|Willow Creek Pass|
South side of Willow Creek Pass
|Elevation||9,659 ft (2,944 m)|
|Traversed by||State Highway 125|
|Location||Grand / Jackson counties, Colorado, United States|
|Range||Rabbit Ears Range|
|Topo map||USGS Radial Mountain|
Willow Creek Pass, elevation 9,659 ft (2,944 m), is a mountain pass that crosses the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains of north central Colorado.
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.
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.
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.
The pass encompasses the continental divide in the Rabbit Ears Range along the border between Jackson County (to the north) and Grand County (to the south). North of the pass, the Illinois River descends into North Park in the basin of the North Platte River. South of the pass, Willow Creek, for which the pass is named, descends southward to join the Colorado River near the town of Granby in Middle Park.
A continental divide is a drainage divide on a continent such that the drainage basin on one side of the divide feeds into one ocean or sea, and the basin on the other side either feeds into a different ocean or sea, or else is endorheic, not connected to the open sea. Every continent on earth except Antarctica which has no free-flowing water has at least one continental drainage divide; islands, even small ones like Killiniq Island on the Labrador Sea in Canada, may also host part of a continental divide or have their own island-spanning divide.
The Rabbit Ears Range is a mountain range of the Rocky Mountains in north central Colorado in the United States. The range stretches east-west along the continental divide forming the border between Grand and Jackson Counties, separating Middle Park (south) from North Park (north). The range connects the Front Range on the east with the Park Range and the Gore Range on the west. It is traversable at Willow Creek Pass. Muddy Pass separates the Rabbit Ears range to the east from the Park Range to the north. Rabbit Ears Pass, and Rabbit Ears Peak, despite their names, are not in the Rabbit Ears Range, but actually reside in the Park Range to the south.
Jackson County is a county in the state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,394, and it was the fourth least-densely populated in the state. The county seat and only municipality in the county is Walden.
The pass is not an especially high one along the continental divide in Colorado, since the mountains separating North Park and Middle Park are relative low compared to nearby ranges. The approach from either side is mild and the pass is rarely closed in winter. The vicinity of the pass is sparsely populated, with no major communities in the vicinity. The pass is traversed by State Highway 125. The nearest commercial facilities are in the unincorporated community of Rand in Jackson County just north of the pass.
State Highway 125 (SH 125) is a state highway in the U.S. state of Colorado. The highway runs north–south through Jackson and Grand counties in north central Colorado. It furnishes the principal north–south link through North Park and a connection to Middle Park over Willow Creek Pass. It is two-lane along its entire route. SH 125's southern terminus is at U.S. Route 40 west of Granby, and the northern terminus is at Wyoming Highway 230 at the Wyoming border.
Rand is an unincorporated community, with a U.S. Post Office, established in 1881 in Jackson County, Colorado. It is a ranching community at the southern end of North Park south of Walden consisting of several homes and businesses, a post office, and ranching facilities. Rand is near the junction of State Highway 125 and Jackson County Road 27 along Indian Creek, at an elevation of 8627 feet. The Rand post office has the ZIP code 80473. Some say the community was named after Charles Rand, a pioneer, while others believe it has the name of J. A. Rand, another pioneer. The post office in Rand was established in 1883.
The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail is a United States National Scenic Trail running 3,100 miles (5,000 km) between Mexico and Canada. It follows the Continental Divide of the Americas along the Rocky Mountains and traverses five U.S. states — Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. In Montana it crosses Triple Divide Pass The trail is a combination of dedicated trails and small roads and considered 70% complete. Portions designated as uncompleted must be traveled by roadwalking on dirt or paved roads. This trail can be continued north into Canada to Kakwa Lake north of Jasper National Park by the Great Divide Trail.
The North Platte River is a major tributary of the Platte River and is approximately 716 miles (1,152 km) long, counting its many curves. In a straight line, it travels about 550 miles (890 km), along its course through the U.S. states of Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska.
Middle Park is a high basin in the Rocky Mountains of north-central Colorado in the United States. It is located in Grand County, on the southwest slope of Rocky Mountain National Park, approximately 50 miles (80 km) west of Boulder.
Clear Creek is a tributary of the South Platte River, approximately 66 miles (106 km) long, in north central Colorado in the United States. The creek flows through Clear Creek Canyon in the Rocky Mountains directly west of Denver, descending through a long gorge to emerge on the Colorado Eastern Plains where it joins the South Platte. Clear Creek is unusual in that it is a stream named "creek" fed by a stream named "river". Fall River empties into Clear Creek along I-70 west of Idaho Springs, Colorado.
North Park is a high, sparsely populated basin in the Rocky Mountains in north central Colorado in the United States. It encompasses a wide valley in Jackson County rimmed by mountain ranges at the headwaters of the North Platte River and several smaller tributaries, including the Michigan River, Illinois River, and Canadian River. The valley receives its name from being the northernmost of the three large mountain valleys in Colorado on the western side of the Front Range. The others are Middle Park and South Park respectively.
Muddy Pass is a high mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of northern Colorado in the United States.
Rabbit Ears Pass is a high mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of northern Colorado in the United States. The summit has the shape of rabbit ears, which displays two large columns of basalt rock formations from the second volcanic episode. Rabbit Ears Peak is underlain by a pink tuff and the basalt immediately to the west is underlain by red, vesicular ash. Volcanic breccia occurs only at the Peak, which is a large stratified breccia pile. The three basal layers are cut by a basalt dike immediately beneath the peak. From petrographic evidence there appears to have been one period of lava flows and this surface can be seen at Rabbit Ears Peak.
St. Vrain Creek is a tributary of the South Platte River, approximately 32.2 miles (51.8 km) long, in north central Colorado in the United States. It drains part of the foothills north of Boulder and the Colorado Piedmont area in the vicinity of Longmont.
The North Fork South Platte River is a tributary of the South Platte River, approximately 50 miles (80 km) long, in central Colorado in the United States. The river is located near the headwaters of the South Platte in the Rocky Mountains southwest of Denver, draining a rugged area of the Front Range just south of the basin of Clear Creek.
The Park Range, elevation approximately 12,000 feet (3,700 m), is a mountain range in the Rocky Mountains of northwestern Colorado in the United States. The range forms a relatively isolated part of the Continental Divide, extending north-to-south for approximately 40 miles (64 km) along the boundary between Jackson (east) and Routt counties. It separates North Park in the upper basin of the North Platte River on the east from the Elk River basin in the watershed of the Yampa River the west. It rises steeply out of the Yampa River basin, forming a climatic barrier that receives much snowfall in winter. The northern end of the range lies in Wyoming and is known as the Sierra Madre Range.
The Middle Fork South Platte River is a tributary of the South Platte River, approximately 50 miles (80 km) long, located in central Colorado in the United States. The river provides part of the drainage of South Park, the intermontane grassland basin located between the Front Range and the Mosquito Range in the Rocky Mountains southwest of Denver.
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.
The Collegiate Peaks Wilderness is a 168,000-acre (680 km2) area located in central Colorado between Leadville and Buena Vista to the east and Aspen to the west and Crested Butte to the southwest. Most of the area is in the San Isabel and Gunnison National Forests, with a smaller area in the White River National Forest southeast of Aspen. Most of the area is in northwest Chaffee County with smaller portions in Gunnison, Pitkin, and Lake counties.
Spring Creek Pass, elevation 10,889 ft (3,319 m), is a mountain pass on the Continental Divide in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. The pass is traversed by State Highway 149 and the Colorado Trail. Somewhat unusually for a pass on the Continental Divide, it is not the highest point on the highway in the vicinity; heading north from the pass, the road climbs over the considerably higher Slumgullion Summit before descending toward Lake City.
Boulder Creek is a 31.4-mile-long (50.5 km) creek draining the Rocky Mountains to the west of Boulder, Colorado, as well as the city itself and surrounding plains.
Eldorado Mountain is a mountain summit on the eastern flank of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 8,344-foot (2,543 m) peak is located 8.1 miles (13.1 km) south by west of downtown Boulder, Colorado, United States. The mountain is largely in Boulder County but it straddles the border and its southern flanks are located in Jefferson County. Its name was probably borrowed from the nearby community of Eldorado Springs.
Deer Creek Trail lies along the Continental Divide of the Americas, part of the Rocky Mountains in the U.S. state of Colorado. It is located in the White River National Forest, Summit County. Deer Creek Trail is south of Colorado Highway 6, east of Keystone Resort and near Montezuma.
Parkview Mountain is the highest summit of the Rabbit Ears Range in the Rocky Mountains of North America. The mountain is on the Continental Divide in Routt National Forest about 3 miles (4.8 km) southwest of Willow Creek Pass.
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