Buffalo Pass is the northernmost Continental Divide pass in Colorado. It is in the Park Range of the Rocky Mountains on Forest Service Road 60 between Steamboat Springs and Walden.
Begin at the intersection of SH 14 and CR 24 near Coalmont
Ride CR 24 (FR 60) to Buffalo Pass Summit--mile 20.5
Follow FR 60 to CR 36--mile 31.4
Left on CR 36
Finish in Steamboat Springs--mile 33.5
This pass goes through superb high mountain forest. Walden to Steamboat Springs is recommended. You will start out on pavement from Walden, then the road turns to dirt. From Walden heading west, the road is well-groomed going up the pass and a beast for the MTB descent.
Walden, 33.3 miles to the northeast
Steamboat Springs, 13 miles to the southwest
Buffalo Pass is a wilderness playground in Steamboat’s backyard. It is well-known as a mecca for backcountry powder cat skiing during the winter. The records show Buffalo Pass as having some of the deepest snow depths in Colorado. In May 2011, the pass broke the record for the deepest snowpack levels ever in Colorado’s history.
The pass is named for the herds of buffalo that migrated every year to the Yampa River Valley and North Park. The Ute Indians would hide in the wooded crossing and ambush the herds for their winter meat. The earliest recorded use of the pass by wagon was in the mid 1860s. The route became a stage coach and freight wagon road to haul grain and supplies to and from today’s towns of Steamboat Springs and Walden in North Park. Buffalo Pass was no longer used once Muddy and Rabbit Ears Passes were constructed for vehicle traffic.