|Ute Pass is located in central Colorado along US Highway 24, between the city of Manitou Springs to the east |
and the town of Florissant to the west. Ute Pass skirts the north side of Pikes Peak and climbs 3,000 feet to
the summit at the town of Divide, which is 9,165 feet above sea level.
Ute Pass began as a bison trail that connected the prairie with the mountain meadows of what we now call
South Park. For years the indigenous people, now called the Ute Tribe, followed the herds up and down the
Pass. Later the trail became a wagon road and in 1888 the Colorado Midland Railway ran tracks to the mines at
Leadville, Aspen, and later Cripple Creek. With the coming of the railroad, tourism flourished. Hotels, cabins,
and small lakes were built to serve the crowds of summer guests, and expanded the local economy that had
previously been based on ranching and lumber mills. As mining in the mountains to the west declined over the
years and the railroad stopped running, tourism still continued in the mountain towns.
The railroad tracks are gone (as of the 1950's) and the wagon road is now Colorado US 24,
a major east-west corridor for the state of Colorado.