Molas Pass

37°44’16”N
107°41’53”W
10,910 FEET
(3,325 M)
7.0% ASPHALT
NEAR SILVERTON
Molas Pass

Molas Pass is traversed by U.S. Highway 550 south of Silverton, also known as the Million Dollar Highway, and is part of the San Juan Skyway Scenic Byway. (Partner Pass: Coal Bank Pass)

Suggested Route (Paved) 47 miles

Begin your ride in Durango
Head North on US 550 to Coal Bank Pass Summit--mile 34
Continue on US 550 to Molas Pass Summit--mile 41
Finish in Silverton, CO--mile 47

THE CLIMB

Though it is one of the higher passes in Colorado, Molas Pass only contains a few switchbacks on the north approach. The ride is considerably less intimidating than Red Mountain Pass located on the same highway. The Pass usually stays open during the winter season.

 

Molas Pass provides you uninterrupted views of peaks in the Needles and Grenadiers Ranges, as well as Twilight Peak.

NEARBY TOWNS

Durango, 41.2 miles to the south
Silverton, 10.1 miles to the north

FUN FACTS

“Molas” is Spanish for moles. Moles burrow in the soft dirt and live in their tunnels around Molas Lake at the pass.

 

Molas Pass is the last mountain pass of the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic race where riders race the train from Durango to Silverton.

HISTORY

The San Juan Mountains are the largest and most rugged collection of mountain peaks in Colorado with thirteen of the peaks above 14,000 feet. The scenic San Juan Skyway is a 236-mile state highway maintained through the mountain range. The San Juan Skyway is designated as an All-American Road, a National Forest Scenic Byway and a Colorado Scenic & Historic Byway. The San Juan Skyway travels over four mountain passes (Molas, Coal Bank, Red Mountain, and Lizard Head) through two National Forests (Uncompahgre and San Juan), and provides a view of many different climate zones. During the trip, the temperature will vary up to 15 degrees between valleys and mountaintops with an accompanying change in flora and fauna at different elevations.