Hagerman Pass, Colorado: DON'T! - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-09-2016, 08:09 PM   #1
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Hagerman Pass, Colorado: DON'T!

So, we were recently in Colorado, camped near Buena Vista, and we took a day trip over Independence Pass, having lunch in Aspen. Lovely. (Also bought some great "Avalanche" brand cheeses and salami from a local shop.)

Afterward, we made the loop from Aspen to Leadville, via what was marked as a gravel road on a new Colorado state map. We had thought we might have dinner in L'ville.

BAD IDEA!

Found out after the fact (and during the event) that this road is suitable for high clearance vehicles ONLY. Things started out pretty well, as we took Frying Pan River Road, east out of Basalt, stopping along the river so our dogs could stretch their legs. A few miles past Ruedi Reservoir, however, the pavement ends, and the boulders begin...

I wish I'd taken a photo of the sign pointing to Leadville: hand-painted, it looked like something out of an old spaghetti-western. All it needed was a turkey vulture sitting on top of it.

Truth be told, we considered turning around at every point, except for two things: there was no place to do it, and we didn't think the road ahead could possibly be any worse than what we'd already crossed.

WRONG AGAIN.

The whole afternoon (it took about 3 hours to drive 20 miles) I kept thinking we were going to break down and have to spend the night in our pickup truck: 4 people and 2 dogs. We saw one other auto (not occupied), a guy on a motorcycle (who'd lost his phone and wondered if we had seen it), and a guy riding his bike up to Hagerman Pass. (He'd parked his car on the Leadville side of the pass.) How long would it take us to summon help, and what was it going to cost us to get a tow in that highway-department-forsaken place?

We did make it through, though. Our 2013 F-150 "egoboost" performed like a champ (with limited slip differential) and my husband (bless him) did some creative driving (only twice did he come close to plunging us over the edge).

By the way, the pics of the road don't do it justice: I was hanging on during the worst(s) of it, and taking pics wasn't on my mind!
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:11 PM   #2
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Here's one more pic, of the stop along the Frying Pan River, so the dogs could sniff the flowers. ha!
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:42 PM   #3
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Its not an adventure if you dont worry about making it through. You will have these memories for the rest of your life. Good job getting through especially with a larger trailer.
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Old 08-09-2016, 10:34 PM   #4
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Sounds like the pits. That view of the water and mts though looks spectacular.
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevebaz View Post
Its not an adventure if you dont worry about making it through. You will have these memories for the rest of your life. Good job getting through especially with a larger trailer.
We didn't have the trailer. This was just a daytime excursion, while the trailer was safely camped at Collegiate Peaks CG, outside of Buena Vista.

We'll never take the trailer over Independence Pass (unless the road is improved, which I doubt will ever happen); and we'll never take any vehicle over Hagerman.
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:20 AM   #6
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You can get to Ruedi Reservoir - notice its marina in the pic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cathi View Post
Sounds like the pits. That view of the water and mts though looks spectacular.
The road's pretty good as far as Ruedi Reservoir, and I do recommend Frying Pan River Road, east out of Basalt. (I think the road number is 82.) It's past Meredith where the pavement ends and the road become rocky and very rough.

We did ask a couple places (tourist info booth in Aspen, for one), and the route is listed in an old, back roads of Colorado book that I inherited from my parents... Even though the sign at the pass looks pretty good, and there are massive power lines that you know somebody has to maintain, the road through there looks like it hasn't been maintained at all since way before the old back roads book was published. (Early 1990's.)
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Old 08-10-2016, 08:26 AM   #7
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That is an interesting "road". In 1996 friends took us over Hagerman Pass as a shortcut between Leadville & a hike to Hanging Lake. This was in July - note the snow:

If you want a really exciting trip, go the other way out of Leadville on 7th street over Mosquito Pass. This is an old stagecoach road that runs between Alma & Leadville, CO. Dick had to take us on the road since AAA had routed us on it during a 1972 trip. We called & he suggested it wasn't a good idea, and on this trip showed us why. We didn't make it all the way to Alma...


More photos and some of the drive to Mosquito Pass on my journal for the trip.

Hagerman Pass
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Old 08-10-2016, 09:15 AM   #8
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Ohhh, that looks fun! Our FJ Cruiser with a lift kit should have no problems with that. Going to have to mention to hubby.
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Old 08-10-2016, 09:26 AM   #9
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Thanks, Jon! Appreciate your pics, and next time we're looking for a short cut, I think I'll consult your blog first!! (We never did make it to Leadville - maybe next time, bec we are definitely going back to Buena Vista - but I've no interest in seeing Mosquito Pass. 13,000+ ft. Wow!)

By the way, we did get our storage box vibration problem(s) corrected and so far, so good...
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Old 08-10-2016, 09:29 AM   #10
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BTW, twenty years after you were there, there was no sign of a place to eat in Meredith; but there is still a post office. One of our friends mailed a letter there (to her niece, Meredith).
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Old 08-10-2016, 01:38 PM   #11
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The upper part of the Meredith road is shown as one with the recommendation inquire locally for conditons, per Delorme Colorado Atlas that I am looking at right now. For me it is a sign that the wilderness is around the corner! That had to be "fun".
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Old 08-10-2016, 03:23 PM   #12
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Wonderful area. I just got back from Ruedi for a morning kayak. I have bicycled over Hagerman several times. I have skied over it a few time in each direction. I have been on the pass in white out conditions in early December. How bad could it be in a 2013 F-150? I was up there this spring in my Tacoma to where the snow was still blocking the way. Next time spend a night at Chapman campground. Just be happy the trailer was safely parked taking a day off. It is said that life begins when you exit your comfort zone.
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Old 08-10-2016, 03:31 PM   #13
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A short follow up: we do not care to do off-road, or any wild stuff, but one reason to get the 5th wheel Scamp was to be able to explore some of the interesting back roads with the truck (without the trailer most of the time). We might explore that pass after we move to CO. Those pictures are great!
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Old 08-10-2016, 03:54 PM   #14
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If you are still in the area consider heading west to Moab.
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