As both residents and visitors know, Colorado is a place of unspeakable natural beauty. Road trips through our state can produce picturesque vistas around every turn. The roads themselves, however, have the potential to cause fatal accidents.
Even the most experienced driver needs to take extra care on trips on Colorado’s highways, roads and mountain passes, as many of them are considered some of the most dangerous roads in America. With strips of asphalt hugging mountain cliffsides, thousand foot drops just feet from the road and the unknown around every bend, it’s no wonder many people “white knuckle” their way along these stretches road.
Amazing views, hazardous roads
Below are what many believe to be the six most dangerous stretches of roads in this state:
- Pikes Peak Highway – This road includes more than 156 twists and turns and altitudes above 14,000 feet.
- Loveland Pass – This stretch of Highway 6 offers a scenic alternative to Eisenhower Tunnels and tops just over 11,000 feet. It is dangerous year-round, but can be particularly treacherous in the winter months.
- Independence Pass – The danger of this road is increased by several blind corners and a lack of safety guardrails.
- Road to Mt. Evans – This road is the highest paved road in North America, with its peak at an elevation of 14,130 feet.
- Trail Ridge Road – As this road takes travelers through the Rocky Mountain National Park, it tops off at more than 12,000 feet. Watch out for wildlife that may jump unexpectedly onto the road.
- Million Dollar Highway – Often referred to as one of the most dangerous roads in America, this narrow stretch of Highway 550 has the potential for falling rocks and avalanches.
Mountain driving safety tips
If you chose to brave the mountain roads to take in the beautiful scenery, be sure to follow safety tips for mountain driving:
- Make sure your car is in good condition, including brake and transmission fluid levels, tire inflation and treads, windshield wipers, defroster and heater, and exhaust systems.
- Check local weather and road conditions for any hazards that may affect your drive.
- Avoid altitude sickness by drinking fluids throughout the day.
- Take frequent breaks to compensate for the extra attention needed with mountain driving.
- Be sure you know how to best drive your vehicle up and down the mountains, as well as how to best interact with other vehicles.
Despite the hazards of mountain driving, it can be an enjoyable journey for everyone. Just remember to stay safe, drive smart and enjoy the view.