The pass is named for William A.H. Loveland, who was the president of the Colorado Central Railroad and a resident of Golden during the late 19th century. The city of Loveland, located in Larimer County is also named after him. The pass, located on Highway 6, is the highest mountain pass in the world that stays open regularly during a snowy winter season. On the east side of the pass is the Loveland Basin ski area. It is one of Colorado's highest ski areas with a summit of 13,010 feet. and the second highest ski lift served areas in North America, at 12,697 feet. It is one of the closest ski areas from Denver, and the Front Range, and popular with locals
As we continued to drive on the twisty road towards the Continental Divide, we could see how this road could be a very treacherous drive during the winter months.
The steep, steady 6.7% grade along the road, with numerous hairpin turns, makes it difficult to snowplow. The Colorado Department of Transportation does its best to keep the road open. This is the major route across this part of the Rocky Mountains for trucks caring hazardous materiel, as they are not allowed to drive through the Eisenhower Tunnel.
Thankfully, my husband enjoys driving on roads like this, as long as the driving conditions are good, and I like to snap photos along the way! We found the views along the pass so exciting!
At the top of the pass there is a pull off parking area, and we stopped to take in the view.....
..and to do a little hiking.
The trail was narrow and muddy, as even though it was October, there had already been snow at these elevations.
It was exhilarating to be at the top of the Continental Divide at this point.
We could see a few back country snowboarders taking advantage of the early snow to ride down the summit. Sadly, in April of 2013, an avalanche at Loveland Pass claimed the lives of five snowboarders. It was the deadliest avalanche in Colorado since 1962.
In an effort to control avalanches, the Colorado Department of Transportation will temporary close mountain roads and use long range blasting to move the snow down, and then clear it from the road. It is quite an important job here in the high elevations of Colorado, which see large and frequent snowfalls
The view of the parking area that we had from the top of the trail. As you can see there was another , wider trail on the other side. Perhaps a place we will hike in the future?
We returned to our car and continued our drive over Loveland Pass.
After driving the entire pass we returned to Interstate 70, going west. As you can see in this photo, there were other ski areas in the distance that had yet to receive snow.
This is a familiar sight to see as you drive the Colorado mountain roads--it is a runaway truck ramp. The grades along these roads can be 6% or greater, and occasionally truck brakes overheat. They need to use these ramps to stop, and cool down their brakes.
We entered continued our drive on Highway 6, and entered Summit County, where we enjoyed a day out in the town of Breckenridge.
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