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Webster Pass
Park County, Colorado
Pike National Forest, White River National Forest
Dillon Ranger District, South Platte Ranger District
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map

Forest Service Roads: 121, 285
Trail Type: Straight Through
Nearby Towns: Montezuma, Grant
Nearby Trails: Red Cone, Radical Hill, Hall Valley, Beaver Creek Road, Hunkidori Mine, Saints John, Deer Creek
Trail Length: 8.91 miles
Elevation: 9,902 to 12,140 feet

Webster Pass runs approximately parallel to Red Cone at the south end, at the base of the mountain instead of over the top of it. Red Cone begins and ends on a part of Webster Pass. Radical Hill also starts at Webster Pass. The start of Webster Pass is also known as Handcart Gulch.

The trailhead is at a large parking area. The beginning of the trail is probably the roughest, with some of the biggest rocks. If you are headed for Red Cone, watch for the first right turn soon after you start Webster Pass. Sometimes there is a sign marking the way, sometimes there is not. In the first half of the trail, Webster Pass will head in a fairly straight northwest direction all the way to the switchbacks that climb up to the pass. If you are not headed in this direction, you probably took Red Cone by mistake.

Handcart Gulch is made by the ridges formed by Red Cone on the right and Handcart Peak on the left of the trail. It passes through sections of trees and open areas, with many different colors in the rocks and dirt. There are a few places where the creek comes very close to or over the trail, so it may be wet in sections. You will also pass through a muddy area. This used to be a bridge of logs to help carry you over the mud instead of through it, but now it is just a muddy area with logs in it. This section may challenge a vehicle with smaller tires, as the logs can be slippery. Past this area is a creek crossing that is usually fairly shallow.

You will be able to see the switchbacks in front of you, and Red Cone to the right of the trail. Be sure to look up as far as you can, to see if there are any other vehicles on their way down. Technically, you have the right of way if you are going uphill, but not everyone knows this and it is not a hard-and-fast rule. Except for at the switchback corners, there is very rarely any place to pass a vehicle on the way up.

Not only is the trail often very narrow, but it can also be slightly washed out on the edges. This may mean that you will need to drive slightly up on the mountain side of the trail to get around it, making your vehicle tip a bit. These areas may pose problems for vehicles with especially long wheelbases.

The view at the pass is spectacular, and there is a lot of parking. Though the views are nice, it is almost always very windy, making it a poor lunch spot most of the time. However, it is a great place to watch people come down Red Cone, which reconnects here at the pass. Note that Red Cone is one way at this point, and you should not drive up the steep hill.

The switchbacks on the north side are much wider and much easier. You can almost always pass another vehicle on the way down. Note that you can see Radical Hill from here, the tight switchbacks just across the basin up to Teller Mountain on the left. Geneva Peak and Landslide Peak are to the right of the trail (Geneva Peak is just left of Landslide Peak). The basin at the bottom of the switchbacks is a very scenic place for lunch, accomodating many people. Follow signs to the trail on the left if you are running Radical Hill.

The Webster Pass trail follows the Snake River on the way out, and the point where the trail crosses it is always fun. It can be deep, and it's always fairly wide. Just on the other side of the river crossing is a small campsite that is good for airing up, or airing down if you are doing the trail in the opposite direction.

You will pass through a gate on the way out, and then you are going through a residential area. When you get to the main road, turn right to head through Montezuma and out to I-70 at Keystone.

Information last updated on September 14th, 2008.

Member Reports

Driving Directions

From Denver, take Highway 285 just past Grant to Webster. On your right you will see a sign for County Road 60. Follow this road and watch for signs to both Webster Pass and Red Cone. Follow the Webster Pass sign (the trail to the left) when the trails split.

Meeting Places

Meet at the Loaf N' Jug in Conifer.

Low-End Rating: 3
High-End Rating: 4
Rock Crawling:
Dirt & Mud:
Water Crossings:
Playgrounds:
Cliffs & Ledges:
Climbs & Descents:
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Trail Photographs

Coming Down the Pass First sight of Red Cone from the trail Trail Near the River Crossing

Trail Movies
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Maps and Coordinates
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Trail in Red
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Webster Pass (GPS Exchange File)
Water Crossing (Google Earth Placemark)
River Crossing (Google Earth Placemark)
Campsite (Google Earth Placemark)
Gate (Google Earth Placemark)
Webster Pass Trailhead (Google Earth Placemark)
Webster Pass Track (Google Earth Track)
Mud (Google Earth Placemark)

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Trail information is only accurate on the date posted. Trails may have changed or closed since that date. Use this information for historical purposes only. Contact the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management for up-to-date trail information.

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