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Willow Creek Pass

This is a fascinating high valley, that stands in contrast to the adjacent valley to the east. Over there it's the commercialism and real estate frenzy that comes with being adjacent to a national park. Over here along WIllow Creek, the really high peaks are out of sight and out of mind. The (for american standards) narrow road has no shoulder and it does not need one. It follows the meanders of a high and free (undammed) litte stream through a peaceful collection of rounded hills, that sun and clouds turn into a muddled carpet of greens.

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1.(7970ft,mile00) START-END SOUTH: Granby
2.(7840ft,mile03) START-END SOUTH ALTERNATE: US40 from Hot Sulphur Springs joins from left
3.(9621ft,mile25) TOP: Willow Creek Pass
4.(8885ft,mile29) dirt road following Willow Creek joins from left
5.(8650ft,mile35) START-END NORTH: Rand


From South. After cruising along on US40 along an initial version of the Colorado River, the first wake up climb on Co125 can be rough, if it is very hot. But this climb leads up into an area that tends to be cooler than most parts of the state, and then becomes a lot gentler.

The road on this side can have a mildly hypnotizing effect if you let the meanders of Willow Creek do their job. The small creek is lined with wetlands. The eye meanders between grasslands, bushes and wildflowers. Since the forest fires, most of the old campgrounds are closed, and many of the dirt road turnoffs are closed to motor vehicles. Amongst the gravel climbing turnoffs on this side are Kaufman Creek Rd, Stillwater Pass and others. Approaching the top the road comes close to Park View Mtn (12296ft). An appropriate trailhead is a mile or two below below the summit.

The pass summit itself does not really have a view of the landscape. Instead a large pass sign points our the sides of the Continental Divide, east and west. Thank you. It towers high on an embankment above the road cut. The sign seems to appear in many tourist photos.

From North. (described downwards). The one chance for a view of high mountain peaks above treeline comes a short distance past the summit. This is one way to experience the Rocky Mountain Park area without crowds, albeit you need a telephoto lens. Not having a sinuous stream to follow on this side makes the road much straighter as it cuts through the wild green forest. A perfect stretch to meditate and find peace around yourself as within. Rand is an interesting collection of summer huts.

A Day on a Tour with this point as highest summit:

Three Day Road Tour. A supported camping tour, done by the Denver Bicycle Touring Club in past decades, went like this: Day 1: Steamboat Springs to a campsite on top of Gore Pass, 50 miles measured distance. Day 2:  Gore Pass to a campsite near Granby, 52 miles. Day 3: Granby over Willow Creek Pass, a shoulder of Muddy Pass leading to Rabbit Ears Pass back to Steamboat Springs, 90 miles. All mileages were measured with a now antique, Schwinn approved, pinwheel driven odometer, guaranteed to be accurate to within aproximately 15 percent, when not going too fast for a misfunction to occur (r1:83.09.05).

Dayrides with this point as intermediate summit are on pages:

Stillwater Pass , Illinois PassKaufman Creek Rd s(u)


Hayden Survey (<Muddy Pass|Tennessee Pass>) This low pass was one of three between Middle and South park inspected by a subgroup of the Hayden Survey, in their first year of mapping.   From here the group joined with main group to travel over Tennessee Pass.

Willow Creek Pass (Summary)

Elevation/Highest Point: 9621ft

Southern Approach:
from junction US40 (7840ft)
1781 ft
21 miles
Western Approach:

from Rand (8650ft)
971 ft
10 miles

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