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Red Mountain Pass

SUBMITTED BY:   San Juan Images (Barbara Lawson/Ray Turner)

GPS COORDINATES:   37.927N. 107.692W trail to old railroad bed,

                                        37.926N 107.683W general area of vistas to west

                                        37.960N 107.662W (Crystal Lake

ELEVATION:   9600’ to 10,400

DRIVING DIRECTIONS FROM DURANGO: Drive north on Hwy 550 for 62 miles to below the switchbacks on the north side of Red Mountain Pass and park at the cross country ski trail head.

Continue north another mile and a half to the north end of Ironton Park where Red Mountain Creek crosses the highway before you enter the Uncompaghre Gorge. Park at the dam for Crystal Lake.

The old ghost town of Ironton is between these two stops along County Road 20D and the old, stabilized buildings are all in the gorgeous aspen.

ROAD CONDITIONS: (mark yes if applies)

       PAVED:      Yes


       DIRT: CR 20D



ACCESSIBILITY: (Mark yes if applies)

       ANY VEHICLE:             Yes


       4x4 VEHICLE:


BEST TIME OF YEAR:     Summer or Fall

BEST TIME OF DAY:  Mid morning for hiking the railroad for views to the west. Mid to late afternoon at Crystal Lake but calm days are best for reflections of Red Mountain 1 and 2.

CAMERA EQUIPMENT / SETTINGS SUGGESTIONS:     Any camera will do but being able to control exposure and depth of field and adding a polarizing filter are highly desirable.

HIKING INFO:      For the views to the west from the railroad hike up the grade to the east until reaching the old abandoned railroad roadbed. Turn northeast to visit the ruins of the railway turntable then continue back to the southwest slowly climbing toward the pass. Many excellent views to the mountains are along this upper section of the railroad. Make your way back down the mountain to the trail head. About 2 miles round trip and 400' elevation gain.

At Crystal Lake cross the dam to find the best view to the south of the Red Mountains. About 200 yards of level walking.


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