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Passes - Alaska, Canada
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National Parks - Alaska One

Mountain Passes in the Northwest and Rockies


McKenzie Pass over the Cascades near the Three Sisters

5335 feet / 1623 meters

Wikipedia article: McKenzie Pass

 thumbnail - Dee Wright Observatory and the lava flows at McKenzie Pass

Dee Wright Observatory and the lava flows at McKenzie Pass

, Oregon

July 23, 2007
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McKenzie Pass

Willamette Pass over the Oregon Cascades

5128 feet / 1563 meters

Willamette Pass provides a relatively easiest exit from the south end of the Willamette Valley. The historic Southern Pacific Cacade Route (now Union Pacific) is utilized by Amtrak's Coast Starlight service.

Wikipedia article: Willamette Pass

 thumbnail - The Willamette Pass Highway, main route across the Oregon Cascades

The Willamette Pass Highway, main route across the Oregon Cascades

, Oregon

August 12, 2007
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Willamette Pass

Lolo Pass over the Bitterroot Mountains

5233 feet / 1595 meters

Though neither very high nor steep, Lolo Pass leads west to a long stretch of continuous mountainous terrain which made for difficult crossings by Lewis and Clark in 1805 and 1806.

Wikipedia article: Lolo Pass (Idaho-Montana)

 thumbnail - Lolo Pass visitor center

The Forest Service visitor center here at the summit of Lolo Pass provides information for travelers, and also acts as a support center for winter recreation. Lolo Pass was where Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery crossed the Bitterroot Mountains, the greatest challenge encountered on their westward journey.

Lolo Pass, Idaho

August 3, 2014
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Lolo Pass

Pinnacle Pass at the City of Rocks

6600 feet / 2011 meters

Covered wagons turning off the Oregon Trail at Fort Hall on to the California Trail traversed this scenic corridor between the stone outcrops known as the City of Rocks.

Official site: City of Rocks National Reserve (National Parks Service

 thumbnail - Pinnacle Pass in the City of Rocks

Pinnacle Pass in the "city of rocks" was one of the most dramatic locations along the California Trail

City of Rocks National Reserve, Idaho

August 7, 2011
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Pinnacle Pass

Red Rock Pass (idaho)

4785 feet/1458 meters

This gap separates the Bannock and Portneuf Ranges. It was formed 14,500 years ago when Pleistocene Lake Bonneville overflowed and eroded a new channel to the Snake River. This temporary flow, known as the Bonneville Flood, was three times the water volume of the Amazon.

Wikipedia article: Red Rock Pass

 thumbnail - Red Rock Pass was the outlet for ancient Lake Bonneville

Red Rock Pass is where vast Lake Bonneville, ice-age predecessor of today's Great Salt Lake, overflowed to form a major tributary of the ancestral Snake River

south of Downey, Idaho

July 25, 2014
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Bannock Range and Red Rock Pass

Logan Pass in Glacier National Park

6646 foot / 2026

The highpoint on the Going-to-the-Sun Highway is also the Continental Divide.

Wikipedia article:

 thumbnail - Logan Pass in the Rain

The visitor center at Logan Pass as it begins to rain

, Montana

August 1, 2005
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Going-to-the-Sun Highway - East

South Pass on the Oregon Trail

7550 feet / 2300 meters

Broad and almost flat, the summit of South Pass is actually the Continetal Divide. It was traversed by both the Oregon Trail and the original transcontinental railroad. If it were not for this easy route over the Rocky Mountains the history of the western United States would have been much different.

Wikipedia article: South Pass (Wyoming)

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, Wyoming

July 3, 2008
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South Pass

Snowy Range Pass over the Medicine Bow Mountains

10,889 feet / 3319 meters

Wikipedia article: Medicine Bow Mountains

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Snowy Range Scenic Byway, Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, Wyoming

August 8, 2011
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Medicine Bow Mountains

Sherman Summit

8640 foot / 2630 meter

Merely a swell in the rolling sagebrush country, Sherman Summit was the highest point on both the original trans-continetal railroad and the Lincoln Highway, and is now the high point on Interstate 80.

Wikipedia article: Sherman Summit

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Sherman Summit, southeast of Laramie, Wyoming

August 9, 2011
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Sherman Summit and Vedauwoo

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park

12,183 feet / 3713 meters

Trail Ridge Road runs along the length of a mountain ridge, rather than across it, affording amazing views and a close-up look at alpine vegetation.

Official site: Trail Ridge Road (National Park Service)

Wikipedia article: Trail Ridge Road

 thumbnail - Traffic on Trail Ridge Road

Heavy traffic on Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

July 27, 2009
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Summit Section of Trail Ridge Road

Shrine Pass

11,094 feet / 3381 meters

There isn't much traffic over Shrine Pass since Highway 6 was built over Vail Pass, a few miles to the north.

Wikipedia article: Shrine Pass

 thumbnail - Shrine Pass Road at Vail Pass

On the Shrine Pass Road at Vail Pass on Interstate 70

Vail Pass, Colorado

July 19, 2009
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Dillon

Loveland Pass

11,990 feet / 3655 meters

Highway 6 crosses the Continental Divide at Loveland Pass in the Front Range. Although the road is kept open all year, since 1979 most traffic uses Interstate 70, which burrows under the high ridge via the Eisenhower Tunnel.

Wikipedia article: Loveland Pass

 thumbnail - Summit of Loveland Pass, on the Continental Divide

Summit of Loveland Pass, on the Continental Divide

, Colorado

July 6, 2007
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Loveland Pass

Independence Pass

12,095 feet / 3687 meters

Independence Pass is the highest paved road across the Continental Divide.

Wikipedia article: Independence Pass (Colorado)

 thumbnail - The Continental Divide at summit of Independence Pass, near Aspen

The Continental Divide at summit of Independence Pass, elevation 12, 093 feet, near Aspen

, Colorado

July 6, 2007
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Independence Pass

Lizard Head Pass

10,222 feet / 3116 meters

This wide gap in the San Juan Range was the route of the Rio Grande Southern Railroad and it legendary Galloping Goose railcars.

Wikipedia article: Lizard Head Pass

 thumbnail - Lizard Head Pass viewpoint

A broad gap between the San Miguel Range and the San Juan Range, Lizard Head Pass provided a route for the Rio Grande Southern Railroad and its Galloping Goose Railcar service.

Lizard Head Pass in the San Juan Mountains, Uncompahgre National Forest, Colorado

June 10, 2014
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Lizard Head Pass

Red Mountain Pass

11,018 feet / 3358 meters

The Million Dollar Highway, US 550, crosses the San Juan Mountains here, plagued by deep snow, avalanches, and rockfalls.

Wikipedia article: Red Mountain Pass (San Juan Mountains)

 thumbnail - The Red Mountain Project mine cleanup area

The Red Mountain Project mine cleanup area

, Colorado

May 21, 2006
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Red Mountain Pass

Coal Bank Pass

10,640 feet / 3243 meters

A pass south of Silverton on the Million Dollar Highway (US 550) in the San Juan Mountains

Wikipedia article: Coal Bank Pass

 thumbnail - Coal Bank Pass

Coal Bank Pass

, Colorado

May 21, 2006
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Durango to Silverton on the San Juan Skyway

North La Veta Pass

9382 feet / 2860 meters

Wikipedia article: La Veta, Colorado

 thumbnail - West of La Veta Pass

West of La Veta Pass, between the Sangre de Cristo Range and the Spanish Peaks

near La Veta, Colorado

July 22, 2009
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La Veta

Previous Thematic Listing:
Passes - Alaska, Canada
Next Thematic Listing:
National Parks - Alaska One