Guanella Pass

11,669 FEET
(3,557 M)

Guanella Pass is located west of Denver in the Front Range, traversing Arapaho and Pike National Forests on its way from I-70 to US 285.

Suggested Route (Paved) 35 miles

Begin in Georgetown and ride south on Guanella Pass Road, FR 118
Continue riding to Guanella Pass Summit--mile 10.7
Keep on riding south on CR 62 to Grant at US 285--mile 23.7
Finish riding southeast on US 285 to Bailey--mile 35.0


The road to the pass begins in Georgetown in the Arapaho National Forest and climbs to 11,669 feet in about 12 miles. Guanella Pass Hill Climb is a bicycle race from Georgetown to the top of Guanella Pass it happens every summer rain or shine. You will be amazed by the views of Mount Evans and Mount Bierstadt!


Georgetown, 10.8 miles to the north
Grant, 12.9 miles to the south
Bailey, 24.3 miles to the northwest


Lady Isabella L. Bird, an English adventurer, covered over 800 miles in the Rocky Mountains over 6 months in 1873. Letters she wrote, to her sister in England, describes Bird’s time in the Rockies with her guide and acquaintance Jim Nugent, “Rocky Mountain Jim”, a textbook outlaw with one eye. (Published in 1879 “A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains”)


The Guanella Pass Scenic and Historic Byway follows an old wagon route that linked the mining towns of Georgetown and Grant.


In 1955, the pass was named in honor of Byron Guanella, a county commissioner in Clear Creek County and road supervisor who spent many years on this 20-mile long project. His great-grandfather began ranching in the area in 1860.


The Geneva Basin Ski Area (1963-1984) stood just a few miles south of the pass. This area opened under the name Indianhead. by an English family from Illinois, who also developed the Indianhead Ski Area in Michigan.


The pass was designated a state scenic and historic byway in 1990, and a national scenic byway in 1991.