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Gates Pass

Coordinates: 32°13′20″N 111°06′03″W / 32.2222985°N 111.10093°W / 32.2222985; -111.10093
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Gates Pass
Saguaro at Gates Pass
Elevation3,169 ft (966 m)[1]
Traversed byGates Pass Road
Location Arizona
 United States
RangeTucson Mountains
Coordinates32°13′20″N 111°06′03″W / 32.2222985°N 111.10093°W / 32.2222985; -111.10093
Topo mapUSGS Cat Mountain
Gates Pass is located in Arizona
Gates Pass
The pass is located in Pima County
Looking down toward Tucson from Gates Pass, 1940. Car is a 1938 Ford.

Gates Pass is a mountain pass along the crest of the Tucson Mountains. The road through the pass is a scenic route west of Tucson, Arizona. The road from the east is West Anklam Road which merges with West Speedway Boulevard in the city just east of North Camino De Oeste. West of the pass the road is known as Saguaro Road and continues until it reaches Kinney Road just north of Old Tucson.[2][3] The elevation of the pass is 3,172 feet (967 m).[2]

The road is lined with scenic overlooks, and is an area where locals and tourists come to watch the sunset.[4]


The road through Gates Pass was started in 1883 by Thomas Gates, in a search for a shortcut through the Tucson Mountains; Gates was a local pioneer, and a saloon and ranch keeper.[5] He purchased the land in order to build this road.

Currently, the road carries approximately 3100 cars daily.[6]

Gates Pass was featured in David Leighton's popular series, "Street Smarts," in the Arizona Daily Star on Jan. 1, 2013.


Gates Pass has been considered an extremely dangerous road due to a slope that occurs midway through the route, with 58 wrecks reported between 1996 and 2001.[6] In 2006, a project was undertaken to improve the safety of the road, which included widening and a temporary closure. This project was named the third best road project in the country for the year 2006 in Roads and Bridges Magazine.[7]


  1. ^ "Gates Pass". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved July 22, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Cat Mountain, Arizona, 7.5 Minute Topographic Quadrangle, USGS, 1996
  3. ^ Brown Mountain, Arizona, 7.5 Minute Topographic Quadrangle, USGS, 1996
  4. ^ Tucson – New York Times
  5. ^ http://www.cactuslovers.com/arizona24.jpg [bare URL image file]
  6. ^ a b "Gates Pass Set to Open Today - Technology - redOrbit". Archived from the original on 2011-08-10. Retrieved 2008-04-02.
  7. ^ "PSOMAS ENGINEERING – Trusted Expertise". Archived from the original on 2011-07-15. Retrieved 2008-04-01.

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