Lake County, Colorado
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The trail starts at Turquoise Lake just outside of Leadville. Drive along the southern edge of the lake until you come to a "Y" where the pavement goes right. The trail starts on the easy dirt road to the left.
The initial climb is easy with lots of room for passing. When you get to a wide, sweeping switchback you will find plenty of parking so you can explore the area around the Carlton Tunnel. The tunnel started out as the Busk-Ivanhoe Tunnel for railroad use but it was renamed in 1922 when it was used for automobile traffic instead. It was closed in 1943 when part of the tunnel collapsed and it is gated. Now it is used to carry water from Ivanhoe Lake to Busk Creek across the Continental Divide.
Though the tunnel is closed it is still a very scenic area. Busk Creek is especially scenic here. You can also hike on the old railroad grade to the eastern portal of the old Hagerman Tunnel, the tunnel that was closed and replaced by the Busk-Ivanhoe Tunnel.
Most passenger vehicles can make it to this tunnel. After you pass this switchback the trail gets a bit rougher and steeper as you climb up to the pass.
Just before you get to the pass there is a gate. About five miles under this gate lies the Charles H. Boustead Tunnel, a long tunnel that diverts water from the Fryingpan River Basin to Turquoise Lake, right under the Continental Divide. You can't see any evidence of the tunnel but it's interesting to know that such a long tunnel runs underneath the trail here.
It is fairly flat at the actual pass, marked with a sign. You cross over the Continental Divide here, from Lake County to Pitkin County.
The descent down the other side is fairly mellow though it is bumpy in spots. You can see Ivanhoe Lake in the valley below as you work your way down.
Just before the end of the trail there is a seasonal gate. Then you get to a four-way intersection as you come off of the easternmost portion. If you make a very sharp left turn and head south it will take you past Ivanhoe Lake and to the western portal of the old Hagerman Tunnel.
If you were to veer slightly right up a narrow trail you would be on the end of the Diemer and Sellar Lakes trail.
If you were to veer slightly left nearly straight off of the Hagerman Pass trail you would continue along an easy dirt road past Ruedi Reservoir to the town of Basalt.
Hagerman Pass can be run in either direction so you can also turn around at the end and head back the way you came.
Information last updated on September 19th, 2011.Low-End Rating:3High-End Rating:3Rock Crawling: