Marshall Pass via Poncha Creek

Scenic drive with options to camp and fish in lakes and streams.

Total Miles


3321.13 ft


3 to 4 Hours

Technical Rating



Best Time




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Trail Overview

Poncha Creek to Marshall Pass provides beautiful scenery, especially in the fall when the aspens change colors. There are options for camping and fishing. Unlicensed vehicles are not allowed on county roads, so must stage at the parking areas near Shirley Townsite or Marshall Pass. This road is closed March 1 to May 1.


Easy. Marshall Pass can be reached from either side via well-graded, 2-wheel-drive roads F.S. 243 and F.S. 200. The route shown here bypasses 200 and takes you up the east side along parallel Poncha Creek Road, F.S. 203. This 4-wheel-drive road is less traveled with fewer motorists. Suitable for any SUV with low range gearing and high clearance.


In the 1920s, the town of Shirley was a transfer point for silver, zinc, lead and copper ores that arrived via aerial tram from the Rawley Mine in Bonanza, located over the mountains to the south (see Trail #49). From Shirley, the ore was loaded onto railcars of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad and hauled over Marshall Pass to smelters in Leadville. The main road over Marshall Pass follows the old railroad grade. Shirley died in 1930 when the Rawley Mine shut down.

Technical Rating


Access Description

Take Hwy. 285 south from Poncha Springs about 5 miles. Turn right on well-marked C.R. 200 and follow signs to Marshall Pass.