Our Drive to North Cochetopa Pass on the Continental Divide; Located Between Gunnison, CO and Saguache, CO
You've probably never heard of this place ... August 24, 2012 - Truth be told, this is an underwhelming Colorado pass for paved roads
on the Continental Divide. Located between Gunnison and Saguache,
North Cochetopa Pass sits at a mere 10,135 feet with minimal mountain views.
Still, we wanted to visit and
after driving over Marshall Pass
and stopping at the U.S. Forest Service
office in Gunnison, we opted to drive to this spot.
Above: Standing on the side of the road like the tourists we were.
Our adventure began when we turned on Colorado State Highway 114 outside
of Gunnison. We were 70 miles away from Saguache, with the Continental Divide between us.
This road has pretty scenery through very underpopulated land.
In one section, the road travels through a rocky canyon.
For hikers and campers seeking solitude, this region would be a good choice.
While on our way, I made a video titled Driving in Saguache County Colorado. :)
North Cochetopa Pass - Elevation 10,135 Feet
And then we arrived at North Cochetopa Pass. It was a cold and rainy August day,
but that didn't damper our joy at being on the continent's backbone.
One common mistake should be addressed: On old maps,
this spot is sometimes named "North Pass", but its real name is North Cochetopa Pass. Also, there is a Cochetopa Pass in proximity that can be accessed via a dirt road; that was a popular route during Colorado's settlement days.
From this pass, all watersheds east flow into the San Luis Valley and Rio Grande watershed. Everything west flows toward the Gunnison River, which flows into the Colorado River at Grand Junction.
There are no stunning views at the pass. In fact, the road is a mere bend in the road below timberline.
For more spectacular scenery, continue driving east toward Saguache, where there are plenty of hills
and small mountains that dot the landscape. Once closer to Saguache, the grand views of the
Sangre De Cristo Mountains unfold.