Spring Creek Pass

37°56’27”N
107°09’33”W
10,901 FEET
(3,323 M)
7.5% ASPHALT
NEAR LAKE CITY
Spring Creek Pass Elevation

Spring Creek Pass is a mountain pass on the Continental Divide in the San Juan Mountains. The pass is traversed by State Highway 149 and the Colorado Trail. (Partner Pass: Slumgullion Pass)

Suggested Route (Paved) 50 miles

Begin in Lake City and travel southeast on paved SH 149
Continue riding to Slumgullion Pass Summit--mile 10.8
Carry on southeast to Spring Creek Pass Summit--mile 17.3
Finish on SH 149 to Creede--mile 50.0

THE CLIMB

Somewhat unusual for a pass on the Continental Divide, it is not the highest point on the highway in the vicinity. Heading north from the pass, the road climbs over the considerably higher Slumgullion Summit before descending toward Lake City. Lake City is a lovely hamlet with several motels and small eateries.

NEARBY TOWNS

Creede, 33.1 to the southeast
Lake City, 17.3 to the northwest

FUN FACTS

The pass has been called “Cebola”, Spanish for onion, perhaps for a nearby creek.

HISTORY

R. H. Kern referred to the pass as “The Pass of the Rio Del Norte” on an army map in 1851. He was mistaken because this was not the headwaters of the Rio Grande Norte which was called Rio Del Norte by the Spanish. The pass was probably named after Big Spring Creek, which originated at the Divide.

 

After the first road into the mountains was completed, Lake City served as a supply center for the many miners and prospectors flooding into the area. The town boomed with as many as 3,000 to 5,000 settlers, and subsided by 1879 when no new deposits were found. With the arrival of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad in 1889, Lake City saw a second upturn in the economy that lasted into the 1890s. The railroad provided shipment of cattle and sheep into the area for summer grazing in the high Alpine meadows.