One of Colorado’s most-coveted backcountry destinations, Berthoud Pass has plenty of room to roam and diverse terrain to suit all abilities, though much of the terrain is classified as advanced to expert.
Most of the backcountry terrain that is accessible from the top of the pass, elevation 11,307 feet, is the former site of the Berthoud Pass Ski Area, which opened in 1937 and closed in 2001. All lifts were removed in 2003; a warming hut with bathrooms remains next to the parking area.
Ski descents on Berthoud Pass average about 500 to 1,000 vertical feet, making it easy to make multiple laps. Many ski routes drop directly down to the road where skiers and riders either have a shuttle waiting or hitch a ride back to the top for the next lap.
Some of the most-recommended routes include Powder Line (east-side/intermediate), Floral Park (east-side/advanced), Pauly’s Powder Stash (east-side/expert), Nitro Chute (west-side/expert) and Outlaw (west-side/advanced).
Due to its close proximity to Denver and Boulder, Berthoud Pass can get a bit crowded on weekends. Make sure to get there extra early and/or plan to ski midweek.
Berthoud Pass is 55 miles from downtown Denver via Interstate 70; from I-70, go North on US-40, or from Winter Park drive 18 miles to the top of the pass.
MORE BACKCOUNTRY ADVENTURES:
- Mt. Baker, Washington
- Berthoud Pass, Central Colorado
- Tenmile Range/Summit County, North-central Colorado
- Mt. Lassen, California
- Wasatch Range, Utah
- Glacier National Park, Montana
- Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho
- Teton Pass, Wyoming
- Mount Greylock, Western Massachusetts
- Bolton Valley Backcountry, Northern Vermont
- Cardigan Ski Reservation, Western New Hampshire