Red Hill Pass is traversed by U.S. Highway 285 and located at the base of the Mosquito Range. Though unlabeled at the summit, signs coming from Kenosha Pass and Fairplay identify the Pass. Peaks and striking scenery surround the Pass including Mount Silverheels. (Partner Pass: Kenosha Pass)
Begin in Bailey
Ride west on US 285 to Kenosha Pass Summit--mile 18.8
Continue on US 285 to Red Hill Pass Summit--mile 35.6
Finish in the town of Fairplay--mile 39
***(See Boreas Pass for an alternative route to capture 3 passes--Boreas, Red Hill and Hoosier)
The pass has sweeping curves, some straight sections and switchbacks. The route is easily traversable by most motor vehicles and rarely closes in the winter. Red Hill Pass may look like an easy one to cross off the list, but it can be crippling to the rider who attempts to squeeze too much climbing in for a day.
In order to achieve 2000 vertical feet in summiting from the south, one would have to ride 39 miles from Buena Vista. May need to combine with Boreas, Hoosier, Kenosha to capture 2,000 vertical feet.
Fairplay, 3.6 miles to the southwest
Alma, 9.2 miles to the west
Jefferson, 12.4 miles to the northeast
True to its name, Red Hill Pass is marked by an eye-catching red rock summit and red hills surround both sides of the summit.
Fairplay, a historic gold mining settlement near the pass, was founded in 1859 during the early days of the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush. Settlers were upset by the generous mining claims given to the earliest prospectors, and promised a more equitable system for its residents, resulting in the name of the town. In 1867, the county seat was moved to Fairplay, which became the commercial and governmental center of the region. By 1872, Fairplay was incorporated, two hotels constructed, several boarding houses built, as well as restaurants and five stores for trading. Sadly, in 1873, a fire swept through the business district destroying 50 buildings.
During the reconstruction the following year, a church and a courthouse were built and still stand today. The important railroads extended across the county in 1879; however, Fairplay was not on the main railroad line due to the difficultly of building the tracks to the town. It was surpassed in favor of Leadville. A branch line to Fairplay was completed in 1881. Regardless, by the 1920s, Fairplay was the largest town in the county of South Park.