“As heard in the C.W. Mcall”
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 (7 to 8% in most places) 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 was made famous in 1975 by Country music artist C. W. McCall's humorous spoken word song of the same name, in which the pass is fondly described as "37 miles o' hell -- which is up on the Great Divide." In the song, two truckers drive an out-of-control 1948 Peterbilt down U.S. Highway 160 to Pagosa Springs -- a 5,000-foot (1,500 m) drop in elevation.
The drive along Highway 160 into the mountains from Durango is one of the most beautiful I've ever gotten to take! The mountains aren't as stunning as the Rockies, but especially when the foliage is changing in the fall I think they're way more picturesque. Be sure and stop at the scenic overlook along the way, right after the Treasure Falls pullout.
So many incredible overlooks, gorgeous views and breathtaking moments. Yes yes yes to driving Hwy 160 from Salida to Pagosa!!
Beautiful drive!! A must see if you're driving through the area. Just make sure you know how to use the different gears to slow your car down instead of riding the breaks the whole way (if you have an automatic)- I could see some of the emergency ramps for runaway trucks to use if their brakes fail had been used!!
If taking a scenic mountain drive is on the list of outdoor activities you enjoy, you absolutely must drive Wolf Creek Pass through the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado. It is a steep and stunning pass — not for the faint of heart — that takes you from South Fork to Pagosa Springs, passing through the San Juan Mountains, Wolf Creek Ski Area, and the top of the Continental Divide.
I’ve been traveling the world full time in my Jeep Wrangler for the past three years, and within that time I’ve been on the most beautiful and scenic mountain roads you could ever imagine. The San Juans always have and always will be at the top of my list for places you need to visit. Their rugged majesty just simply can’t be beat, and you’ll have to visit yourself to experience it!
Years ago the sign at the summit showed 10,850, now it shows 10,857 ft. How come? They check the altitude at a high spot, I guess
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Wolf Creek Pass (US HWY 160)
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