Colorado Highways: Routes 1 to 19

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Location: North Front Range
Length*: 10.05mi
S End: Jct US 287 north of Fort Collins
N End: Jct I-25 Exit 278 at Wellington (east side frontage road)

Counties: Larimer
Places: Wellington

Annual Average Daily Traffic (2008):

  • 8600 at US 287
  • 5800 north of CR 54
  • 4000 north of CR 60
  • 5500 at 1st St. in Wellington
  • 8700 at I-25

Just a typical two-lane road that gets a lot of use by people going from Wellington to Fort Collins to work or shop. It basically "stairsteps", using sections lines, going north, then east, then north, then east.

SH 1 is an original 1920s cross-state highway. From New Mexico, it followed the current alignment of US 85-87 to through Trinidad, Pueblo and Colorado Springs to Monument, then went along the current Spruce Mountain Road through Palmer Lake and Larkspur. It followed current I-25 then to Castle Rock, then up US 85 on Santa Fe Drive. It then went three short blocks east on Iowa Street, up Broadway to downtown Denver, northwest on 23rd, west on 38th Ave., then north on Federal Blvd. It followed current US 287 north to Fort Collins, SH 1 to Wellington, county roads north to the I-25 Carr exit, then north via current I-25 to Wyoming. SH 1 was paved in its entirety by 1938. By 1949 SH 1 bypassed Greenhorn and Crow to the east, and was routed east of Palmer Lake and Larkspur by 1950. By 1954, SH 1 had its north end at Fort Collins, because the Fort Collins-Wellington section had been turned back. The Fort Collins-Wellington section was resurrected by 1957. The 1968 purge scaled SH 1 back to the Fort Collins-Wellington routing only. SH 1's south terminus with US 287 was realigned in 1997, moving it to a new intersection about 500 feet further northwest up 287.

Various US highways have used SH 1 over years. See US 85, US 87, US 287 and US 185 for more history on those routes. See also SH 185.


Location: Metro Denver
Length*: 19.88mi
S End: Jct US 285 at Colorado Blvd./Hampden Ave. in southeast Denver
N End: Jct I-76 Exit 16 south of Brighton

Counties: Denver, Arapahoe, Adams
Places: Denver, Glendale, Commerce City

NHS: I-25 north to US 6-85 north of I-270

Expressway: South of I-70 north to US 6-85 north of I-270

Roadway Names:

  • The north-south section in Denver is Colorado Boulevard
  • Section concurrent with US 6-85 is Vasquez Boulevard

Milepost Guide:

  • 0.00: US 285/Hampden Ave., Denver (begin SH 2 in Denver County)
  • 2.12: I-25 Exit 204 interchange
  • 2.93: Begin Denver/Arapahoe County split
  • 4.14: End Denver/Arapahoe split, enter Denver County
  • 4.38: SH 83/Leetsdale Dr.
  • 5.99: US 40-287/BL I-70/Colfax Ave.
  • 8.73: I-70 Exit 276 interchange
  • 9.49: Enter Adams County
  • 9.84: South jct US 6/US 85 interchange, Commerce City
  • 10.86: North jct US 6/US 85 interchange
  • 17.75: SH 44/104th Ave.
  • 19.88: I-76 Exit 16 interchange

Annual Average Daily Traffic (2008):

  • 24,700 at US 285/Hampden Ave., Denver
  • 34,000 north of Yale Ave.
  • 65,200 north of Mexico Ave.
  • 60,600 north of Mississippi Ave., Glendale
  • 58,600 north of SH 83/Leetsdale Dr.
  • 47,300 north of US 40-287/Colfax Ave.
  • 40,200 north of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
  • 28,900 south of US 6-85, Commerce City
  • 47,100 on US 6-85/SH 2 at I-270
  • 11,800 north of US 6-85
  • 14,200 northeast of Quebec St.
  • 7400 south of I-76

Starting at Colorado and Hampden at US 285 on the Denver/Cherry Hills Village line, SH 2 heads north via Colorado Blvd., through a partial cloverleaf at I-25 Exit 204, and north through I-70 Exit 276B. For much of the distance Colorado Blvd. is six lanes wide with left turn lanes that come and go. Some areas there are continuous left turn lanes, while other areas are divided with turn lanes only at intersections. Colorado Boulevard is a major north-south arterial on Denver's east side, and is choked with traffic and signals. The drive on it can be either fast and fun or slow and excruciating depending on time of day, traffic levels and signal timing.

North of I-70, SH 2 becomes more of an expressway, and goes through a partial interchange at US 6-85 (Vasquez Blvd.), where it merges with those routes. There is then a cloverleaf at I-270 Exit 2, and then has another partial interchange again at the north junction with US 6-85. From US 6-85, SH 2 heads northeast by itself through Commerce City, paralleling I-76 on I-76's southeast side, and bordering the west side of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal for part of the way. This stretch of road has no name other than the highway number. SH 2 then ends at I-76 Exit 16 (Sable Blvd interchange), due south of downtown Brighton.

Photo Gallery:

  • NB SH 2 at I-70. Northbound SH 2/Colorado Blvd. approaching the I-70 interchange. Due to construction at Smith Road, this sign structure no longer exists. (October 1999)
  • SH 2/120th Roundabout Sign. Northbound SH 2/Sable Blvd. approaching the 120th Avenue roundabout, an interim setup during reconstruction of the interchange. See History below. The sign is displaying which legs of the roundabout are what routes. At 11 o'clock is "NORTH SH2", 8 o'clock is "WEST 120TH", and 5 o'clock is "EAST 120TH". On the right side of the picture you can see the now-defunct bridge for old Exit 17. The bridge was substandard so I'm not missing it. The roundabout itself was taken out in September 2000 and replaced with a four-way stop. (October 1999)

The original 1920s SH 2 was the highway that went across the northern part of the state. Coming east, it followed current US 40 from Utah all the way to metro Denver, where it then jumped on Colfax Ave. and took that east to downtown. From there, it was north on Broadway to Brighton Blvd., then that northeast to Vasquez Blvd. (current US 6-85 through Commerce City), and then northeast, finally taking US 85 northeast out of the metro area up toward Greeley. From Greeley, it went east on current US 34 to Wiggins, where it picked up US 6 east to Fort Morgan then to Sterling, then US 138 northeast into Nebraska.

Various US highways have used SH 2 over the years. For more information, see US 6, US 40, US 38, US 40N, and US 85 for histories on those highways.

By 1946, SH 2 was rerouted northeast of Denver so that instead of going through Greeley it went from Commerce City northeast through Hudson to Wiggins. By 1950 it was realigned in Denver, using Colfax Ave. east to Colorado Blvd., and that north to Vasquez Blvd., then northeast. In the 1968 purge, SH 2 was scaled back to only the metro Denver routing, from US 285 north to I-80S, taking over SH 153's routing from Colfax south to Hampden.

According to CDOT route logs, sometime before 1971, SH 35 came into the system. Officially SH 35 had SH 2's alignment from Quebec Street northeast to I-76, but I doubt it was marked as such. By 1972, 35 was scaled back, and SH 2 was extended back up to I-76. SH 2 existed as this road from US 285 to I-76 from 1972 up until Spring 1998, when SH 2 was again extended. Sable Blvd from I-76 north to SH 7 in Brighton had previously been marked as SH 51, but CDOT decided it would be better marked as an extension of SH 2. SH 51 was remarked as SH 2 sometime between March and July 1998. Mileposts on Sable were not changed for the extension, so SH 2 had its mileposts reset to 0 as it went through the I-76 interchange.

Work started in Summer 1998 on a much-needed improvement to the SH 2/I-76/120th Avenue area. SH 2 south of I-76 was closed for almost a year, and the two separate trumpet interchanges for SH 2 and Sable Blvd. were replaced with a new single diamond interchange, which opened in September 1999. The configuration of the interchange from September 1999 to September 2000 included a roundabout at Sable and 120th, which was apparently part of the ultimate plan. However, in September 2000 the roundabout was ripped out and replaced with an intersection with stop signs all the way around. My thinking is that the roundabout was hard to negotiate by truckers, as there is a large truck stop on Sable just north of 120th. In September 2001 the new bridge for 120th over I-76 opened (a very large, impressive structure), and a signal put in at 120th and Sable, bringing the project essentially to completion.

Here're maps to help with the explanation:

If you ask me, what I have shown for September 2001 is what they should have built in the first place in the 1960s. The Pre-1998 setup was a substandard, confusing mess. Bridges over I-76 were narrow and low, ramp configurations caused weaving problems on I-76 and any direction you wanted to go involved slow, sharp turns. The first time I went through it I was taking 120th westbound from Tower to US 85, and I just about got lost trying to follow 120th.

SH 2 changed again in summer 2010 when CDOT trimmed back SH 2 to end at the I-76 interchange. Sable Blvd from I-76 to SH 7 was turned back to Brighton, as the roadway had taken on more of a city street feel as Brighton expanded southward.


Location: North Front Range
Alignment: From the Wyoming border south along current US 85

The original 1920s SH 3 was the roadway from Greeley north through Ault to the border south of Cheyenne. In Greeley it used 8th Ave. from 18th St. north to 9th St., west to 11th Ave., then north out of town. It was paved north to Ault by 1932, and to Wyoming by 1936. By 1946 SH 2 had been rerouted northeast of Denver so that it didn't go through Greeley, and SH 3 was extended south through Brighton to Denver. See also US 85, because after 1926, SH 3 served as US 85's carrier route and nothing else. Eliminated in the 1968 purge.


Location: Durango
Length*: 2.44mi
SE End: Jct US 160-550 southeast of Durango
NW End: Jct US 160-550 in southeast Durango

Counties: La Plata

Annual Average Daily Traffic (2008):

  • 9600 at US 160-550 (southeast)
  • 9100 south of 8th Ave./Santa Rita Dr.
  • 7300 at US 160-550 (northwest)

From southeast of Durango, SH 3 goes off of US 160-550's northeast side then parallels it toward town, hugging the north hillside of the Animas River valley. As US 160-550 bypasses Durango to the south, SH 3 goes north into town on 8th Avenue. But just south of 2nd Street, SH 3 takes a turn to the left then heads southwest on Santa Rita Dr. That heads back out to US 160-550, where SH 3 ends.

No signing exists for SH 3 except a couple signs at the southeast end.

Old route of US 160-550 southeast of Durango. The 160-550 bypass was completed by 1982, SH 3 was given its old route. At first however, SH 3 ended with a dangling end at 8th Avenue and 2nd Street. It was extended along Santa Rita Dr. back out to US 160-US 550 in September 2002.

It would make more sense to have it marked as a business route.


Location: Western Slope > Central Mountains > South Front Range > Eastern Plains
Alignment: Utah to Kansas via US 24

The original 1920s SH 4 went all the way across the state. It is current I-70/US 6-50 from Utah to Grand Junction, and then follows I-70/US 6 (historic US 6-24) east via Parachute, Glenwood Springs and Eagle, to where it hits US 24 at Minturn, and then went all the way to Kansas on current US 24 through Leadville, Buena Vista, Woodland Park, Colorado Springs, Limon and Burlington. By 1936 SH 4 was paved from Utah to Glenwood Springs, from Dotsero to Leadville, and Woodland Park to Kansas. Paved in its entirety by 1939. For more on the US highways that have used SH 4, see US 6, US 24, US 40, US 40N, US 40S, and US 46. Eliminated in the 1968 purge.


Location: North Front Range
Alignment: I-25 to US 85 via Carr

Original 1920s state highway. It was a very short route which went from US 87 (current I-25) near the Wyoming border east through Carr and ending at US 85. Kinda a piddly little route to give a one-digit number. Deleted by 1939.


Location: North Front Range
Alignment: Started at SH 259 (today's SH 257) north of Windsor and headed due east through Severance, Eaton, and ending as a spur east of US 85 at Galeton


Location: Southeast Denver
Alignment: From ??Iliff Avenue?? southeast to Hampden Avenue (SH 70) via ??Syracuse Way??

Appears on the CDH map Denver insert for only one year: 1954.


Location: Central Mountains
Length*: 14.89mi
N End: Jct SH 103 south of Idaho Springs
S End: Top of Mount Evans

Counties: Clear Creek

Sections Closed in Winter: From Summit Lake to the top of Mount Evans. The closure usually is October to May but can vary widely from year to year, so check the CDOT CoTrip site for current info.

Roadway Names: Mount Evans Highway

Scenic & Historic Byway: Mount Evans

Annual Average Daily Traffic (2008): 380

SH 5 goes up Mount Evans south of Idaho Springs. It starts at SH 103 at Echo Lake, already at a high 10,600 ft. SH 5 then heads generally south, but twisting and turning all over the place as needed because of the terrain. It eventually reaches Summit Lake at 12,800 ft, a shimmering alpine lake on the north slope of Mount Evans. SH 5 then veers around to the south side of the mountain and begins a switchback-filled climb directly up the side of the mountain.

At the top of the road, SH 5 reaches a parking area at 14,130 ft. Crest House, a former gift shop, is used as a viewing platform. Rest rooms are available, and the University of Denver's observatory is also at the top. However, the true summit of Mount Evans is another 130' above the parking area. A rocky foot path climbs to the summit at 14,264 ft. There are very few places in the world with that stunning a view which are easily accessible.

Alpine wildlife is abundant, including mountain goats, bighorn sheep, ravens, marmots and chipmunks. Summer never really arrives at the top, with temperatures not often exceeding 60F, even in August. But storms can blow up suddenly. Lightning? Get back in he car!

The top of SH 5 is the highest paved road in North America. Grades exceed 10% in places on it, and the tight curves and narrow width make taking anything larger than a passenger vehicle up not a good idea. There is no striping above Summit Lake, and the pavement is less than two lanes wide in places. And there is no guardrail. From Idaho Springs to the top back to Idaho Springs can take 2+ hours.

Even though SH 5 is a state highway, the road is on Arapaho National Forest land and leased to CDOT by the US Forest Service. There is a USFS fee station after the SH 103 intersection. However, the fee is only for USFS facilities; if you plan on only driving on the road, you can get a free pass at the station. If you are going to use USFS facilities (such as at Summit Lake), then the fees are:

  • 1-12 people in vehicle: $10
  • 13-40 people in vehicle: $25
  • 41+ in vehicle: $40
  • Motorcyclist/Bicyclist/Hiker: $3

Photo Gallery:

  • Watch That First Step, It's a Doozy. And don't let go of the steering wheel. (August 2004)
  • Switchback. One of SH 5's tight switchbacks as it climbs up the south face of Mount Evans. This one is near Milepost 12. (August 2004)
  • Mount Evans Summit. Looking northeast from the summit of Mount Evans. 130' below is the parking area, Crest House and University of Denver observatory.  As you might expect, being at one of the highest points in North America lends itself to a good view.  (August 2004)

The road up Mount Evans was originally part of SH 103. In 1954 the Mount Evans road was briefly taken off the state highway system and SH 103 rerouted east to Squaw Pass. The next year, 1955, the Mount Evans road was put back on the state highway system as SH 5.

State maps show that it was paved in its entirety by 1960, but Jim Adolphson recalls it not being paved yet from Summit Lake to the top in the early 1970s. There is also a USGS quad from 1974 which appears to show it not yet paved from Summit Lake up, so the year SH 5 was entirely paved is unknown.

A controversy regarding the U.S. Forest Service fee station blew up in spring 2007. From the late 1990s to the 2006 season, the USFS had been charging every vehicle that passed through the fee station the $10+ fee. CDOT said they only just discovered this in late 2006. CDOT was under the understanding that when the fee program began the fee was only for users of USFS facilities and that the USFS was not supposed to be charging people for simply driving on the road. CDOT was not happy when they learned that everyone was being charged. Rather than wait for the USFS to figure out how to handle the situation, CDOT promised that before the road opened for the 2007 season signs would be installed near the fee station informing motorists that no fee was required for simply driving on the road. (Note: As of June 2007 I don't know whether the signs were installed or not.)


Location: Western Slope > Central Mountains > South Front Range > Arkansas Valley
Alignment: Grand Junction to Kansas via current US 50

Original 1920s highway. Went from Utah east to Kansas via Grand Junction, Montrose, Caņon City, Pueblo and La Junta. By 1936 it was paved from Utah to Montrose and Caņon City to Kansas. By 1938 it was paved in its entirety except for Monarch Pass, which was paved by 1946. US 50 took over all of SH 6's route in 1926. Eliminated in the 1968 purge.


Location: Central Western Slope > Central Mountains > Metro Denver > Northeastern Plains
Length*: 235.78mi signed; 467.28mi implied
W End: Utah border on unmarked overlap with I-70 west of Fruita
E End: Nebraska border east of Holyoke (link to Chris Geelhart's site)
Nationally: W End: Jct US 395 in Bishop, California; E End: Tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts (3205mi)

Counties: Mesa, Garfield, Eagle, Summit, Clear Creek, Jefferson, Denver, Adams, Weld, Morgan, Washington, Logan, Phillips
Places: Fruita, Grand Junction, Palisade, De Beque, Parachute, Rifle, Silt, New Castle, Gypsum, Eagle, Edwards, Avon, Silverthorne, Dillon, Loveland Pass, Clear Creek Canyon, Golden, Lakewood, Denver, Commerce City, Wiggins, Hillrose, Merino, Sterling, Fleming, Haxtun, Paoli, Holyoke

See my separate US 6 page for the rest of the info.

Related Sites:


Location: North Mountains > North Front Range > North Metro Denver
Length*: 76.98mi total; 57.77mi marked
NW End: Jct US 36 at N. St. Vrain and S. St. Vrain avenues in Estes Park
SE End: Jct US 85 in Brighton

Counties: Larimer, Boulder, Adams, Broomfield, Weld
Places: Estes Park, Allenspark, Lyons, Boulder, Lafayette, Broomfield, Thornton, Brighton

Expressway/NHS: While concurrent with US 287 on the west side of Lafayette.

Business Route: Allenspark/Ferncliff

Broken Route: Unmarked overlap with US 36 for 19.21mi* from Lyons to Arapahoe Ave in Boulder.

Milepost Guide:

  • 0.00: US 36, Estes Park (begin SH 7 in Larimer County)
  • 9.74: Enter Boulder County
  • 14.91: BR SH 7, Allenspark
  • 16.08: BR SH 7 east of Ferncliff
  • 19.24: SH 72 north of Raymond
  • 33.08: US 36, Lyons (end SH 7)
  • 52.29: US 36/28th St., Boulder (begin SH 7 in Boulder County)
  • 53.45: SH 157/Foothills Pkwy., Boulder
  • 59.29: SH 42 north of Louisville
  • 60.68: North jct US 287, Lafayette
  • 61.87: South jct US 287, Lafayette
  • 64.38: Begin Boulder/Weld County split
  • 64.85: Begin Weld/Broomfield County split
  • 65.44: End Weld/Broomfield split, Enter Broomfield County
  • 68.38: I-25 Exit 229 interchange east of Lafayette
  • 68.57: Enter Adams County
  • 76.98: US 85 interchange, Brighton

Annual Average Daily Traffic (2008):

  • 10,900 at US 36, Estes Park
  • 3300 south of Mary's Lake Rd.
  • 1600 between the two BR SH 7 intersections, Allenspark/Ferncliff
  • 1300 east of SH 72
  • 3600 at US 36, Lyons
  • 27,700 on Arapahoe Ave. east of US 36/28th St.
  • 31,200 east of SH 157/Foothills Pkwy.
  • 16,700 east of 63rd St.
  • 15,200 west of US 287, Lafayette
  • 27,300 on US 287/SH 7
  • 18,200 east of US 287
  • 16,800 east of 119th Street
  • 22,400 east of I-25, Broomfield/Thornton
  • 14,600 east of York St.
  • 15,100 west of US 85, Brighton

Roadway Names:

  • Estes Park south to SH 72 is part of the Peak to Peak Highway
  • US 36 in east Boulder to US 287 in northwest Lafayette is Arapahoe Avenue (this is routinely misnamed as Arapahoe Road)
  • US 287 in west Lafayette to I-25 is Baseline Road
  • York Street to US 85 is 160th Avenue
Scenic & Historic Byways: Peak to Peak (Estes Park to SH 72)

From US 36, SH 7 heads south as South Saint Vrain Avenue through south Estes Park. After leaving town it goes south through the foothills to Allenspark and Ferncliff. At Raymond, 7 hits SH 72's north end and curves east via South St. Vrain Creek to Lyons. The section from Raymond to Lyons is through a narrow, curvy canyon with a maximum speed possible of about 40mph. SH 7 comes northeast into Lyons on 5th Ave, and at Broadway meets US 36. When SH 7 hits US 36 it disappears, but continues as an unmarked overlap south on US 36.

In Boulder, SH 7 appears again at the intersection of Arapahoe Avenue and US 36/28th St. SH 7 goes east along Arapahoe Ave through the east side of Boulder, has a massive stoplight intersection at SH 157 (Foothills Parkway), and then heads east out of town. Arapahoe Avenue east of Boulder is very busy, serving the suburbia in the area. Next stop is Lafayette, where SH 7 meets US 287 on the northwest corner of town, turning south along US 287 for 1.2mi. SH 7 then goes east on Baseline Road through downtown Lafayette and on toward I-25, forming at times the north boundary of Broomfield and the boundary between Weld and Adams counties.

SH 7 meets I-25 at the Exit 229 diamond interchange, on the northern fringe of Thornton. East of the interchange SH 7 diagonals south, then heads due east one mile south of the county line along 160th Ave. This section includes a 60mph speed limit and a railroad underpass. It follows 160th all the way into Brighton, where it becomes Bridge Street. On the west edge of downtown there is a diamond interchange with US 85 featuring twin roundabouts at the bottom of the ramps on SH 7. SH 7 ends there, while Bridge Street continues east into downtown.

Photo Gallery:

  • Business SH 7. Northwestbound at the turnoff for Ferncliff/Allenspark. (January 1999)
  • West of Lyons. Eastbound on SH 7 southwest of Lyons as the Saint Vrain canyon begins to open up. (October 2012)
  • End SH 7 in Lyons. Sign on the signal announces the end of this section of SH 7 in Lyons. US 36 is coming from ahead and turning toward the right side of the picture onto Broadway. (October 2012)
  • Brighton Twin Roundabouts - West Side - East Side. The SH 7/US 85 interchange in Brighton features twin roundabouts on SH 7 at the bottom of the US 85 ramps. The west roundabout not only serves the ramps but also the west frontage roads, causing additional entry/exit points on it. The east roundabout barely squeezes in in between the US 85 overpass and downtown buildings. Photos by Phil Demosthenes. A point to ponder: In the east roundabout, is the van disappearing into a roundabout-induced wormhole, or is it just a consequence of stitching together multiple photos?

Today's SH 7 is mostly what the original 1920s highway looked like. SH 7 started as it does now in Estes Park, went southeast as it does now to Lyons, and then south on current US 36/unsigned SH 7 to Boulder, using Broadway south into downtown. From there, it was east to Lafayette to end at US 87. SH 7 was paved from Boulder to Lafayette by 1932 and additionally from Estes Park to Lyons by 1936. SH 7 was extended from Lafayette east through Brighton to US 6 (later I-76) by 1939, and that section was paved by 1946. By 1958 the Boulder east bypass along 28th Street to SH 7 north of town was built, and since US 36 did not exist in that area at that time it likely was marked as a second leg of SH 7. US 36 was extended up the Boulder Turnpike and commandeered SH 7's route to Lyons in 1968. The US 287 Lafayette Bypass was completed 1997, and changed the segments which was overlapped with SH 7.

In Boulder, SH 7 used to head south from US 36 along Broadway to Canyon Blvd, where it intersected SH 93 and 119. It then headed east along Canyon with SH 119 to 28th St, south with US 36 to Arapahoe Ave, then east as now. In late 2003 the section of SH 7 along Broadway was turned back to the city. When the signing was finally changed in early 2006 the SH 7 signs were removed from Broadway as well as the signs indicating the overlaps along Canyon Blvd and 28th St, so SH 7 had its end in Boulder shifted from US 36/Broadway to US 36/Arapahoe.

In Brighton, SH 7 previously continued east from US 85 through town on Bridge St, ending at I-76 east of town. There was no interchange, instead SH 7 went over an overpass and ended at the intersection with the east frontage road. Signs at the Lochbuie interchange, one mile to the northeast, included "to SH 7" signage. Bridge St west of I-76 took on more of a city street feel as Brighton grew eastward, so CDOT turned it back to Brighton in summer 2010.

SH 7 between SH 72 and Lyons suffered flooding from South Saint Vrain Creek on Sept 12-15, 2013, and was damaged or totally destroyed in numerous areas. The road underwent emergency repairs and reopened on November 26, 2013. It was the last of a dozen state highways damaged by the flooding to reopen.

Upgrade SH 7 between Boulder and US 287 to four lanes.


Location: West Metro Denver
Length*: 8.68mi
SW End: Jct US 285 south of Morrison
NE End: Jct SH 121 at Morrison Rd./Wadsworth Blvd. in Lakewood

Counties: Jefferson
Places: Morrison, Lakewood

Expressway: Five-lane undivided from SH 470 to Kipling Parkway

Roadway Names: Morrison Road from Morrison to SH 121

Milepost Guide:

  • 0.00: US 285 interchange south of Morrison (begin SH 8 in Jefferson County)
  • 2.14: SH 74, Morrison
  • 2.88: SH 470 interchange east of Morrison
  • 6.91: SH 391/Kipling Pkwy, Lakewood
  • 8.68: SH 121/Wadsworth Blvd. (end SH 8)

Annual Average Daily Traffic (2008):

  • 4100 at US 285
  • 4300 south of SH 74, Morrison
  • 15,700 east of SH 74
  • 12,400 west of SH 391/Kipling Pkwy., Lakewood
  • 6900 at SH 121/Wadsworth Blvd.

SH 8's southwest end is at a trumpet interchange with US 285 south of Morrison. SH 8 then heads north to Morrison and becomes Ceder Drive. At Bear Creek Avenue, SH 8 hits SH 74's east end, and then heads east. It goes through a SH 470 interchange (SPUI!), and heads northeast as Morrison Road. SH 8 ends at Wadsworth Blvd. (SH 121) in Lakewood.

Like SH 1, 2, and 10, today's SH 8 is what remains of one of the original 1920s cross-state highways. SH 8 started at SH 4 at the current US 24-285 intersection at Antero Junction, headed northeast on US 285 into Denver, followed its current routing, then went northeast on Morrison Road, north on Wadsworth Ave. to Jewell Ave., east to Pierce St., north to Mississippi Ave., east to Morrison Road, northeast to Alameda Ave., east to Broadway, north to Colfax Ave., then headed east out of town following US 40 all the way through Byers, Limon and Kit Carson to Kansas. By 1932 SH 8 was paved from Morrison to Aurora, by 1936 paved from Bailey all the way to Kansas, by 1939 southwest to Jefferson, and in its entirety by 1946. By 1960, SH 8 used the Valley Highway to get from Alameda Avenue to Colfax Avenue. For the US highways that have used SH 8, see US 40, US 40S, US 46, and US 285. In the purge of 1968, SH 8 was trimmed back to what it is now.


Location: Central Mountains > North Mountains
Length*: 138.92mi
S End: Jct US 50 in Parkdale
N End: Jct US 40 at 6th St./Park Ave. in Kremmling

Counties: Fremont, Park, Summit, Grand
Places: Parkdale, Guffey, Hartsel, Fairplay, Alma, Hoosier Pass, Blue River, Breckenridge, Frisco, Silverthorne, Green Mountain Reservoir, Kremmling


  • While concurrent with US 285
  • While concurrent with I-70

Freeway: While concurrent with I-70 from Exit 203 at Frisco to Exit 205 at Silverthorne.

Mountain Passes:

  • North of Guffey: Currant Creek Pass (~9460ft)
  • South of Breckenridge: Hoosier Pass (11,541ft; 8% grade on north side).

Notes: CDOT plans to widen SH 9 to four lanes between Frisco and Breckenridge, with the projects proceeding in several phases northward from Breckenridge.

Scenic & Historic Byways:

  • Gold Belt Tour (US 50 to High Park Road) America's Byways
  • Colorado River Headwaters (Trough Rd to US 40) America's Byways

Milepost Guide:

  • 0.00: US 50 (begin SH 9 in Fremont County)
  • 18.17: Enter Park County
  • 46.98: East jct US 24, Hartsel
  • 47.58: West jct US 24, Hartsel
  • 63.73: South jct US 285 south of Fairplay
  • 64.67: North jct US 285, Fairplay
  • 76.40: Enter Summit County, Hoosier Pass
  • 97.23: South jct I-70 Exit 203 interchange, Frisco
  • 101.56: North jct I-70/US 6 Exit 205 interchange, Silverthorne-Dillon
  • 127.43: Enter Grand County
  • 138.92: Jct US 40 in Kremmling (end SH 9)

Annual Average Daily Traffic (2008):

  • 1500 at US 50
  • 610 northwest of Guffey
  • 1400 north of US 24
  • 5100 northwest of US 285, Fairplay
  • 3600 north of Alma
  • 6200 north of Blue River Rd.
  • 11,300 north of Village Rd, Breckenridge
  • 17,000 north of Swan Mountain Rd.
  • 23,800 south of I-70, Frisco
  • 38,200 on I-70/SH 9
  • 32,300 north of I-70, Silverthorne
  • 6100 north of Hamilton Creek Rd
  • 2800 north of Green Mountain Reservoir
  • 3900 at US 40, Kremmling

SH 9 begins one mile east of Parkdale at US 50. It goes northwest via Currant Creek and past Guffey. North of Guffey SH 9 passes briefly through Pike National Forest, in which it summits Currant Creek Pass. It's a pass that is unmarked on most maps nor in the field, but nonetheless is a major basin divide between the Arkansas and South Platte. North of the pass SH 9 drops down into the South Park valley, and hits US 24 at the crossroads town of Hartsel, where it has a one-mile overlap westward with US 24.

SH 9 continues northwest via the flat valley of the Middle Fork of the South Platte River, through the non-town of Garo then intersects US 285 a mile south of Fairplay. SH 9 and US 285 head north together, then SH 9 breaks off and follows the South Platte northwest through Fairplay and Alma. North of Alma SH 9 begins a straight accent up Hoosier Pass, but on the decent on the north side of the pass it has numerous switchbacks. SH 9 then picks up the Blue River and heads north through the town of Blue River.

North from there SH 9 comes into Breckenridge and uses Park Avenue, allowing through traffic to bypass congested Main Street to the west. Park Avenue also skirts the east edge of Breckenridge's skiing base area. SH 9 then continues following the Blue River north to Frisco. SH 9 has its busiest rural section between Breckenridge and Frisco. In Frisco, SH 9 heads through downtown, then out northwest to I-70 at Exit 203, which has a roundabout on the north side of the interchange. It goes along I-70 north to Silverthorne/Dillon (a very well-marked overlap), exiting I-70 at Exit 205. SH 9 then goes northwest along the Blue River valley, past Green Mountain Reservoir, across something close to a desert, then and ends at 6th St. and Park Ave. in Kremmling.

Photo Gallery:

  • North of US 50. Northbound SH 9 about 3 miles north of US 50. (May 2013)
  • Currant Creek Pass North Side. The view looking down northbound SH 9 as it drops down Currant Creek Pass. On the horizon is the Mosquito Range many, many miles to the northwest near Leadville. (May 2013)
  • South of Hartsel. Northbound SH 9 as it is in the southern reaches of the South Park valley about 9 miles south of US 24. (May 2013)
  • US 24 Junction Approach. Signs on northbound SH 9 as it comes into Hartsel. (May 2013)
  • Peak View Approaching US 285. Northbound SH 9 approaching US 285 south of Fairplay. On the horizon are 14ers Mount Democrat, Mount Bross, Mount Lincoln and Quandary Peak. Photo by David Herrera. (September 2012)
  • Interstate Bike Route 76. An Interstate Bike Route 76 sign on southbound SH 9 approaching US 285 in Fairplay. Apparently this part of SH 9 is part of a long-distance bike route, but I haven't seen any other signs for the route in the area, so it's not marked very well. (November 2003)
  • US 285/SH 9 Signs. A marker assembly on southbound SH 9 approaching US 285 in Fairplay. At the intersection itself you can see a signal installation in progress. (November 2003)
  • Hoosier Pass Marker. The US Forest Service marker and CDOT distance sign at Hoosier Pass. (November 2003)
  • Hoosier Pass Summit. The view looking north on SH 9 from the summit of Hoosier Pass. (November 2003)
  • SH 9 at I-70, Silverthorne. Probably the best-marked Interstate-SH overlap in the state. Southbound on SH 9 at I-70 in Silverthorne. (June 2002)
  • SH 9 North of Silverthorne. Northbound on SH 9 at milepost 113, near Elk Run Road. (June 2003)
  • Green Mountain Reservoir. Looking north as SH 9 runs beside Green Mountain Reservoir. (June 2003)
  • Near-Desert in Summit County? Northbound SH 9 at milepost 130. Looks an awful lot like the semi-arid desert of I-80 in southern Wyoming, which is not something you would expect in Summit County. (June 2003)

SH 9 is an original 1920s highway. From Hartsel it went north through Fairplay to Breckenridge to Frisco to Kremmling. In 1939 SH 9 was extended south to US 50 at Parkdale, then continued to Royal Gorge and then northeast to Caņon City. It was paved only from Fairplay to Alma. By 1947 it was paved additionally from Hartsel to Garo.

By 1954, SH 9 had its south end chopped off so it ended at Hartsel, and went north to Kremmling. It was paved from Hartsel to Alma, Breckenridge to Silverthorne, and the Summit/Grand County Line to Kremmling. By 1955 it was extended southeast to Guffey, and was paved additionally a little was northwest of Silverthorne. By 1957 SH 9 was extended southeast from Guffey to Parkdale. By 1963 the only section not paved was from Parkdale to Hartsel.

By 1970 the only section of SH 9 not paved was near Guffey, which was paved by 1980. I-70 between Frisco and Silverthorne was completed by 1971, and SH 9 was moved off of Dillon Dam Road to I-70 the same time. In Breckenridge SH 9 was moved from congested Main Street to Park Avenue in conjunction with a reconstruction project in summer 2005.


Location: South Front Range > Arkansas Valley
Length*: 71.96mi
W End: Jct I-25/US 160 Exit 50 at Walsenburg
E End: Jct US 50 in west La Junta

Counties: Huerfano, Las Animas, Pueblo, Otero
Places: Walsenburg, Hawley, La Junta

Milepost Guide:

  • 0.00: I-25 Exit 50 interchange east of Walsenburg (begin SH 10 in Huerfano County)
  • 20.95: Enter Las Animas County
  • 28.59: Enter Pueblo County
  • 43.05: Enter Otero County
  • 62.37: West jct SH 71, Hawley
  • 62.88: East jct SH 71, Hawley
  • 71.96: US 50, La Junta (end SH 10)

Annual Average Daily Traffic (2008):

  • 680 at I-25/US 160
  • 360 east of Otero CR 11
  • 600 east of SH 71, Hawley
  • 920 at US 50, La Junta

SH 10 is an original 1920s cross-state highway. It started at the Utah border northwest of Dove Creek, and went east to Walsenburg via Yellow Jacket, Dolores, Cortez, Durango, Pagosa Springs, and Alamosa. By 1936 it was extended from Walsenburg northeast to La Junta, and was paved from Cortez to Durango and Del Norte to Fort Garland. By 1938 SH 10 used a more direct route from Utah to Cortez, and was not paved only over Wolf Creek Pass and from Walsenburg to La Junta. Wolf Creek Pass was paved by 1954, and the Walsenburg-La Junta section paved by 1960. The section west of Walsenburg was eliminated in the purge of 1968. For more on the US highways that used SH 10, see US 160 and US 450.

1 1

Location: Northern Mountains
Alignment: Wolcott to Kremmling via State Bridge

This SH 11 was an original 1920s highway along current SH 131 from Wolcott north to State Bridge, and then northeast along current Eagle CR Trough Rd./Grand CR 1 (Colorado River alignment) to end at SH 9 in Kremmling. Was deleted about 1950, with SH 131 taking over the old portion of SH 11 from Wolcott to State Bridge, while the rest was turned back. At it disappearance, no portion of SH 11 had yet been paved.


Location: Colorado Springs
Alignment: Current I-25 between the north and south Nevada Avenue interchanges

In 1960 the US 85-87 freeway through Colorado Springs was completed, and the section between the two Nevada Avenue interchanges was given the carrier route SH 11. The US 85-87 freeway north and south of the two Nevada Avenue interchanges had the carrier route SH 1. Eliminated in the purge of 1968.


Location: Julesburg (extreme Northeastern Plains)
Length*: 1.35mi
S End: Jct US 138-385 at the west Julesburg city limits
N End: Nebraska border north of Julesburg (no connection to a state highway)

Counties: Sedgwick

Annual Average Daily Traffic (2008): 530

E-mail from Andrew Field:

I took SH-11 quite a bit in the early 1990s; a friend of mine from Laramie lived in Julesburg, and he took me to his uncle's farm in Nebraska and to his grandfather's house in Julesburg. Anyway, SH-11 is neat because it actually avoids the town of Julesburg entirely. There is an old route that leaves SH-11 and goes through the town to meet U.S. 138-385 right by the RR tracks. This cut-off into Julesburg comes right after crossing the border from Nebraska -- you'd then turn left to go into Julesburg. The road ends up in "downtown" Julesburg, where you'll see a junction sign with a California-style U.S. 385 shield and a regular U.S. 138 shield side-by-side. Just east of Julesburg, there is a relatively new U.S. 385 bridge that goes over the railroad and connects to I-76. A good part of the town's economy today is based on I-76.

Routing was never a state highway before it became SH 11 about 1971. Unchanged since then, as near as I can tell.


Location: South Front Range
Length*: 70.83mi
NW End: Jct US 160 north of La Veta
SE End: Jct I-25 Exit 13 at Main Street, Trinidad

Counties: Huerfano, Las Animas
Places: La Veta, Cuchara, Cucharas Pass, Stonewall, Weston, Segundo, Trinidad

Mountain Passes: Cucharas Pass (9,941 ft; 5.9% grade north side; 5.4% grade south side)

Scenic & Historic Byways: Highway of Legends

Milepost Guide:
  • 0.00: US 160 north of Le Veta (begin SH 12 in Huerfano County)
  • 22.30: Enter Las Animas County
  • 70.49: Animas St/Nevada Ave, Trinidad (end SH 12)

Annual Average Daily Traffic (2008):

  • 1600 at US 160
  • 2800 at Ryus Ave., La Veta
  • 860 south of La Veta
  • 980 east of CR 21.6, Vigil
  • 2400 east of Segundo/Valdez
  • 3300 east of Cokedale
  • 7800 at I-25 underpass, Trinidad
After starting at US 160, SH 12 heads south through La Veta on Main Street and along the the Cucharas River. SH 12 passes through the crossroads town of Cuchara then begins climbing up to Cucharas Pass. The top of the pass and many miles southward are dominated by green, high meadows.

As it continues south, SH 12 bounces from creek valley to creek valley, passing several recreation lakes. One is Monument Lake where some maps also show a "town" of Monument Park, but all that's there is a vacation lodge.

Eventually SH 12 drops to the Purgatoire River at Stonewall. It takes an abrupt east turn through a gap in what is indeed a stone wall, and follows the Purgatoire through the Picketwire Valley all the way to Trinidad. Along the way are some coal mines and the settlements of Vigil, Weston, Segundo and Valdez.

SH 12 has a route in Trinidad that requires being a double-jointed snake to follow. Coming into town, SH 12 goes east on Robinson Ave, north on San Juan St, east on Stonewall Ave, north on Prospect St, east on University St and under I-25. It then turns south on Nevada Ave, west on Main St, then finally meets I-25 at Exit 13.

Photo Gallery:

  • Start of SH 12. The starting point of SH 12, looking southwest from US 160. Photo by David Herrera. (March 2005)
  • North Cucharas Pass Descent. Northbound SH 12 dropping down the north side of Cucharas Pass. (June 2014)
  • Cucharas Pass Southbound ViewNorthbound Signs. Two shots at the top of Cucharas Pass, which was green and filled with wildflowers at the time they were taken. For some reason CDOT called it "Cuchara" Pass on the signs. (June 2014)
  • North of North Lake. A quiet scene in a green, high meadow about four mile north of North Lake, looking south along SH 12. (June 2014)
  • North Lake Shore. Looking north along SH 12 as it hugs the western shore of North Lake. (June 2014)
  • Stonewall Approach. Westbound SH 12 as it approaches Stonewall, and its namesake stone wall. (June 2014)
    • Stone Wall. Yes, it's an actual stone wall, a slab that's been turned vertically by geologic forces and rises about 350 feet. SH 12 goes through a gap in it the same place the Middle Fork Purgatoire River does. (June 2014)
  • Coal Conveyor. This overhead conveyor west of Weston carries coal from the hillside south over the highway to the terminal. The angle of the conveyor makes it look like it's holding up the peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, many miles to the west. (June 2014)
  • West of Trinidad. The scenery looking west along SH 12, about 12 miles west of Trinidad. Photo by David Herrera. (March 2005)
  • Left Turn on San Juan Street. Westbound SH 12 takes a left turn here from Stonewall Ave onto San Juan St in Trinidad and is marked with this faded greenboard. (August 2010)
  • Nevada at Animas. This is north on Nevada Ave at Animas St in Trinidad. Turn left here to take westbound SH 12. (August 2010)
  • I-25 Exit Ramp Sign. The northbound offramp at Exit 13 has this sign on it, featuring SH 12's scenic byway. It's a little unusual to have to turn right to go west while heading north, but SH 12's funky route through Trinidad necessitates it. (June 2014)

Another remnant of the original state highway that was longer. The original 1920s SH 12 started in Stonewall at SH 111 and went east to Trinidad and northeast to La Junta. By 1939 it was paved from Weston to Trinidad, and all paved by 1946. By 1954, SH 111 was turned back so SH 12 had an end dangling at nothing at Stonewall. It was extended north to US 160, not paved over Cucharas Pass, by 1970. Cucharas Pass was paved by 1971.

SH 12's end in Trinidad was changed in August 2004 with the permanent closing of the Exit 14A University St interchange. Since SH 12 no longer had a direct interchange to I-25 at University, an extention of Nevada Ave southward to Main St was built to help traffic connect with the Exit 13 Main St interchange.

US 350 took over the Trinidad-La Junta section of SH 12 in 1927.


Location: Northwest Mountains
Length*: 128.07mi
S End: 7th Street/Airport Road south of I-70 Exit 90 in Rifle
N End: Wyoming border just south of Baggs, connecting to WY 789 (link to Andy Field's site)

Counties: Garfield, Rio Blanco, Moffat
Places: Rifle, Rio Blanco, Meeker, Hamilton, Craig

NHS: While concurrent with US 40 in Craig.

Auxiliary Route: To SH 13, a local-mainainted route through downtown Rifle

Memorial Designations: In Moffat County SH 13 is designated the Major William Adams Medal of Honor Highway. Major Adams, from Craig, was killed in Vietnam in 1971 and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Milepost Guide:

  • 0.00: 7th Street/Airport Road in Rifle (begin SH 13 in Garfield County)
  • 0.10: I-70 Exit 90 interchange south of Rifle
  • 0.54: East jct US 6/Railroad Ave., Rifle
  • 0.97: West jct US 6, Rifle
  • 4.11: SH 325 north of Rifle
  • 16.91: Enter Rio Blanco County
  • 39.01: SH 64 west of Meeker
  • 57.25: Enter Moffat County
  • 75.79: SH 317, Hamilton
  • 88.63: West jct US 40, Craig
  • 89.58: East jct US 40/4th St./Victory Way, Craig
  • 128.07: Wyoming border (end SH 13)

Annual Average Daily Traffic (2008):

  • 18,000 at I-70
  • 5500 on US 6/SH 13, Rifle
  • 14,800 north of Railroad Ave.
  • 3300 north of SH 325
  • 3300 north of CR 5, Rio Blanco
  • 5300 northeast of SH 64
  • 7800 at 10th Street, Meeker
  • 1800 north of CR 15
  • 2200 north of SH 317, Hamilton
  • 5300 south of US 40
  • On US 40/SH 13 in Craig (2 one-way streets): 8700 eastbound, 9500 westbound
  • 5300 north of US 40
  • 1600 north of CR 18S
  • 1500 north of CR 38
  • 860 at Wyoming border

SH 13 starts at the I-70 south frontage road at Exit 90, a roundabout at 7th St/Airport Rd. From the I-70 interchange, SH 13 heads north across the Colorado River to US 6 in central Rifle at the intersection of Railroad Ave. and 1st St. SH 13 turns west along US 6, then on the west side of town heads north on the Rifle bypass. North of town SH 13 follows the valley of Government Creek, going along the west side of the Grand Hogback. Near the Garfield/Rio Blanco County line, SH 13 climbs out of the Government Creek valley up Rio Blanco Divide, dropping into another valley on the other side at Rio Blanco. It then picks up Sheep Creek and follows that to Meeker, crossing the White River and intersecting SH 64 just west of town.

SH 13 follows Market St. through Meeker, then picks up Curtis Creek heading north. SH 13 then climbs up and over Nine Mile Gap, dropping into the Good Spring Creek valley for awhile. It then drifts northeast over the rolling terrain, eventually hitting US 40 on the west side of Craig. SH 13 turns east along US 40, they split onto two one-way streets, then at Yampa St. SH 13 turns north through downtown. North of Craig SH 13 follows Fortification Creek north most of the way to Wyoming. It meets the border just south of Baggs.

Photo Gallery:

  • Through Traffic Has Two Ways to SH 13. Signage on northbound SH 13 approaching US 6. Trucks are told to turn left on US 6 to use the bypass west of Rifle, while other traffic can continue straight ahead on Railroad Avenue through downtown. The route through downtown is not state-maintained. (July 2005)
  • North End of Rifle Bypass. Overhead signage on southbound SH 13 approaching downtown. In this direction all through traffic is directed onto the bypass. (July 2005)
  • Night Speed Limit. SH 13 has a 55 mph night speed limit. The limit was implemented in an effort to reduce auto-wildlife collisions. (May 2008)
  • Rio Blanco Divide Construction: Temporary SignalFoam Blocks for Fill. Just south of the Garfield/Rio Blanco County line, a CDOT project was reconstructing SH 13 at a high fill at Rio Blanco Divide. Traffic was on a one-lane temporary gravel road. (May 2008)
  • North of Rio Blanco. The view along northbound SH 13 several miles north of Rio Blanco. (May 2008)
  • SH 64 Intersection. Northbound approaching the SH 64 intersection west of Meeker. (May 2008)
  • Meeker. The view along northbound SH 13 as it travels Market Street through Meeker. (May 2008)
  • Nine Mile Gap. The view up northbound SH 13 as it climbs up Nine Mile Gap 9 miles north of Meeker. (May 2008)
  • Iles Mountain Striations. Southwest of Hamilton northbound SH 13 gets this view of geologic history in the side of Iles Mountain. (May 2008)
  • Craig Eastbound One-Way Split. Signs at the hard right turn where eastbound US 40/SH 13 splits onto its two one-way streets in Craig. (May 2008)
  • Wyoming Border. At the Wyoming border SH 13 comes into Colorado and drops down into the valley of Timberlake Creek. Up ahead you can see the "Welcome to Colorful Colorado" sign. (May 2008)

SH 13 is an original 1920s highway. By 1936 it was paved from Hamilton to Craig, and by 1947 was paved in its entirety. By 1974 SH 13 was realigned to so that southwest of Craig it hit US 40 a little west of where it used to, which was previously Ranney Street. In Rifle SH 13 was extended south from US 6 to I-70 about 1977, and SH 13 was realigned on the bypass to the west of town by 1985.


Location: North Mountains > North Front Range > Northeast Plains
Length*: 236.92mi
W End: Jct US 40 at Muddy Pass east of Steamboat Springs
E End: Jct US 6 in Sterling

Counties: Jackson, Larimer, Weld, Logan
Places: Walden, Gould, Cameron Pass, Cache la Poudre Canyon, Fort Collins, Ault, Briggsdale, Raymer, Sterling

See the separate SH 14 page for the remainder of the information.


Location: San Luis Valley
Length*: 22.89mi
NW End: Jct US 160-285 in Monte Vista
SE End: Jct US 285 at La Jara

Counties: Conejos, Rio Grande
Places: Monte Vista, Centro, Capulin, La Jara

Broken Route: Section turned back to the county: From the Conejos/Rio Grande County Line to Centro, 8.02 miles long.

Milepost Guide:

  • 0.00: US 160-285, Monte Vista (begin SH 15 in Rio Grande County)
  • 10.41: SH 370
  • 12.37: CR 12S, Rio Grande/Conejos County line (end SH 15)
  • 20.39: CR 9, Centro (begin SH 15 in Conejos County)
  • 26.56: SH 371
  • 30.91: US 285, La Jara (end SH 15)

Annual Average Daily Traffic (2008):

  • 3400 at US 160-285, Monte Vista
  • 970 south of CR 1S
  • 200 south of SH 370
  • 980 at Capulin
  • 1100 east of SH 371
  • 1300 at US 285, La Jara

SH 15 starts at the US 160-285 intersection at Broadway St. and 1st Ave. in Monte Vista, then heads due south. It goes 12.3 miles, then at the Conejos/Alamosa County Line abruptly becomes Conejos CR 6. If you continue south on CR 6 to Centro, SH 15 will appear again, and take you due east for 10.6 miles through Capulin, ending at US 285 at La Jara.

Another small piece of what's left of an original, longer highway. The 1920s SH 15 started at La Jara, went west to Capulin, north to Monte Vista, Saguache, Poncha Springs, east to Salida, and north to SH 4 at Buena Vista. By 1936 it was paved from Salida to Buena Vista. By 1946 it was rerouted west of Salida along current US 285, and was not paved from La Jara to south of Monte Vista. The gap from Centro to the county line appeared by 1954, and SH 15 was paved in its entirety by 1957. In the purge of 1968, SH 15 was scaled back to what it is now. For info on the US highways that used SH 15's routing, see US 285 and US 650.


Location: Northern Mountains > North Front Range > Eastern Plains
Alignment: Granby to Wiggins via Loveland and Greeley

Original 1920s state highway, which started at SH 2 at Granby and went east via current US 34 to Greeley. By 1936 it was paved in Rocky Mountain National Park and from the mouth of Big Thompson Canyon to Greeley. By 1938, SH 2 was realigned northeast of Denver and SH 16 was extended from Greeley to Wiggins, and it was all paved except for a section north of Granby. SH 16 was paved in its entirety by 1947, and was eliminated in the purge of 1968. See US 34 for more.


Location: Fountain (South Front Range)
Length*: 3.11mi
W End: Jct I-25 Exit 132 at Fountain
E End: Jct SH 21/Powers Blvd/Mesa Ridge Pkwy

Counties: El Paso

NHS: Entire length

Expressway: Four-lane divided

Roadway Names: Mesa Ridge Parkway

Milepost Guide:

  • 0.00: I-25 Exit 132 interchange (begin SH 16)
  • 1.00: US 85 interchange
  • 3.11: SH 21/Powers Blvd/Mesa Ridge Pkwy (end SH 16)

Annual Average Daily Traffic (2008):

  • 21,400 at I-25
  • 18,700 east of US 85

SH 16 starts at an interchange on I-25, which has SH 16 going off to the east and an entrance into Fort Carson Gate 20 going off to the west. From I-25 SH 16 goes southeast to US 85, which runs southeast from Security-Widefield to Fountain. That junction is a folded diamond interchange with SH 16 as the through route. The ramps "lay" off to the west side of the interchange, due to a railway running along the east side of US 85. SH 16 goes over US 85 and the railway, then meets the Syracuse St intersection, winds through the north side of Fountain, and eventually begins to curve to the north. At an intersection, Mesa Ridge turns east while the road continues north as Powers Blvd, and SH 16 ends, and SH 21 begins. SH 16 and SH 21 end at each other.

Photo Gallery:

  • Signs on US 85. Marker assembly on northbound US 85 at the eastbound SH 16 ramp. You can also see the overpass for SH 16 going over US 85 and the railroad. (September 2003)

Became a state highway in 1971, and went from I-25 east to US 85 via Carson Blvd., with a length of *1.15mi. By 1976, SH 16 is defined as going from I-25 southeast, ending at Quebec Street in Widefield Subdivision, with a length of *1.26mi, *0.29mi of which are "projected" (Quebec is about 0.3mi east of US 85), so for that period it had its east end at US 85-87. SH 16's interchange with US 85-87 was built in the mid-1980s. Sometime in the 1990s it was extended east to Syracuse Street for a total length of *1.31mi.

Mesa Ridge Pkwy from Syracuse east to Powers Blvd came onto the state system October 1, 2007, as part of the massive swap that brought Powers into the state system. CDOT began upgrading the I-25 diamond interchange in 2008 in anticipation of thousands of new troops being stationed at Fort Carson. The SB I-25 to EB SH 16 loop ramp opened in January 2009.


Location: San Luis Valley
Length*: 118.86mi total; 88.89mi marked
SW End: New Mexico border south of Cumbres Pass, connecting to NM 17 (link to Steve Riner's site)
NE End: Jct US 285 south of Villa Grove

Counties: Archuleta, Conejos, Alamosa, Saguache
Places: Cumbres Pass, La Manga Pass, Antonito, Alamosa, Mosca, Hooper, Moffat, Mineral Hot Springs

Broken Route: 30mi gap along US 285 from Antonito to Alamosa.

  • Southern Section
    Location: Southern Mountains > San Luis Valley
    Length*: 39.05mi
    W End: Becomes NM 17
    E End: Jct US 285 in Antonito
  • Northern Section
    Location: San Luis Valley
    Length*: 49.84mi
    S End: Jct US 160 in Alamosa
    N End: Jct US 285 south of Villa Grove

Mountain Passes:

  • Cumbres Pass (10,022ft; 6.3% grade)
  • La Manga Pass (10,230ft; 5.2% grade)
Scenic & Historic Byways: Los Caminos Antiguos (entire southern section, and Alamosa to Mosca)

Milepost Guide:

  • 0.00: New Mexico border (begin SH 17 in Archuleta County)
  • 1.21: Enter Conejos County
  • 39.05: US 285, Antonito (end SH 17)
  • 69.02: US 160, Alamosa (begin SH 17 in Alamosa County)
  • 88.19: SH 112, Enter Saguache County, Hooper
  • 118.86: US 285 (end SH 17)

Annual Average Daily Traffic (2008):

  • 500 at New Mexico border
  • 640 east of CR 250
  • 1500 west of US 285
  • 4000 north of US 160, Alamosa
  • 2400 north of CR 6S
  • 1800 north of CR 5N, Mosca
  • 1400 north of SH 112, Hooper
  • 1100 north of CR U-60, Moffat
  • 1100 at US 285

SH 17's southern section is a scenic drive through the Rio Grande National Forest. It starts at the New Mexico border northeast of Chama, climbing up Wolf Creek to Cumbres Pass. The stretch also parallels the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad narrow-gage line for some miles, which crosses SH 17 several times. From Cumbres Pass to La Manga Pass, SH 17 stays in the high-mountain valley of Cumbres Creek, and after cresting La Manga it drops down into the Conejos River valley. SH 17 follows the Conejos east to Antonito, where its southern section ends at an intersection with US 285 on the south side of town.

SH 17's northern section starts at US 160 in east Alamosa, and then takes an arrow-straight, 50-mile diagonal alignment northwest through the east side of the San Luis Valley. Along the way Mosca, Hooper and Moffat are passed through. Just north of Mineral Hot Springs (which is just a spa lodge) SH 17 ends at US 285.

Photo Gallery:

  • New Mexico Border. Northbound at the mini welcome sign as NM 17 becomes SH 17. (August 2010)
  • Southbound Cumbres Pass Descent. The view descending down Cumbres Pass toward New Mexico. (August 2010)
  • Cumbres Pass Summit: Modern MarkerHistoric MarkerView Southbound. The SH 17 summit of Cumbres Pass also features a rail crossing of the C&TSRR and a station house. The historic marker is attached to a boulder adjacent to the station house parking lot. (August 2010)
  • Open Range. Cattle on SH 17 in an open range section between La Manga and Cumbres passes. (August 2010)
  • La Manga Pass Summit: MarkerSouthbound SH 17. Two pictures at the summit of La Manga Pass. (August 2010)
  • Green Splendor of the Rio Grande National Forest. This vantage point near a switchback on the north side of La Manga Pass looks out over another level of SH 17 below, and northwest further up the Conejos River valley. (August 2010)
  • Climbing La Manga Pass, Conejos River Bridge. Westbound SH 17 at the point it leaves the Conejos River valley, crossing it on a bridge, and begins climbing up toward La Manga Pass. (August 2010)
  • Conejos River Valley. Westbound SH 17 as the valley for the Conejos River gets narrower, west of Antonito. (August 2010)
  • Leaving Alamosa. Distance sign on northbound SH 17 as it leaves Alamosa. (July 2013)
  • North of Moffat. Typical San Luis Valley scenery on northbound SH 17 just north of Moffat. (July 2013)
  • End SH 17, US 285. End sign for SH 17 as northbound is about to merge onto US 285 north of Mineral Hot Springs with a high-speed ramp. (July 2013)

The broken nature of SH 17 is indicative of the original 1920s highway. It started at Pagosa Springs, went southeast to New Mexico, reappeared east of there, went northeast through Cumbres, Antonito, Alamosa and Moffat, ending at SH 15 near Mineral Hot Springs. By 1936, SH 17 was paved from Antonito to Alamosa. US 84 took over the section from Pagosa Springs to New Mexico in 1942. The diagonal alignment through the San Luis Valley, while just about every other road is at a right angle, dates to SH 17 following the alignment of the D&RGW railroad Salida-Alamosa line.

US 285 was routed over SH 17's section from New Mexico at Cumbres to Alamosa in 1935. US 285 was moved off of the Cumbres-Antonito section of SH 17 and to its own border crossing in 1942. By 1954 the only section not paved was from New Mexico to Antonito.  By 1965 the only sections not paved where over Cumbres and La Manga Passes. In the purge of 1968, the sections concurrent with US highways were eliminated leaving only the two sections there are now. SH 17 was paved in its entirety by 1970.

For info on the US highways that have used SH 17, see US 84 and US 285.


Location: Northeastern Plains
Alignment: Went from US 138 at Ovid due west, then stairstepping southwest to Sedgwick, then due west ending at Julesburg Reservoir


Location: South Front Range > Arkansas Valley
Alignment: Current US 50 from I-25 east to Jct BR US 50 near Avondale

This SH 18 was entirely only a carrier route for the US 50 expressway from Pueblo east out to Avondale. The expressway started being built in 1958 and US 50 was run along it. This SH 18 was eliminated in the purge of 1968.


Location: Larkspur (South Front Range)
Length*: 0.29mi
E End: Jct I-25 Exit 172 north of Larkspur
W End: Jct Douglas CR north of Larkspur

Came into the state system in 1973, and went from I-25 Exit 172, west across railroad tracks, up a hill to a stop sign at Spruce Mountain Road just north of Larkspur, for a grand total of 1531 feet. It was in my view a totally worthless road to have as a state highway, and in fact was the shortest state highway of its day. It wasn't even signed on I-25, instead the exit was called Upper Lake Gulch Road.

FYI, Spruce Mountain Road also has its own interchange with I-25 (Exit 173) which is about a half mile north of the SH 18 intersection. However, Exit 173 is only a partial, and you can go only from Spruce Mountain Rd. to I-25 NB, and from I-25 SB to Spruce Mountain Rd. Seeing this, you could make a case that SH 18 gives access to the directions that aren't available with Exit 173, but it's not enough for me.

SH 18 was turned back to Douglas County sometime in the 1999-2001 period. It is not shown on the 1999 CDOT map, but is listed in the 2000 traffic database (407 cars per day!). I noticed that its lone marker, photographed below, had been replaced with a Douglas CR 56 marker in late summer 2001.

Photo Gallery:

  • All of SH 18. Here's SH 18 in all its glory. It's sad when you can fit an entire state highway in a single picture frame. This is looking east from Spruce Mountain Road. The barn in the center of the picture is on the other side of I-25. SH 18 ends at an interchange just to the lower left of the barn. This sign was the only mention of SH 18 you ever saw in the field. (July 1998)


Location: Southwestern Mountains
Alignment: New Mexico to Montrose via US 550

Original 1920s highway. After 1926, SH 19 served basically as only a carrier route for US 550. By 1946 the only section of SH 19 not paved was from the La Plata/San Juan County Line north to Ouray, and by 1954 the only sections not paved were the areas over Molas Divide and Red Mountain Pass. Red Mountain Pass was paved by 1955, and Molas Divide paved by 1957. SH 19 was eliminated in the purge of 1968.

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Last updated 8 November 2014