Juniper Pass

39°40’19”N
105°33’53”W
11,020 FEET
(3,359 M)
ASPHALT
NEAR IDAHO SPRINGS
juniper

Juniper Pass is a high mountain pass on Colorado State Highway 103. It is paved and approximately 15 miles west of the town of Bergen Park above Evergreen. At the Mt. Evans turn off, there is a restaurant open from Memorial Day through Labor Day. (See Mt. Evans Bonus Ride).

Suggested Route (Paved) 31.5 miles

Begin at King Soopers in Bergen Park
Ride west on the Frontage Road of Evergreen Parkway (SH 74)--mile .5
Right onto Squaw Pass Road (SH 103) to Juniper Pass Summit--mile 16.2
Continue on Squaw Pass Road and finish in Idaho Springs--mile 31.5

THE CLIMB

As those who have ridden the Triple Bypass can attest, the descent from Juniper into Idaho Springs is one screamingly fast and fun ride. On the other hand, ascending it on the eastbound leg of the Double Triple is a slog. Hard and often windy in the afternoon, but the view eastward from the top is stunning! If you take a detour to Mt. Evans you can complete a Bonus Ride.

NEARBY TOWNS

Evergreen, 20.3 miles to the southeast
Idaho Springs, 15.9 miles to the northeast

FUN FACTS

Take a detour and view the “Castle in the Sky” ruins (see History below).

HISTORY

In 1919, Juniper Pass was crossed by the road from Squaw Pass, formerly Soda Pass, to Echo Lake. It took another two years to cross Juniper Pass from the west. The east road to the summit from Echo Lake was surveyed in 1923. It took another 7 years until the last switchback to the summit was completed.

 

If you head off the beaten track towards Mt. Evans, you will come across some ruins: Crest House. Constructed during 1940-41 through private initiative, a German immigrant, Justus Roehling, wanted to impress his future wife with a “castle in the sky”. Financial backing came from Thayer Tutt, the owner of the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, and a future mayor of Denver, Quigg Newton. Roehling, his wife and workers lived in tents on the summit during the construction. During the winter of 1940, still in the construction stage, much of the glass and woodwork was destroyed. In 1941, the repairs took place and the building opened as a restaurant with a gift shop, rest rooms, observation deck and emergency oxygen dispenser. The castle was partially destroyed by a fire in 1979, and subsequently closed. The original lease stated that the property would revert to the National Forest Service in 1969, and so it did. The rock foundation and walls remain as a windbreak for mountain travelers, and the viewing platform is one of Colorado’s premier scenic overlooks.