Slumgullion Pass alternate summit


Slumgullion Summit is marked on Co149 between Lake City and Creede on state highway maps. Helmuth's "Passes of Colorado" points out that topo maps place the divide 1/4 mile to the north east on FR788. It identifies the pass as divide between the Lake Fork of the Gunnison to the west and Mill Creek to the east. That is also the route followed by the profile below.

Yet other maps are ambiguous about the true location of the pass, placing a name in the general area without accompanying pass symbol.


click on profile for more detail
1.(8510ft,mile00) START-END EAST: Cebolla Creek campground
2.(8920ft,mile07) Cathedral. Los Pinos Pass turns left. Stay right.
3.(11320ft,mile23) TOP: Slumgullion Pass alternate summit. Shortly later road merges with paved Co143. Profile continues to right.
4.(10850ft,mile24) turnoff to Windy Point overlook is on right.
5.(8660ft,mile32) START-END WEST: Lake City

Approaches

From East. Before the profile starts, Co149 crosses Cebolla Creek. This route follows a dirt road along the creek, instead of Co149, all the way to the top. Initially the road leads through a flat bottom valley, rimmed by layers of caprock that appear to be the perfect natural fences for keeping in cattle. The valley seems to contain just as many tourist ranches as real ranches. Camping in the lower valley is only practical in a single national forest campground.

After this the road begins to climb and this is also where the profile starts.Seven miles later, at the settlement of Cathedral, the road meets up with Spring Creek and the Los Pinos Pass road. The route enters national forest land and follows pleasant open forest land, interspersed with sporadic wildly shaped rock outcrops to a forested top. The top is immediately before the junction with Co149, about 1/4 mile before it reaches its Slumgullion Summit.

From West. (described downwards) Except for the top 1/4 mile, this side is identical to the northern approach to Slumgullion Pass, and the picture below is taken on this side.



A Dayride with this point as intermediate summit is on page: Slumgullion Pass

 

History . This separate approach to the alternate summit of Slumgullion Pass seems like a very practical historical route at first. The combination of  Pinos Pass, and the eastern approach along lower Cebolla Creek, form a direct connection between the old, well worn Cochetopa Pass and the top of the alternate Slumgullion summit, descending into Lake City. In spite of this the lower Cebolla Creek road  is not a very old route. Otto Mear's toll roads followed a longer, lower route over Cerro Summit and Blue Mesa Summit instead, and then ascending directly to Lake City

Besides, the top of Slumgullion Summit was utilized by Otto Mear's competitor, who had built a toll road from Del Norte to reach Lake City. The headwaters of Cebolla Creek (on Spring Creek Pass) were paralleled by the historic Del Norte - Lake City toll road, and the name "Cebolla Pass" was applied to the route prior to the toll road. But in spite of its name, the route did not continue to descend Cebolla Creek, but instead Slumgullion Creek to Lake City.