CDOT implements safety closure tonight on US 550 Red Mountain Pass

News Release

February 22, 2022 - Southwestern Colorado

Red Mtn Maintenance 1CDOT PHOTO: CDOT crews successfully mitigated several snow slide paths on US 550 Red Mountain Pass today. Above, a bulldozer clears snow at the Blue Point snow slide just north of the pass summit. This triggered slide brought down more than 8 ft. of snow at the highway’s centerline, along a 200 ft. stretch of roadway. Operations also took place on the Mother Cline and East Riverside slide paths.

SOUTHWEST COLORADO — US Highway 550 Red Mountain Pass will close at nightfall, approximately 6 p.m. The Colorado Department of Transportation is implementing the safety closure due to adverse weather and treacherous road conditions. Forecasts for additional heavy accumulations of snow, high winds, blowing snow, and low visibility will create hazardous travel conditions. There is no estimated time of reopening the pass.

US 550 currently remains open, south from Silverton to Durango, but travelers should be aware that Coal Bank and Molas passes may require safety closures as well, if the conditions deteriorate.

This morning, and into the afternoon, crews performed avalanche mitigation on the north side of Red Mountain triggering several slide paths from the pass summit to Ouray. CDOT warns the traveling public that additional avalanche mitigation operations are likely for Red Mountain and other passes in southwest Colorado over the next few days. Travelers are urged to visit for road closure information.

Red Mtn Maintenance 2

Red Mtn Maintenance 3

CAIC PHOTOS: On the left, a snow cloud is created when the triggered avalanche hits the highway. On the right, a CDOT operator bulldozes through several feet of snow brought down from the triggered avalanche. This slide area is known as Mother Cline, on US 550 Red Mountain Pass just south of Ouray.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center has issued a High Avalanche Watch for the entire San Juan Mountains, as well as other mountain ranges across western and central Colorado. Visit CAIC,, for more information.

Travel Impacts

  • Southbound traffic will be stopped just south of Ouray at mile point 92
  • Northbound traffic will be stopped just north of Silverton at MP 71
  • There is no estimated time of opening the highway
  • 550 currently remains open south from Silverton, but travelers should be aware that Coal Bank and Molas passes may require safety closures if needed
  • Travelers are advised to use the alternate north-south route of CO Highway 145 via Telluride, until further notice

Know Before You Go

Travelers are urged to “know before you go.” Gather information about weather forecasts, anticipated travel impacts, and current road conditions prior to hitting the road. CDOT resources include: