Hoosier Pass is one of our favorite Colorado high mountain passes. From its winding switchbacks to its view of numerous fourteeners, it’s tough to beat the outstanding drive over the pass. Highway 9, which traverses the pass, runs between Fairplay and Breckenridge. You should definitely stop in Alma (which sits in between) if time allows.
Winter is our favorite time to travel Hoosier Pass – especially because of the ice-capped views of Mount Quandary. If you’re heading over the pass in summer, roll down your window and jam to some John Denver! How can you beat a little Rocky Mountain High?
“And the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
I know he’d be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly
Rocky mountain high” – John Denver, Rocky Mountain High
Don’t forget to check out our Colorado playlist for your next road trip adventure!
Hoosier Pass Background
Hoosier Pass, at elevation 11,542 feet, is a high mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado. Indiana, the “Hoosier State,” was the initial home of many pioneers. That’s how Hoosier Pass got its name.
The pass is located on the Continental Divide at the northern end of the Mosquito Range. It’s in a gap between Mount Lincoln (a Colorado 14er) and Hoosier Ridge. Hoosier Pass straddles the boundary between Park County and Summit County.
The pass provides a route between the headwaters of the Blue River (which is a tributary of the Colorado River) and the headwaters of the South Platte River in South Park. The highway over Hoosier Pass offers an alternative route from Denver to the ski areas near Breckenridge and Keystone. It offers a primary route from Colorado Springs to the aforementioned ski areas. Hoosier Pass is open year round and can be traveled by any vehicle in good weather. However, it can occasionally close down during winter storms.
Hoosier Pass’ Place in Colorado History
Hoosier Pass is the location of the oldest known transbasin water diversion project in Colorado. In this case, the transbasin diversion is a ditch that diverts water from the Blue River basin to the South Platte basin. The diverted water was originally used for placer mining above Alma. By 1929, the 1.8-mile East Hoosier Ditch and the 1.3-mile West Hoosier Ditch were in operation. Combined they are able to divert an aggregate of 77 cubic feet per second of water across the Continental Divide.