Shrine Pass

39°32’46”N
106°14’27”W
11,089 FEET
(3,380 M)
GRAVEL
BETWEEN VAIL PASS AND RED CLIFF
Shrine Pass Elevation

Shrine Pass is located at the northern end of the Sawatch Range, along the border of Eagle and Summit counties. It is traversed by a narrow unpaved road connecting the eastern side of Vail Pass near Interstate 70 with the town of Red Cliff in the upper valley of the Eagle River.

Suggested Route (Gravel) 30.4 miles

Begin in Minturn riding south on US 24 to Red Cliff--mile 7.1
Continue along the gravel road, FR 708, Shrine Pass Road to Shrine Pass Summit--mile 16.5
Continue riding on FR 16 to the Vail Pass rest area--mile 18.4
At this point continue along the paved Ten Mile Canyon Trail to Copper Mountain--mile 22.7
Continue riding on Copper Road crossing CR 91 into Wheeler Junction--mile 24.3
Continue riding along the Frisco Copper Bike Path to Frisco--mile 30.4

THE CLIMB

Start from Frisco and ride to Red Cliff via Fremont and Tennessee Passes, and from Red Cliff climb Shrine. It is a doozy of a ride no matter how you slice it, but you capture three passes. This Pass requires a mountain bike. Don’t miss Prost in Frisco for a cold beer and bratwurst after the ride, you will deserve it!

NEARBY TOWNS

Vail, 17.5 to the northwest
Frisco, 14.1 to the east
Red Cliff, 8.9 miles to the southwest
Minturn, 16.5 miles to the west

FUN FACTS

This pass and the road are named “Shrine” because of the remarkable view of the Mount of the Holy Cross.

HISTORY

The pass was formerly the principal route between the upper valleys of the Blue River and Eagle before the construction of U.S. Highway 6 in 1940 (over nearby Vail Pass). This subsequently became the main route.

 

In the early 20th century, travelers would visit the pass to view the famous Holy Cross Mountain for its healing powers. A religious healer from Denver encouraged folks to send him their handkerchiefs if they were too ill to make the journey. He would take their handkerchiefs to the pass and return them for a nominal fee.

 

Before the pass became a popular viewing spot of Holy Cross, timber was cut on Shrine to support the mining industry.

 

The pass offers scenic views of wildflower meadows and pine woodlands during the summer and autumn months, as well as distant views of Mount of the Holy Cross to the north. It is especially popular as a sightseeing route during the autumn months. During the winter, it is a popular snowmobile and cross-country skiing route. A car shuttle from the resort town of Vail in the Eagle Valley to the town of Red Cliff allows skiers to access the pass.