U.S. Route 285 in Colorado

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.

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
CountiesConejos, Alamosa, Rio Grande, Saguache, Chaffee, Park, Jefferson, Arapahoe, Denver
Highway system
Colorado State Highways
I-270US 287

Route descriptionEdit

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.

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 listEdit

All exits are unnumbered.

Conejos0.0000.000  US 285 south – Santa Fe, Tres PiedrasContinuation into New Mexico
Antonito5.2008.369  SH 17 west – ChamaSouth 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 west – Capulin, Monte Vista
AlamosaEstrella26.82943.177  SH 368 west
31.25750.303  SH 370 west – Waverly
Alamosa34.10254.882   US 160 east / SH 17 (Sixth Street east) – Fort Garland6th St. is a one-way street, outbound access only; north end of SH 17 concurrency; south end of US 160 concurrency
34.17554.999   US 160 / SH 17 (Main Street)Main St. is a one-way street, inbound access only; no southbound access to Main St.
Rio GrandeMonte Vista51.15982.332   US 160 west (First Avenue west) / SH 15 south (Broadway south) – Del NorteNorth end of US 160 concurrency
Rio GrandeSaguache
county line
62.904101.234  SH 112 – Del Norte, Hooper
SaguacheSaguache86.290138.870  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
224.537361.357   CR 43 north (Deer Creek Road) / CR 72 south – Deer Creek, Id-Ra-Ha-JeInterchange
Jefferson231.000371.758Elk Creek Road – Shaffers CrossingInterchange
Conifer235.316378.704Foxton Road / Kennedy Gulch RoadInterchange
235.945379.717  CR 73 / Pleasant Park Road – EvergreenRight-in/right-out interchange; CR 73 is former SH 73
Main StreetInterchange; northbound exit only
Aspen Park236.659380.866Light Lane
Conifer Town Center Parkway
Northbound signage; right-in/right-out interchange
Southbound signage; interchange
237.062381.514Main Street / Conifer Road
Barkley Road
Northbound signage; right-in/right-out interchange
Southbound signage; right-in/right-out interchange
237.794382.692Meyer Parkway / Conifer Road – Aspen ParkRight-in/right-out interchange
238.877384.435South Turkey Creek RoadInterchange
244.121392.875North Turkey Creek Road – TinytownInterchange
Indian Hills246.167396.167Parmalee Gulch RoadPartial interchange
248.443399.830   SH 8 east to SH 74 – Morrison, EvergreenSouth end of freeway, western terminus of SH-8
250.082402.468    SH 470 to I-25 / I-70Cloverleaf interchange; split into separate east (to I-25) and west (to I-70) exits; SH 470 exits 5A-B
Lakewood252.052405.638Simms Street
253.512407.988  SH 391 north (Kipling Street)Southern terminus of SH 391
255.034410.437  SH 121 (Wadsworth Boulevard)
City and County of Denver256.547412.872  SH 95 north (Sheridan Boulevard)North end of freeway, southern terminus of SH-95
ArapahoeSheridan258.063415.312  SH 88 (Federal Boulevard)Interchange
258.41415.87Bryant StreetRight-in/right-out interchange; northbound entrance and exit only
259.326417.345  US 85 (Santa Fe Drive)Interchange; split into separate north and south exits southbound
Englewood260.167418.698BroadwayInterchange; former SH 75
261.716421.191  SH 177 south (University Boulevard)Northern Terminus of SH 177
county line
EnglewoodDenver line262.688422.755  SH 2 north (Colorado Boulevard)Southern Terminus of SH-2
City and County of Denver263.874424.664   I-25 (US 87) / SH 30 (Hampden Avenue east)Northern terminus of US 285; I-25 exit 201; highway continues east as SH 30 (Hampden Ave.)
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. March 17, 2008. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
  3. ^ Sanderson, Dale. "End of US highway 650". US Ends .com. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
  4. ^ "Highway Data". OTIS - Online Transportation Information System. Colorado DOT. Archived from the original on September 10, 2012. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
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