U.S. Route 285 in Colorado

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U.S. Route 285 marker

U.S. Route 285
Route information
Maintained by CDOT
Major junctions
South end: US 285 at the New Mexico state line

US 160 in Monte Vista
US 50 in Poncha Springs
US 24 in Johnson Village

US 85 in Sheridan
North end: I-25 / US 87 / SH 30 in Denver
Highway system
Colorado State Highways

U.S. Route 285 (US 285) is the section north-south highway in Colorado that starts at the New Mexico state line and ends at I-25, US 87, and SH 30 in Denver.

Route description[edit]

View of South Park along U.S. Highway 285 looking east toward the Front Range

Heading north from the Colorado border, US 285 passes through the main part of the San Luis Valley, eventually reaching Alamosa. As the highway heads north, it begins to ascend to the northern end of the valley and eventually climbs over Poncha Pass, elevation 9,012 feet (2,747 m), and drops sharply down the other side into the Arkansas River Valley.

The highway brushes Salida and follows the Arkansas River north up the valley, then takes a sharp eastward turn just before the small town of Buena Vista. 285 then climbs over Trout Creek Pass, elevation 9,346 feet (2,849 m), and enters the high-altitude South Park basin.

U.S. 285 entering Saguache County from the north

A few miles north, the highway passes through Fairplay and the historic South Park City site, then reaches its highest elevation: 10,051 feet (3,064 m), at the summit of Red Hill Pass. US 285 then leaves the South Park basin and climbs over Kenosha Pass, elevation 10,001 feet (3,048 m), and skirts the south side of the Mount Evans massif as it descends its way through the foothills range towards Denver.

As the highway leaves the Rocky Mountains and reaches Denver's southwest suburbs, it becomes Hampden Avenue, an important artery in the Denver metro area, then reaches its northern terminus at I-25.

On March 14, 2008 both houses of the Colorado legislature, in a unanimous vote, named the section between Kenosha Pass and C-470 the Ralph Carr Memorial Highway.[1][2]


The short segment between US 50 at Salida and US 24 at Buena Vista closely parallels the original U.S. Route 650,[3] which was designated in 1926, but eliminated in 1936 when US 285 was commissioned along its present extent from Sanderson to Denver, mostly replacing state-numbered highways.

Between Bailey and Como, US 285 mostly follows the route of the Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad, part of the original narrow gauge transcontinental railroad.

Junction list[edit]

County Location mi km Destinations Notes
Conejos 0.0 0.0 US 285 south Continuation into New Mexico
Antonito 5.2 8.4 SH 17 – Paisaje, Mogote South end of SH 17 concurrency
Romeo SH 142 – Manassa, San Acacio
La Jara SH 136 – Sanford
SH 15 – Capulin, Monte Vista
Alamosa Estrella SH 368
Henry SH 370 – Waverly
Alamosa US 160 / SH 17 – Blanca, Fort Garland, Hooper, Moffat North end of SH 17 concurrency; south end of US 160 concurrency
Rio Grande Monte Vista US 160 / SH 15 – Del Norte, Gerrard, South Fork, Capulin, La Jara South end of US 160 concurrency
Saguache Center SH 112 – Del Norte, Hooper
Saguache SH 114 – Parlin
Villa Grove SH 17 – Moffat, Hooper
Chaffee Poncha Springs US 50 – Salida, Cleora, Wellsville, Howard South end of US 50 concurrency
US 50 – Maysville, Monarch, Sargents, Parlin North end of US 50 concurrency
SH 291 – Salida
Johnson Village US 24 – Buena Vista South end of US 24 concurrency
Park US 24 – Hartsel North end of US 24 concurrency
Fairplay SH 9 – Garo, Hartsel South end of SH 9 concurrency
SH 9 – Alma Junction, Blue River North end of SH 9 concurrency
No major junctions for miles; highway travels between Pike National Forest and Mount Evans
Jefferson Pine Junction Area South Elk Creek Road Interchange
Pleasant Park Corridor Kennedy Gulch Road / South Foxton Road Interchange
Kitty Drive / Pleasant Park Road Interchange
Aspen Park Main Street / Light Lane Interchange
Conifer Road / Meyer Parkway Interchange
Morrison South Turkey Creek Road Interchange
Homestead North Turkey Creek Road Interchange
SH 8 – Morrison Interchange; south end of freeway
SH 470 – Morrison, Lone Tree
Lakewood South Simms Street
South Kipling Street
SH 121 (South Wadsworth Boulevard)
City and County of Denver SH 95 (South Sheridan Boulevard) Interchange; north end of freeway
Arapahoe Sheridan SH 88 (South Federal Boulevard) Interchange
US 85 (South Santa Fe Drive) Interchange
Englewood South Broadway Street Interchange
SH 177 – Cherry Hills Village, Greenwood Village, Southglenn
City and County of Denver SH 2 – Commerce City
I-25 / US 87 / SH 30 – Santa Fe Eastern terminus of US 285
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Colorado renames highway to honor Gov. Ralph Carr - Asiaxpress.com - News". Asiaxpress.com. 2008-03-17. Retrieved 2013-11-22. 
  3. ^ Sanderson, Dale. "End of US highway 650". US Ends .com. Retrieved 21 October 2014. 
U.S. Route 285
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