Ohio Pass  
USGS 7.5' Map: Mount Axtell
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Easy 1 FR730, 730.1B 5.00 8,800 to 10,074 ft. NA 1 hour
County: Gunnison
Adopted by:      
Managed by: Gunnison National Forest, Gunnison Ranger District 216 N Colorado, Gunnison, CO 81230 970-641-0471
Summary: Ohio Pass is an easy 4WD road that crosses between Mount Axtell and Ohio Peak in the Anthracite Range. It separates Anthracite Creek on the north from Ohio Creek on the south.
Attractions: Senery, History, Historic Railroad Lines
Agency - February 28 to May 26
Best Time: June - Best
July - Best
August - Best
September - Best
October - Good
Trail Heads
Motorcycle Trail FT436
Swampy Pass Trail FT439 (hiking and horseback)
Camping: There are a few dispersed camp sites on both sides of the pass toward the lower elevations.
Base Camp: This would be good place to base camp, north side. There are many roads and trail to explore around Crested Butte.
Fall Colors: Very Good - The majority of Ohio Pass runs through a large aspen grove. There are larger trees on the south side of the pass.
Navigation: Route 1 - From Crested Butte, CO. head west on Whiterock Ave toward 5th Street for 0.5 miles. Continue straight onto County Rd 12 and go 6.7 miles. Turn left onto County Rd/Forest Service Rd 730, the Ohio Pass road

Route 2 - From Gunnison, CO. head north on North Main Street continuing on Colorado-135 N/North Main Street for 3.4 miles. Turn left onto County Rd 730 and go 16.8 miles to the Gunnison National Forest boundary. Continue on FR730, the Ohio Pass road.

Route 2 - From Paonia, CO. head west on 3rd Street toward North Fork Ave and go 0.3 miles. Turn right onto Grand Ave. and go 0.8 miles. Turn right onto Colorado-133 N and go 14.7 miles. Turn right onto County Rd 12 and go 13.4 miles. Turn right to stay on County Rd 12 and go 10.9 miles. Turn right onto County Rd/Forest Service Rd 730, the Ohio Pass road.
History: At the north end of Ohio pass is the ghost town of Floresta, now private property. In 1879 W. Van Osern filed a claim on the lands where Floresta would eventually be located. This area had coal seams which attracted the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad which built a line to the site in 1893. A large coal breaker, or mill, was constructed in 1898 to process the Floresta Mine's high-grade anthracite coal.
Floresta coal breaker

photo by:

Mules were used to haul the coal from the mine to the tramway for the breaker. In 1918 the mine shut down and the town of Floresta became a ghost town until purchased by an individual.

At the top of Ohio Pass, to the east, on the cliff face is the palisade built for the Denver and South Park Railroad. Though the grade was built the tracks were never laid byond Baldwin to the south.

South of Ohio Pass was Baldwin which started in 1881 when gold was discovered. The original town was located on the other side of the hill and called Mount Carbon. The name changed to Baldwin in 1887 and became a company town of the Citizens Coal and Coke Company which opened a coal mine near the town. Though the mine produced over 2 million tons of coal it was known for its labor disputes. The town became mostly deserted by 1903. The old cabins can still be seen from the road. This is private property, please do not trespass.

South of Baldwin was Castleton, a supply center for the coal mines along Ohio Creek. It started in the 1880's and grew rapidly. By 1883 the Denver and South Park Railroad had arrived. In 1920 the Gunnison A-1 Oil Company found oil near Castleton but there were not enough reserves to justify further development. Today Castleton is marked by a series of ranch buildings and is private property.
From the north side, Ohio Pass, FR 730, begins just east of Kebler Pass. The road is a wide graded gravel road as you head into a shallow valley just below the highway. You will make a slight turn to the south and head into the pines leaving the open meadow. You will pass a right turn with a sign for the old town of Floresta, which is now private property.

The road will continue southeast leaving the pines for an open valley and aspen trees. In a non-descript section of the road you will cross the top of the pass. There is no sign to mark the apex of the pass. The road will begin to descend along the flank of Mount Axtell as you approach a sharp ninety degree turn. The road will continue down toward Ohio Creek where it will cross the creek and head south through the aspen trees. You will come out into an open valley just north of the Swamp Pass trail head. There is a Forest Service maintained pit toilet at the parking area. In less than a mile you will leave public lands and enter a wide valley with private homes dotting the country side. The road will change to County Road 730 and head southeast to Highway 135.
Data updated - January 20, 2015      4WD Road driven - September 2, 2012      Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2015