alma side indicating that the pass was closed due to snow, it was wide open. There were a few gnarly sections that required careful wheel placement for my stock LX470, but otherwise it was a nice, bumpy trip. Beautiful views the whole way. Chilly up top.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Road was clear (no snow). Wet in only a few places. Beautiful day. We started off from Alma. The posted sign noted the pass was closed. However, a member in the group had checked the website the night before and it noted the pass was open. We had one flat just up the first climb before North London Mine on the trip but he gave it a shot using 2wd most of the way. 4-low was only necessary in a couple of spots. The first just as you start the climb up from North London Mine. It was chilly at the top so make sure you bring a jacket. Last note. if you are into Geocaching, there is a location at the top of Mosquito pass. 😉

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Went over starting from the Alma side. There is still a roughly 60' long snow bank across the road just past the saddle that is above the North London mine. It is rutted and all three vehicles went up unassisted. The smallest with 32" tires.

Questions & Answers (8)

Q: How's Mosquito looking from the Alma side? We'll be in the area next week. Thank you in advance! :)
–Shawna (07/06/2019)
A: Snow is still blocking the trail short of the North London Mine. The full pass won't melt out until August.
–Ryan Boudreau (07/08/2019)
Q: Anyone know if the recent snows have closed the pass yet? Looking to do a run next weekend.
–stuart (10/22/2018)
A: Damn. That kinda kills my plan then. Thanks for the advise.
–stuart (10/23/2018)
A: I did Weston Pass (elevation 11,921ft) on Saturday, October 20th. There was snow above 9k feet, and it was packed and icy over the summit. We saw two vehicles (not part of our group) get stuck in the culvert to the side of the road (one slid off, the other intentionally tried to bypass). We thought about doing Mosquito Pass, but it was late afternoon (less than 3 hrs of daylight remaining) so we decided not to. I called the Leadville Ranger District this morning, and they said snow is forecasted today and tomorrow. Given that Mosquito is 2k feet higher than Weston, I recommend not attempting Mosquito Pass. You may try calling the South Park Ranger District to get more information about snow depth, forecast, etc.
–Tracy Barker (10/23/2018)
Q: Does anybody know current conditions for Mosquito Pass?
–Denise Diel Reynolds (06/20/2018)
A: September 15 2018: Open All the way through.
–Brian Ramirez (09/16/2018)
A: JULY 8 2018: communicated with Brandon Marlow who ran Mosquito Pass today; he reports the snow drift has melted and the road is OPEN.
–Tracy Barker (07/09/2018)
A: From Leadville to summit is open but very rocky. East side to Alma is blocked by snow from 1/2 mile passed summit.
–Donald Phelps (06/29/2018)
A: And by 7/24 I meant 6/24
–Brian (06/27/2018)
A: Was just up there 7/24/18. It is close but you still can't get up to the top of the pass from the east.
–Brian (06/27/2018)
A: I just posted a review below but the trail is impassable between waypoints 8 and 9 due to multiple snow drifts. Motorcycles can make it if you dont mind hiking your bike through the patted down path through the two easternmost drifts.
–Brandon Marlow (06/24/2018)
A: According to bushducks... 6/4/18 - Open and clear the whole way. No snow.
–John (06/20/2018)
Q: Is this trail still blocked by snow or is it finally passable?
–dwight (08/04/2017)
A: Dwight, according to Frank Whiston's trip report (see below near bottom of page, dated July 26, 2017), the road is passable.
–Tracy Barker (08/04/2017)
Q: I've got a 16" Tacoma Off Road with Cooper At3's. The truck is in stock form. Will this truck have enough clearance to make the treck up Mosquito mid-Sept?
–Andy (08/02/2017)
A: Thanks, great news. This will be my first real trail since getting into wheeling, It wont be the last and I'm sure my pocket book will be a lot lighter!
–Andy (08/03/2017)
A: Yes, your Tacoma will have adequate clearance for Mosquito Pass. There are only a few instances where there is potential for scraping/dragging, these are illustrated in the photos within the guide. Make good "line" selections to avoid centering over the largest rocks, and you'll breeze through it. Write a trip report afterwards!
–Tracy Barker (08/02/2017)
Q: We're finally here in Breck! How is Mosquito looking as of today? Hoping to go tomorrow :D
–Shawna (07/17/2017)
A: Snow Blocked at about false top on the east side. If you want to reach the top, start in Leadville.
–EVLXX (07/18/2017)
Q: Are ATV's allowed on Mosquito Pass?
–Sandy Rothe (07/04/2017)
A: Short Answer: Yes, but Park County restricts ATV use on County Road 12 east of South Mosquito Creek (map link below). Long Answer: The answer is complicated by the fact that Mosquito Pass Road is a County Road, and is bisected in vicinity of the "summit" between Lake County to the west, and Park County to the east. The US Forest Service also sets its Ranger District boundaries along a similar line, with Leadville Ranger District to the west, and South Park Ranger District to the east. Motorized Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM) produced for each Ranger District show the County Roads "for information and navigation purposes only and are not subject to designation under the Forest Service travel management regulation." Therefore, it is the counties which establish ATV use restrictions on the County Roads. On the east side, Park County permits ATV operation on County Road 12 west of South Mosquito Creek. (see map at http://www.parkco.us/DocumentCenter/View/3271). On the west side, Lake County permits ATV operation on "all county roads that are not part of the state highway system", according to County Commissioner's Resolution 10-13, dated May 2010. (see Resolution at http://www.lakecountyco.com/roadandbridge/sites/lakecountyco.com.roadandbridge/files/20120119101725974.pdf).
–Tracy Barker (07/05/2017)
Q: We're heading to Breck in about two weeks...has anyone been up to Mosquito yet? Last June we couldn't get past the London Mine on the Alma side, so we're hoping going in July will be better :)
–Shawna (07/03/2017)
A: A friend reported last Saturday (June 30) that Mosquito Pass is open on the west side (Leadville) to the top, but the east side remains blocked due to snow above the London Mine. EDIT: note that the Lake County (Leadville) website still shows Mosquito Pass as "Closed" http://www.lakecountyco.com/roadandbridge/ Last year, Mosquito Pass was reportedly open on July 25 (a Monday), after some "volunteer" shoveling effort. Coincidentally, myself and another trailsoffroad contributor were there the prior Saturday (July 23) but went elsewhere when we saw the FS signs indicating the pass was still closed.
–Tracy Barker (07/05/2017)

Writer Information

Tracy Barker

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Tracy is an outdoor enthusiast originally from north Alabama. Tracy's family moved to central Utah when he was a child, and subsequently to southern Utah. These family moves established a precedent, of sorts, as Tracy has lived in numerous states over the past three decades. Tracy is now settling down in Colorado Springs. His favorite activities are family trail rides and camping with small groups. This, too, is a precedent started many years ago in dad's pickup truck, followed by Tracy's first 4x4 acquisition, a 1975 Ford Bronco (in 1991). Tracy aspires to climb some of Colorado's venerable 14'ers while traveling some of the notable and not-so-well-known 4x4 trails in the Centennial State. He's excited about contributing to Trails Offroad because the site is committed to meet a critical 4-wheel drive enthusiast requirement--current and accurate trail data.
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