U.S. Route 85 in Colorado

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U.S. Highway 85 marker

U.S. Highway 85
CanAm Highway
Route information
Maintained by CDOT
Length309.6 mi[1] (498.3 km)
Major junctions
South end I-25 / US 85 / US 87 at the New Mexico state line
North end US 85 at the Wyoming state line
CountiesLas Animas, Huerfano, Pueblo, El Paso, Douglas, Arapahoe, Denver, Adams, Weld
Highway system
Colorado State Highways
US 84SH 86

U.S. Route 85 (US 85) is a part of the U.S. Highway System that travels from the Mexican border in El Paso, Texas, north to the Canadian border in Fortuna, North Dakota. In the U.S. state of Colorado, US 85 begins at the New Mexico state line south of Starkville and ends at the Wyoming state line south of Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Route description[edit]

US 85 looking north entering Ault
US 85 looking north entering Gilcrest

US 85 enters Colorado from New Mexico concurrent with Interstate 25 (I-25) but is not signed. US 85 leaves I-25 at exit 128 and follows Santa Fe Avenue through Fountain before turning west briefly onto Lake Avenue, then turning north following Nevada Avenue through Colorado Springs before rejoining I-25 at exit 148. Approaching the south side of Denver, US 85 again leaves I-25 at exit 184. From there it heads west and north as a two-lane rural highway. It becomes an expressway near Chatfield Lake and the southern Denver suburbs of Littleton and Englewood, where it is commonly known as Santa Fe Drive. It continues north through Denver for a few miles before once again joining with I-25 at mile marker 207. There it runs concurrently with US 87 as well as I-25 and heads north through downtown Denver. At exit 214, US 85 turns east and runs concurrently with I-70 and US 6 for about a mile where it exits with US 6 and heads northeast through Commerce City. In just a few miles the US 6/US 85 concurrency merges with I-76 at mile marker 9. They travel concurrently for three miles (4.8 km) until exit 12 when US 85 becomes an expressway and continues north out of the Denver area through Brighton.

US 85 looking north at the exit ramp for SH 7 (Bridge Street) in Brighton

From there it parallels I-25 for about 75 miles (121 km) passing through Fort Lupton, Platteville, Evans, Greeley, and Eaton before crossing into Wyoming.[2]


US 85 originally followed the route that I-25 would later take.[3] In southern Colorado, US 85 originally was placed on city streets in Pueblo and Trinidad until 1938 where the route was ultimately paved from one state to another, taking place at the present I-25 corridor.


Starting in 1942, a realignment project took place in northeastern Denver, involving the opening of Vasquez Blvd. Originally, US 85 ran along Brighton Blvd. from downtown going northeast and then was realigned along 46th Ave. to Vasquez Blvd. Five years later, in Pueblo, the route took the downtown streets before the Greenhorn/Crow bypass opened two years later. In 1950, the Palmer Lake/Larkspur bypass opened, moving US 85 along with US 87 along the expressway. The expressway opened north of Pueblo in 1951, which allowed both US 85 and US 87 to use the expressway coming out of downtown until 1954.

Junction list[edit]

New Mexico state line0.00.0 I-25 south / US 85 south / US 87 southContinuation into New Mexico
See I-25
El PasoFountain128.0206.0 I-25 / US 87 – Colorado SpringsNorthern end of I-25/US 87 concurrency; I-25 exit 128
131.7212.0 SH 16 to I-25Interchange
Stratmoor135.4217.9 Academy Boulevard – Colorado Springs AirportInterchange
Colorado Springs139.8225.0 SH 115 – Cañon CityInterchange
141.0226.9 I-25 / US 24 / US 87 – Limon, DenverI-25 exit 140
148.0238.2 I-25 / US 87 – PuebloSouthern end of I-25/US 87 concurrency; I-25 exit 148
See I-25
DouglasCastle Rock184.7297.2 I-25 / US 87 – DenverNorthern end of I-25/US 87 concurrency; I-25 exit 184
Castle RockCastle Pines line186.3299.8Castlegate Drive North / North Meadows DriveInterchange
Sedalia190.4306.4 SH 67 – Woodland Park
196.4316.1Titan ParkwayInterchange
county line
Highlands Ranch200.5322.7 SH 470 – Centennial, Ken CarylC-470 exit 17; interchange.
ArapahoeLittleton204.0328.3 To SH 75 – Ken Caryl
LittletonEnglewood line204.8329.6 SH 88 – DenverInterchange
Englewood206.9333.0 US 285 – Johnson Village, Poncha SpringsInterchange
City and County of Denver208.7335.9Evans AvenueInterchange
211.0339.6 I-25 / US 6 / US 87 / Santa Fe Drive – Colorado SpringsSouthern end of I-25/US 6/US 87 concurrency; I-25 exit 270B
See I-25
216.8348.9 I-25 / I-70 / US 87 – Loveland, Grand JunctionNorthern end of I-25/US 87 concurrency; southern end of I-70 concurrency; I-25 exit 214A; I-70 exit 274
See I-70
218.9352.3 I-70 – AuroraNorthern end of I-70 concurrency; I-70 exit 276A
219.1352.6 US 6Southern end of US 6 concurrency
See US 6
AdamsDerby223.9360.3 I-76 – ArvadaSouthern end of I-76 concurrency; I-76 exit 9
See I-76
228.1367.1 I-76 / US 6 – BrightonNorthern end of I-76/US 6 concurrency; I-76 exit 12
228.3367.4 SH 44 – Thornton
Henderson231.3372.2 SH 22
231.7372.9 E-470 – CentennialInterchange; E-470 exit 38
Brighton235.7379.3 SH 7 to SH 2 – Commerce City, BoulderInterchange
WeldFort Lupton241.6388.8 SH 52 – HudsonInterchange
US 85 Bus. – Platteville
Platteville250.5403.1 SH 66 – Longmont
US 85 Bus.
253.8408.5 SH 60 – Milliken
US 34 / US 85 Bus. – Loveland
Southern end of US 34 concurrency
266.0428.1 US 34 – Fort MorganNorthern end of US 34 concurrency
US 34 Bus.
268.2431.6 SH 263Access to Greeley-Weld County Airport
270.2434.86th AvenueInterchange; northbound exit and southbound entrance
US 85 Bus.
Interchange; southbound exit and northbound entrance
Lucerne272.5438.5 SH 392 – Windsor
Ault279.8450.3 SH 14 – Fort Collins
Wyoming state line309.6498.3 US 85 north – CheyenneContinuation into Wyoming
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ a b Google (September 19, 2017). "John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway, Trinidad, CO 81082 to 68947 Canam Hwy, Colorado 80537" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  2. ^ "U.S. Highway 85". AA Roads. Retrieved October 11, 2017.[self-published source?]
  3. ^ "Colorado State Roads and Highways" (PDF). Colorado Historical Society. p. 9. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
U.S. Route 85
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