Webster Pass

Montezuma, Colorado (Summit County)

Last Updated: 10/26/2021
4.7 / 5 ( 35 reviews )
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Information
Nearby Trails
Status:
Seasonal Closure
Typically Open: 07/01 - 10/31
Difficulty: 4-4
( MODERATE )
Length: 9.14 miles
Highest Elevation: 12103 feet
Duration: About 2 hours
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: South
Nearest Town: Montezuma
Nearest Town w/ Services: Keystone
Official Road Name: 285, 121
Management Agency: White River National Forest/Pike and San Isabel National Forests
District: Dillon Ranger District/South Platte Ranger District

Highlights

Highlight: Webster Pass
Webster Pass is perhaps the best known and certainly most traveled of the three main passes between Summit County and Park County. It connects to two very popular, very challenging 4WD trails, Red Cone and Radical Hill. The summit, above 12,000 feet, offers spectacular views of both counties and a great vantage point to watch rigs descending the white-knuckle ride down from Red Cone.

Video

Route Information

Advanced Rating System

Recommended Vehicle:
Stock SUV with High Clearance and 4 Low
Concerns:
Summary:
The difficulty rating of 4 (Moderate) is based on the deep water crossing (waypoint 6) and the narrows (waypoint 10), neither of which have a bypass. The rest of the trail is easy.

Technical Rating

MANDATORY
4
MODERATE
OPTIONAL
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.
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Community Consensus

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Description

Webster Pass is a relatively easy 4WD road. From the north, there are not any serious obstacles other than one stream crossing that, during Spring runoff, will test the door seals of stock trucks. Just south of the summit, there is an extremely narrow section with a startling 300 foot drop off. The Forest Service recommends that this section not be attempted by "full-size vehicles." The driver of any sized vehicle had better be on point. It would be a good idea to send a spotter ahead on foot to check for fresh rock fall or washouts and to stop any oncoming traffic. You do not want to have to reverse through the narrows. Beyond the narrows, the south side is quite tame. The difficulty rating of 4 (Moderate) is based on the deep water crossing (waypoint 6) and the narrows (waypoint 10), neither of which have a bypass. The rest of the trail is easy. 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.

Waypoints

1. Northern Trailhead (0 mi)
At a well marked intersection, Webster Pass, FS 285, meets Montezuma Road, FS 5.
2. Private Drive (0.5 mi)
A private drive forks to the left. Stay right on FS 285.
3. Seasonal Gate (0.6 mi)
This Forest Service Gate is closed from November through May, however snow may linger on lower, treed portions of the trail as late as early July and the summit may be impassible with snow through late July.
4. Muddy Crossing (1.1 mi)
Natural spring water pools in the trail at this point. The crossing is not deep and doesn't not have any rocks or deep holes. Please stay the trail and do not bypass this crossing!
5. Fork (1.3 mi)
A fork to the left leads to a large campsite. The same site is accessible by continuing straight.
6. Water Crossing (1.4 mi)
This is the deepest water crossing of the trail. Normally it is less than 12" deep, however during Spring runoff, it can be deeper than the floorboards on most stock trucks. The stream bed is rocky, so proceed slowly, but do not stop. FS 327 departs here and dead ends at the ruins of the Climax mine.
7. Radical Hill (2.6 mi)
This is a triangle intersection with Radical Hill, FS 286. If traveling from north to south, turn right here for Radical, or stay to the left to continue on FS 285.
8. Radical Hill (2.6 mi)
This is a triangle intersection with Radical Hill, FS 286. If traveling from south to north, turn left here for Radical, or stay to the right to continue on FS 285.
9. Summit (4.1 mi)
The summit of Webster Pass is also the end of Red Cone. This combined with the great views makes this a popular spot. During peak season, especially on weekends, the summit can get very crowded. If you decide to stop for a photo op or to watch the trucks descending Red Cone, please be considerate. Do not block the trail. Do not park in front of any signs that someone may want a picture of. And do not park on the delicate tundra. Remember that Red Cone is one way only! Never attempt to drive up Red Cone from this point.
10. Very Narrow (5.1 mi)
This marks the northern end the infamous narrows. Full size trucks are not recommended. It's a good idea to send a spotter ahead on foot to check for fresh rock fall or washouts and to stop any oncoming traffic. You do not want to be forced to reverse through his section! Enjoy the thrill, but do not take this lightly! Pay close attention to the ledge and to the rock outcrop. Putting a wheel on either could be disastrous.
11. Very Narrow (5.2 mi)
This marks the southern extent of the infamous narrows. For traffic traveling south to north, there is a sign recommending against attempting the narrows in a full-size truck. See the warnings and suggestions above.
12. Bypass (5.6 mi)
Here, the trail splits into to two identical tracks. Either is acceptable. If traveling from south to north, this is a good spot to shuffle your group before the narrows.
13. Small Water Crossing (5.7 mi)
This crossing is never very deep. But you should keep an eye on your dogs. They shouldn't drink this tainted mine run off.
14. Mine Outflow (6.8 mi)
This tunnel drains water from the Handcart Gulch iron mine. The water is likely tainted with heavy metals. Mind your pets and don't let them drink this water.
15. Red Cone (8.8 mi)
This is the trailhead for Red Cone. This area can get crowded during peak season.
16. Southern Trailhead (9.1 mi)
The southern trailhead is at a well marked fork. 120C heads up Hall Valley to the west. Follow Hall Valley Road south for about 4.8 miles to US 285. Grant is to the left (north) and Jefferson is to the right (south).

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Keystone, CO/Grant, CO

The following describes Webster Pass 4WD trail from north to south. From US 6 at Keystone, take CR 5, Montezuma Road, east for 4.9 miles to the tiny village of Montezuma. Continue straight through town and a further 1.2 miles. At a well marked intersection, turn left onto Webster Pass/Bullion Mine Road. To run this trail from south to north, about 3 miles south of Grant turn northeast off of US 285 onto Hall Valley Road, CR 60. After about 4.3 miles, there is a well marked parking area on the left. About 0.5 miles later, CR 60 forks into Hall Valley Road, FS 120C, to the left and Webster Pass, FS 121, to the right.

Camping

Dispersed
The north end of Webster Pass passes through some private property before the seasonal gate. After the gate, there is ample dispersed camping with some large sites suitable for multiple trucks or small trailers. South of the summit, there is dispersed camping all the way to the southern trailhead.
Camping: Webster Pass

Trail Reviews (66)

Questions & Answers (6)

Q: Regarding the run on 6/27, is the water crossing you referred to Waypoint 6? So did you start on 285 side and go to Zuma, or did you start/end at 285? I was a little confused cuz it said Red Cone, can't cross the pass, but the water crossing is on the N side. I was planning on heading out here on 7/4, but may change plans if I can't do Red Cone/Webster/DC/Sts John. Sounds like it may not be an option yet.
–Stephen Bartels (06/29/2020)
A: Thanks for the help Trint! Stephen, hopefully Trint cleared it up a bit. Sorry if my report was confusing. Our group came over Red Cone opening it for the season from the start, all the way to the Webster Pass Summit/saddle. From there, we continued down the North side of Webster, past the turn for Radical Hill, ran into the avalanche field just before the creek crossing at waypoint 6, and then out the trail via Montezuma leaving the North (summit county) gate open for the season. If you call the Dillon Ranger district, I'm sure they can give you the latest info on Deer Creek and St Johns. The ranger helped us on Saturday and I know they cruised around more of the trails after hanging with us for a bit. Hope that helps.
–Ryan Boudreau (06/30/2020)
A: That's correct. The Jeep club works closely with the Forest Service. They unlocked the gate on their way out. The gate is open now.
–Trint Ladd (06/30/2020)
A: So how did you exit if the seasonal gate is still closed? I assume that means that the jeep club approached the gate from the back side of it...
–Stephen Bartels (06/29/2020)
A: I'll answer for Ryan. The Jeep club ran Red Cone from Park County and came down the Summit County side of Webster. The summit of Webster going down into Park County is usually blocked with a big snow cornice for a few weeks after the rest of the trail is clear. I ran Deer Creek on 6/19 and it was blocked at the high switchbacks. The same day, I tried to run Sts John, but was turned back by a hail/snow storm, so I don't know where the snow line was there. The forecast is really warm, so you might have better luck by this weekend.
–Trint Ladd (06/29/2020)
Q: Would this be a good trail for fall aspen colors?
–Brian (09/15/2018)
A: Thanks Trint. Appreciate the answer. We decided with your info to do Twin Cone and it was absolutely spectacular.
–Brian (09/17/2018)
A: Other than the very bottom of the south side, it's all pine forest. There are better color runs nearby. Try Boreas for a leisure cruise or Argentine Pass for something more challenging.
–Trint Ladd (09/16/2018)
Q: Anyone been up to Webster pass to see if it is open?
–Dan Bender (08/01/2017)
A: Yeah I saw that right after I posted this question. Didn't scroll down far enough! We will be out there next week!
–Dan Bender (08/02/2017)
A: According to the 7-30 trip report below, yes. The cornice has melted enough for trucks to get by it.
–Trint Ladd (08/01/2017)
Q: So how is Webster doing? Is it open going down into Handcart Gulch yet?
–Shawna (07/19/2017)
A: The word is that the cornice is still blocking the trail south of the summit, but I don't have first hand knowledge. I plan to check on the trail again this weekend.
–Trint Ladd (07/20/2017)
Q: Any update of the trail being fully opened??
–Michael (05/21/2017)
A: I just posted a trip report from yesterday concerning the northern (Montezuma) trailhead. I haven't visited the southern side yet. If by "fully opened" you mean clear trail from Montezuma to Hall Valley, we've still got several weeks of melting yet. If you mean to do some heavy snow wheeling, maybe another week or two.
–Trint Ladd (05/22/2017)
Q: Does anyone have a current update on the snow pack leading up to Webster and Redcone passes as of 5/9/2017?
–brandon (05/09/2017)
A: The south side of Webster is clear well beyond the Red Cone trail head, but not to the summit. The north side is gated until at least 5/20. I don't know the status of Red Cone. Ryan Boudreau might. You can ask him on the Red Cone page: https://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/432-red-cone
–Trint Ladd (05/09/2017)

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.