Elevations on Buffalo Pass range from 8,272 feet in elevation to 10,804 feet on Soda Mountain and 10, 379 feet on Buffalo Mountain. For reference, the elevation of Mt. Werner which is at the top of the Steamboat Ski Area is 10,568 feet (3224 meters). All of the terrain on Buffalo Pass is below “tree line” which in Colorado is around 11 – 12,000 feet.
Named for the bison that remained on the Pass after they had been exterminated elsewhere, Buffalo Pass was a common route for the early settlers to the area before the road over Rabbit Ears Pass was built. The Buffalo Pass Road was originally built in 1894, south of a historic Ute trail that also went over the Pass. The Continental Divide here on Buffalo Pass is at one of it’s lowest elevations here in Colorado.
Glaciers played a big part in how the landscape of Steamboat Springs and Buffalo Pass now look. Glaciers were at their peak in our region about 125,000 years ago during the Pleistocene era. Two specific glaciers running down what are now Fish Creek and Soda Creek carved out vast canyons that border Buffalo Pass. Learn more about our local glacier history here.