Boreas Pass

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Boreas Pass
Boreas Pass summer 2005.jpg
Boreas Pass in summer
Elevation 11,481 ft (3,499 m)  NAVD 88 [1]
Traversed byBoreas Pass Road (unpaved)
Location Park / Summit counties, Colorado, U.S.
Range Front Range
Coordinates 39°24′37″N105°58′05″W / 39.41028°N 105.96806°W / 39.41028; -105.96806 Coordinates: 39°24′37″N105°58′05″W / 39.41028°N 105.96806°W / 39.41028; -105.96806 [1]
Topo map USGS Boreas Pass
USA Colorado location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Boreas Pass

Boreas Pass (elevation 11,481 ft (3,499 m)) is a high mountain pass in central Colorado, in the Rocky Mountains of the western United States. The pass is located on the continental divide, at the crest of the Front Range along the border between Park (south) and Summit counties.

Mountain pass Route through a mountain range or over a ridge

A mountain pass is a navigable route through a mountain range or over a ridge. Since many of the world's mountain ranges have presented formidable barriers to travel, passes have played a key role in trade, war, and both human and animal migration throughout Earth's history. At lower elevations it may be called a hill pass. The highest vehicle-accessible pass in the world appears to be Mana Pass, located in the Himalayas on the border between India and Tibet, China.

Colorado State of the United States of America

Colorado is a state of the Western United States encompassing most of the southern Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains. It is the 8th most extensive and 21st most populous U.S. state. The estimated population of Colorado was 5,695,564 on July 1, 2018, an increase of 13.25% since the 2010 United States Census.

Rocky Mountains Mountain range in North America

The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than 4,800 kilometers (3,000 mi) from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico in the Southwestern United States. Located within the North American Cordillera, the Rockies are somewhat distinct from the Pacific Coast Ranges, Cascade Range, and the Sierra Nevada, which all lie farther to the west.


The pass crosses the range where it divides the headwaters of the Blue River (a tributary of the Colorado River) to the north with South Park and the headwaters of the South Platte River to the south. It is traversed by Forest Service Road 33, a gravel road that is closed in winter but passable by two-wheel drive automobiles in good weather. In winter, the road is used by cross-country skiers. The road over the pass goes north from the town of Como in the northern South Park northeast of Fairplay, crossing the path northward to Breckenridge. In good weather, it furnishes an alternative route to nearby Hoosier Pass, offering splendid views of aspen trees and nearby Mount Silverheels and the Tenmile Range. The round trip up to the top from Breckenridge is popular with bicyclists. [2]

Blue River (Colorado) tributary of the Colorado River in Colorado, USA

The Blue River is a tributary of the Colorado River, approximately 65 miles (105 km) long, in the U.S. state of Colorado.

South Park (Park County, Colorado) high intermontane grassland basin in the Rocky Mountains of central Colorado

South Park is a grassland flat within the basin formed by the Rocky Mountains' Mosquito and Park Mountain Ranges within central Colorado. This high valley ranges in elevation from approximately 9,000 to 10,000 ft. It encompasses approximately 1,000 square miles around the headwaters of the South Platte River in Park County approximately 60 mi (100 km) southwest of Denver. It is the largest and southernmost of three similarly named high altitude basins in the Front Range of Colorado, the others being North Park and Middle Park. The largest town in the basin is Fairplay, with a population of 681.

South Platte River principal tributary of the Platte River

The South Platte River is one of the two principal tributaries of the Platte River. Flowing through the U.S. states of Colorado and Nebraska, it is itself a major river of the American Midwest and the American Southwest/Mountain West. Its drainage basin includes much of the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado; much of the populated region known as the Colorado Front Range and Eastern Plains; and a portion of southeastern Wyoming in the vicinity of the city of Cheyenne. It joins the North Platte River in western Nebraska to form the Platte, which then flows across Nebraska to the Missouri. The river serves as the principal source of water for eastern Colorado. In its valley along the foothills in Colorado, it has permitted agriculture in an area of the Colorado Piedmont and Great Plains that is otherwise arid.

Cross-country skiers traveling the old Boreas Pass railroad grade pass the restored Bakers water tank Baker-tank.jpg
Cross-country skiers traveling the old Boreas Pass railroad grade pass the restored Bakers water tank

The pass was formerly known as Breckenridge Pass in the 1860s, when it served as an early route for thousands of prospectors during the Colorado Gold Rush who crossed from South Park to look for gold in the valley of the Blue around Breckenridge. In 1866, it was widened to a wagon road that accommodated stagecoaches. In 1882, under the direction of Sidney Dillon of the Union Pacific Railroad, the Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad (by then controlled by the Union Pacific) begun laying narrow gauge tracks up the pass, which Dillon renamed in honor of Boreas, the Ancient Greek god of the North Wind. The line was a spur to Breckenridge (eventually extended to Leadville) off the company's main line from Denver through South Park. A roundhouse, still in existence, was constructed at Como at the junction of the lines. The rail line over the pass was a major engineering feat, primarily because of the winter snows at high altitude. When completed, it had dozens of snow sheds along its route, which approached a 4% grade in many places. A town of Boreas, now a ghost town, was constructed at the summit, primarily to house workers to clear the line in winter. The line was abandoned in 1937 by the Colorado & Southern, along with most of the company's narrow gauge right-of-way. After World War II, the Army Corps of Engineers reconstructed the route for automobile traffic. On the north side of the pass, Forest Service Road 593 leads to the 1880s ghost town site of Dyersville, as well as many abandoned mining sites.

Gold Chemical element with atomic number 79

Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and atomic number 79, making it one of the higher atomic number elements that occur naturally. In its purest form, it is a bright, slightly reddish yellow, dense, soft, malleable, and ductile metal. Chemically, gold is a transition metal and a group 11 element. It is one of the least reactive chemical elements and is solid under standard conditions. Gold often occurs in free elemental (native) form, as nuggets or grains, in rocks, in veins, and in alluvial deposits. It occurs in a solid solution series with the native element silver and also naturally alloyed with copper and palladium. Less commonly, it occurs in minerals as gold compounds, often with tellurium.

Stagecoach type of covered wagon

A stagecoach is a four-wheeled public coach used to carry paying passengers and light packages on journeys long enough to need a change of horses. It is strongly sprung and generally drawn by four horses.

Sidney Dillon American businessman

Sidney Dillon was an American railroad executive and one the nation's premier railroad builders.

The Boreas Pass Ditch was completed in 1910 to divert water over the pass from the headwaters of Indiana Creek, a tributary of the Blue River into North Tarryall Creek, a tributary of the South Platte River. The 0.8 mile (1.3 km) ditch has a capacity of 16 cubic feet per second (0.45m3/s), and in an average year, it transports about 140 acre-feet (170,000m3) of water. The ditch was originally built to irrigate land in South Park, but it currently serves the city of Englewood, which rehabilitated the ditch In 1990.

Tarryall Creek

Tarryall Creek is a tributary of the South Platte River, approximately 68.5 miles (110.2 km) long, in Park County in central Colorado in the United States. It drains a rural portion of north and central South Park, an intermontane grassland in the Rocky Mountains southwest of Denver. It rises in the high Rockies in several forks along the Continental Divide in the Pike National Forest southwest of Boreas Pass. It descends to the southwest through a short canyon, emerging into South Park near Como, Colorado. It crosses U.S. Highway 285 east of Red Hill Pass northeast of Fairplay, the county seat of Park County, then meanders towards the southeast, joining the South Platte from the east in the southeastern corner of South Park.

Irrigation artificial application of water to the land

Irrigation is the application of controlled amounts of water to plants at needed intervals. Irrigation helps to grow agricultural crops, maintain landscapes, and revegetate disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of less than average rainfall. Irrigation also has other uses in crop production, including frost protection, suppressing weed growth in grain fields and preventing soil consolidation. In contrast, agriculture that relies only on direct rainfall is referred to as rain-fed or dry land farming.

Englewood, Colorado Home Rule Municipality in Colorado, United States

The City of Englewood is a Home Rule Municipality located in Arapahoe County, Colorado, United States. As of 2010, the population was 30,255. Englewood is part of the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area. Englewood is located in the South Platte River Valley east of the Front Range and immediately south of central Denver. Downtown is located immediately east of the confluence of Little Dry Creek and the South Platte River, between Santa Fe Drive and Broadway.

The Boreas Railroad Station Site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Boreas Railroad Station Site

The Boreas Railroad Station Site is a 19 acres (7.7 ha) site in Pike National Forest near Como, Colorado which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. The listed area spans the border of Park and Summit counties.

National Register of Historic Places federal list of historic sites in the United States

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred in preserving the property.

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Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad

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The Greeley, Salt Lake and Pacific Railway was a railroad that operated in northern Colorado in the United States during the 1880s. Founded with heavy backing with the Union Pacific Railroad, it was controlled by the Union Pacific from its inception, but was incorporated into the new Colorado and Southern Railway in 1898, becoming part of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad in 1908.

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Colorado and Southern Railway company

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  1. 1 2 "Boreas Pass". NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey . Retrieved 2011-02-28.
  2. Retrieved 2011-06-13.