Scenic USA - Colorado

McClure Pass

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McClure Pass - Colorado

Photo by Roger Gillette

     McClure Pass, just south of Glenwood Springs, reaches nearly 8800 feet in elevation, a small fry in Rocky Mountain terms. Hats off to Colorado's DOT as it does an outstanding job engineering some of the most sophisticated highways in America. From each side of the Divide, the state's rugged terrain calls for roads to climb to extreme altitudes. In dealing with 39 mountain pass roads, grades vary from 3 to 9.4 percent. Although not a high mountain pass, McClure Pass is one of the steepest paved roads in the state, requiring drivers to climb an 8 percent grade.
     Here at McClure Pass, along Route 133, you'll find yourself traveling one of Colorado's 25 scenic and historic byways. In an area that features some of the state's most famous ski resorts, a 200 mile trip on the West Elk Loop passes through national forestlands, wilderness preserves, state and national parks, quaint small towns and some of Colorado's most majestic scenery. Quoted as the closest you can come to a wilderness experience in a passenger car.
     This autumn view shows off the rich colors of an aspen grove, marked with a splendid contrast of deep green pines on a background blue-grey granite peaks. Overhead, passing clouds create shadows that further increase contrasting shades among the mountain pass forest.

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