Sunday, January 25, 2015

Loveland Pass, Loveland Ski and Arapahoe Ski Basins


One sunny day in October my husband and I decided to take a drive up into the Rocky Mountains for the day. Instead of going through the usual route on Interstate 70 through the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel, we decided at the last minute to take another route, on Highway 6, through Loveland Passwhich was the road one had to drive before part of the tunnel was opened in 1973. (All photos, and photo collages, will enlarge for easier viewing if clicked on.)


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. 


On the south side of the pass the Arapahoe Basin Ski area is located. A-Basin, as locals call it, has a summit of 13,050 feet. It is often the first ski area to open in North America, as it opens for the season in mid October, and can remain open until July!


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.


On our way home we used our usual route of driving back on Interstate 70, through the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel, completed in 1979, that travels under the Continental Divide of the Rocky Mountains. With a maximum elevation of 11,158 feet it is one of the highest vehicular tunnels in the world, and it is also the longest mountain tunnel on the Interstate Highway system. The westbound bores for the tunnel is named after Dwight D Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States and for whom the Interstate Highway system is named. The eastbound bore of the tunnel is named for Edwin C Johnson, a governor and US Senator who lobbied for an Interstate Highway to be built across Colorado.  After driving over the rigorous Loveland Pass I can see how this tunnel system had a large impact on making crossing the Rocky Mountains an easier and safer trip!
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43 comments:

Felicia said...

super beautiful views.

Massimo said...

Hallo Pat,
it must be a very nice place to visit... I guess now it is much whiter !
thanks for sharing , have anice week !

Michelle said...

Colorado is such a beautiful state. You really do it justice with your photographs!

Kris said...

Oh the beauty where you live! What a fantastic photo, of both you and the hubby! I believe your new state agrees with you very much!!!
XO Kris

From the Kitchen said...

Lovely! Please take us back in late spring!

Best,
Bonnie

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

The more I see of Colorado Pat, the more I want to come and visit your state. I would love to hike in this area and photograph the scenery.
Thank you for linking to Mosaic Monday.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

That's such a beautiful part of our country! We used to drive up to Vail when we lived in NM and it was so picturesque! Enjoy your week my friend and thanks for sharing the wonderful photos! Hugs, Diane

The Gathering Place said...

I remember driving through those mountains with my husband, while he rembered the old pass. Fortunately,we were able to use the tunnel. Beautiful! Glad it is safer now!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I love how you two are always exploring together. We're in for a bit of snow ourselves in the next couple of days.

Rajesh said...

Beautiful and scenic landscapes.

ann said...

Another spectacular Colorado post show casing our beautiful state. I well remember traveling to the western slope before I-70. Always a beautiful drive with spectacular views. You are having a lot of fun discovering your new home and I am enjoying reading about your adventures.

The Glamorous Gourmet said...

I used to live in Colorado and your post brought back so many great memories! I miss the beautiful scenery and drives like this one - you just can't find them in Florida lol:) So happy to find your blog - if you enjoy food & wine please stop by my website if you get the chance. I look forward to reading more of your posts - Cheers!

eileeninmd said...

Hello Pat, Lovely views of Colorado. It is a beautiful state. I am happy the tunnels are there..Hubby and I really enjoyed our trip to the Rocky Mtn Nat'l Park. Lovely photos. Have a happy week!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Gorgeous country and jaw dropping views Pat. I can imagine how dangerous that road would be in the winter. Very smart to take your trip in October. You should write a trip guide book with your amazing photos.
Sam

Mary Cromer said...

Colorado is one of our favorite destinations and we just absolutely love it. Your images are all so wonderful and show some of the reasons we enjoy going back. Thank you for sharing Pat~

La Petite Gallery said...

I was in Colorado in the late 60's. Do remember some of ir and the snow and scary mountian roads. Looking at another 2 feet of snow. I have a foot on my roof now. Be happy you are not here.
yvonne

SmilingSally said...

Hi Pat,

This is an interesting post; the transportation department has their hands full. I'll bet you don't want to take that drive now.

Thanks for sharing.

Happy Blue Monday!

Betsy Adams said...

As you know, we love love love your area. AND--there are so many places out there --like this one---which we have not seen... When we get back out there, I want to visit some of these areas in addition to RMNP which we also love... Thanks for a beautiful post.
Hugs,
Betsy

ladyfi said...

That scenery is just wonderful!

Jeanne said...

Hello Pat, You post today sure made me remember when we skied in Colorado. We flew to Denver and then our ski club would get on a bus to go to the various ski resorts. We always prayed Loveland Pass would not be closed because of snow. Your photos are awesome. Loved all of them. We have those ramps too, for run away trucks. We never did ski at the Loveland Basin Ski area. We didn't miss many resorts though. Fun times.

We have cold weather and snow here.

Stay warm.
Hugs Jeanne

Annesphamily said...

Hi Pat! I L O V E my home state. It is the most favorite place to be. Don't forget to mail all your Valentine's cards from Loveland, Colorado. King Soopers usually has their special Loveland mail boxes up so we don't have to pay extra to mail them. Your photos are lovely. Have a great week! Hugs, Anne

happywonderer.com said...

I think Hubby's aunt and uncle had a cabin in Loveland somewhere. Such a beautiful part of Colorado.

Fun60 said...

Just looking at those twists and turns in the road I was thinking i wouldn't want to drive there in the Summer never mind the Winter. Then I saw the sign for the runaway trucks and I was convinced i will confine my driving to UK roads! So now I need to find someone willing to drive me around Colorado so I can just sit back and enjoy those fabulous views.

Gracie said...

You have to admit that this is a very differen scenario than the one you were used to when you lived in NYC!!!

La Petite Gallery said...

I can remember laying down on the back seat so as not to see the sheer drops on the hairpin curves on a 2 lane road. The hair on the back of my
neck still stands up.
Pat you look very Irish. My family is Donegal, Sligo, going south Mayo. The best trip was up the coast, Kelleybegs and we drove the coast to the top.
A must see is the Belleek factory. I bought bells so delicate, lost in the house fire. We are having a white out and nor easter, hope I don't lose power. yvonne

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

This was a great post for that Amaze Me meme ... We grew up in the west and were, we thought, used to mountains, but our first visit to Colorado amazed us! I can only imagine people who have never been anywhere that isn't flat would hardly believe your great pictures.

What a perfect days outing .. Exciting driving, scenic beauty, time to get out and hike. Wonderful! And your words and great photos document it beautifully.

carol l mckenna said...

Great shots! Beautiful!

I remember that drive with fond memories ~ we experienced every season as we drove through ~ amazing and I love the tunnel ~

Happy Week to you,
artmusedog and carol

annie said...

Wonderful photos!
You have a great eye for photos.

Donna said...

what a beautiful excursion...so much fun when we take a different route sometimes

Barb said...

Hi Pat, You photos in this post are very familiar to me. Once, long ago (when I was in my late 40's), Bob and I skied with our sons and some of their college buddies from the top of the pass in the light of the full moon. A friend of theirs with a pickup truck got us at the bottom and hauled us back up. I remember sparks coming off my sons' skis as they hit barely-buried rocks on the way down. It was exhilarating and probably dangerous.

Daniela said...

I always feel mesmerized by your great shots and taking part to the great adventures you live, your countryside is amazing !
Thank you with all my heart
xo
Dany

Light and Voices said...

NY or Colo you do have a knack to take some beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing this adventure with us. Keep those photos coming.
JM, Illinois

Lea said...

Beautiful scenery!
Hope you are having a wonderful day!
Lea

Lisa @ Grandmas Briefs said...

Lovely photos! (No pun intended.) :-D I clicked over thinking I'd see pics of you and your husband skiing. Have you yet? I've lived in Colorado more than 40 years and STILL have never tried it. And still don't have any desire to. (I'd be the one hitting the tree and bonking my brains.)

Debbie said...

So beautiful!

Gunn said...

What an interesting and nice posting.

Ida said...

That is a beautiful area for sure. I don't ski but I can appreciate the beauty of this country.

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Beautiful. beautiful. beautiful country, Pat!! blessings ~ tanna

Pallavi Puri said...

Such beautiful pictures Pat ! Stopping by after a long time .. Hope u are well :)

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

I always enjoy your posts, Pat…they are so interesting. I can just imagine early settlers using that pass, amazing.

diane b said...

You live in the most beautiful state and I guess the highest one. The scenery is magic. Those hiking trails look like they climb up and up. Makes you puff I reckon but the scenery would be worth it.

podso said...

Beautiful country. I can almost smell the fresh mountain air! I can tell you are really enjoying your retirement!

Marie said...

Beautiful Colorado views! I love getting out in the brisk air to see wonderful scenery. Looks like a great day!