Pass Creek Pass is a useful route that allows one to save time traveling from one side of the Sangre De Cristo mountains to the other. Using this route saves about 30 minutes and around 32 miles from Hermit Pass to the Blanca Peak trailhead by not going through Walsenburg. Pass Creek Pass is as beautiful as it is useful. It is a great route for photography and scenic views of mountain ranges and rock formations. Make sure to pay attention to private property signs as they are on both sides of the road for almost the entire route; this does not hinder any of the scenic views. Some other sights include geology, old structures, and the town of Malachite that you pass through on the northern side.
From the north, near Westcliffe, take Highway 69 south until you reach Huerfano County Road 550. Take 550 to Huerfano County Road 570 through Malachite to Huerfano County Road 572. You will see signs for Pass Creek Road once you reach 572.
From the south, near Alamosa or Walsenburg, take US 160 and turn on Road 29. (Google maps may say straight at the fork but if you keep left and follow the developed road you will get on Pass Creek Road.)
Just a heads up: Huerfano County has again announced that Pass Creek is closed. This time they put up concrete barriers and the road will stay closed for the foreseeable future. The detour is 520, which is about 10 miles south on 69.
Ran south to north. Local traffic only sign at beginning of road although most of the traffic we saw was clearly not local. Heavy corrugations on the southern part of the road. Saw a road closed sign laying off the side of the road. Crossed two small gullies, one wet, one dry... nothing of consequence. A lot of flood debris along side the road but road itself was clear. There were signs of repair here and there. Road smoothes out as you climb away from creek. Road closed sign at other end as well but clearly it’s not.
The road is open to "local traffic" and there are "Road Closed" signs on both the south and north sides. The flood damage is widespread between Waypoints 3 and 4; this is the area where the road traverses the narrowest segment of the canyon. Evidently, the spring runoff/flood swelled in the narrow canyon and caused significant erosion. Attached images are from my drive (south to north). If you drive this road, take it slow and easy. Remember to stay on the road, as virtually all adjacent property is privately owned.
The Spring Creek Fire of 2018 has had a profound impact on this road (Huerfano County Rd 572). There are Road Closed signs at both ends of the route. We talked to a landowner that stopped to check on us as we were furiously scrolling Google for info. He drove us through (our route began on US160 on the south end) with his truck in lead. The road is no longer passable by sedan. Multiple flash floods due to soil erosion after the fire have washed large boulders onto the road. The county has done a remarkable job in keeping the road open for 4WD use. Driving this road is still a great drive; just pick your route through the rocks and take your time.
Tracy is an outdoor enthusiast originally from north Alabama. His family moved to central Utah when Tracy was a child, and subsequently to southern Utah, where he fell in love with the Rocky Mountains. His favorite activities are family trail rides and camping with small groups. He started many years ago in his dad's F-150 pickup truck, and subsequently his own 4x4 acquisition, a 1975 Ford Bronco (in 1991).