U.S. Route 285 in Colorado

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U.S. Highway 285 marker

U.S. Highway 285
Map of Colorado with US 285 highlighted in red
Route information
Auxiliary route of US 85
Maintained by CDOT
Major junctions
South end US 285 at the New Mexico state line
 
North end I-25 / US 87 / SH 30 in Denver
Location
CountiesConejos, Alamosa, Rio Grande, Saguache, Chaffee, Park, Jefferson, Arapahoe, Denver
Highway system
Colorado State Highways
I-270US 287

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
San Antonio Mountain in New Mexico, as seen from the Colorado side of the NM-CO state line on US 285.

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]

History[edit]

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]

CountyLocationmi[4]kmDestinationsNotes
Conejos0.00.0 US 285 southContinuation into New Mexico
Antonito5.28.4 SH 17 south – Paisaje, MogoteSouth end of SH 17 concurrency
Romeo12.70720.450 SH 142 east – Manassa, San Acacio
La Jara19.81731.892 SH 136 east – Sanford
20.41832.860 SH 15 north – Capulin, Monte Vista
AlamosaEstrella26.82943.177 SH 368 west
Henry31.25750.303 SH 370 west – Waverly
Alamosa34.10254.882 US 160 east / SH 17 north – Blanca, Fort Garland, Hooper, MoffatNorth end of SH 17 concurrency; south end of US 160 concurrency
Rio GrandeMonte Vista51.15982.332 US 160 west / SH 15 south – Del Norte, Gerrard, South Fork, Capulin, La JaraSouth end of US 160 concurrency
SaguacheCenter62.904101.234 SH 112 – Del Norte, Hooper
Saguache86.290138.870 SH 114 west – Parlin
Villa Grove100.518161.768 SH 17 south – Moffat, Hooper
ChaffeePoncha Springs126.480203.550 US 50 east – Salida, Cleora, Wellsville, HowardSouth end of US 50 concurrency
126.853204.150 US 50 west – Maysville, Monarch, Sargents, ParlinNorth end of US 50 concurrency
133.883215.464 SH 291 east – Salida
Johnson Village148.065238.288 US 24 west – Buena VistaSouth end of US 24 concurrency
Park161.789260.374 US 24 east – HartselNorth end of US 24 concurrency
Fairplay181.971292.854 SH 9 south – Garo, HartselSouth end of SH 9 concurrency
182.989294.492 SH 9 north – Alma Junction, Blue RiverNorth end of SH 9 concurrency
No major junctions for miles; highway travels between Pike National Forest and Mount Evans
JeffersonPine Junction Area231.000371.758South Elk Creek Road (Shaffers Crossing)Interchange
Pleasant Park Corridor235.316378.704Kennedy Gulch Road / South Foxton RoadInterchange
235.945379.717Kitty Drive / Pleasant Park RoadInterchange
Aspen Park237.062381.514Main Street / Light LaneInterchange
237.794382.692Conifer Road / Meyer ParkwayInterchange
Morrison238.877384.435South Turkey Creek RoadInterchange
Homestead244.121392.875North Turkey Creek RoadInterchange
248.443399.830 SH 8 north – MorrisonInterchange; south end of freeway
250.082402.468 SH 470 – Morrison, Lone TreeC-470 Exits 5A & 5B
Lakewood252.052405.638South Simms Street
253.512407.988 SH 391 north (South Kipling Street)
255.034410.437 SH 121 (South Wadsworth Boulevard)
City and County of Denver256.547412.872 SH 95 north (South Sheridan Boulevard)Interchange; north end of freeway
ArapahoeSheridan258.063415.312 SH 88 (South Federal Boulevard)Interchange
259.326417.345 US 85 (South Santa Fe Drive)Interchange
Englewood260.167418.698South BroadwayInterchange
261.716421.191 SH 177 – Cherry Hills Village, Greenwood Village, Southglenn
ArapahoeDenver
county line
EnglewoodDenver line262.688422.755 SH 2 north – Commerce City
City and County of Denver262.688422.755 I-25 / US 87 / SH 30 – Santa FeEastern terminus of US 285
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

References[edit]

  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.
  4. ^ "Highway Data". OTIS - Online Transportation Information System. Colorado DOT. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
U.S. Route 285
Previous state:
New Mexico
Colorado Next state:
Terminus