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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Wolf Creek Pass

Above, looking up towards Wolf Creek Pass from a turnout on the Pagosa Springs side. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

My route to Durango, Colorado on Highway 160 took me through Wolf Creek Pass, the pass made famous in the 1975 song by singer C. W. McCall.

That song, and stories about the pass, had me wondering how The Beast would be able to handle it. I had visions akin to "Deadman's Curve" by Jan and Dean.

Above, The Beast at the turnout below Wolf Creek Pass. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

The pass wasn't too bad. It is a multi-lane highway these days. There were spots of snow on the ground in the surrounding hills. I was glad it made it through as a storm front was on the way (I caught a little bit of it in Cortez, Colorado the next day). I don't have any snow chains. It was easier than I thought. The views were beautiful.

Here's what Wikipedia says about Wolf Creek Pass:
Wolf Creek Pass (el. 10,857 ft.) is a high mountain pass on the Continental Divide, in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. It is the route through which U.S. Highway 160 passes from the San Luis Valley into southwest Colorado on its way to New Mexico and Arizona. The pass is notable as inspiration of a C. W. McCall song. The pass is significantly steep on either side (6.8% maximum grade) and can be dangerous in winter. There is a runaway truck ramp on the westbound side for truckers that lose control of their brakes.

Wolf Creek Pass, once a two-lane road winding through the San Juan Mountains between South Fork, Colorado and Pagosa Springs, has recently been expanded into a multi-lane highway, greatly increasing the traffic capacity of the pass and making it more navigable in bad weather.
Above, from the turnout, a view of the valley towards Pagosa Springs. Photo by Armand Vaquer.

After traversing the pass and coming downhill towards Pagosa Springs, I took some photos at a turnout. After this, I headed into Pagosa Springs and took a coffee break (along with some fudge cake topped with vanilla ice cream) there.

Here's a video of Wolf Creek Pass along with the song by C. W. McCall:

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