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U.S. Highway 285 - Colorado

Starting in Texas, U.S. 285 passes through New Mexico before entering the Centennial State. U.S. 285 only serves the southern half of Colorado, as it ends at its junction with Interstate 25 in Denver (Exit 201). This page profiles U.S. 285 as it passes through the mountains, foothills, and high plains that the highway traverses on its way to Denver.

U.S. 285 North
U.S. 285 passes by a few gas stations before leaving the town of Fairplay, which is perhaps best known for being the model for television's "South Park." This view is immediately after the Colorado 9 intersection. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Views of northbound U.S. 285 as it passes over Red Hill Pass (elevation 9,986 feet) northeast of Fairplay. Photos taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 approaching Junction Park County Route 7, which leads south along Trout Creek. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 approaching Park County Route 33, the turnoff for Como. The road passes through town of Como, then heads northwest over Boreas Pass (elevation 11,482 feet) in the Pike National Forest. Photo taken 11/10/03.
The next major intersection after Como along U.S. 285 north is Park County Route 77 in Jefferson, which leads southeast toward Tarryhall Reservoir and Indian Gulch. Photo taken 11/10/03.
The heights of Mount Blaine (elevation 12,306 feet) and Twin Cones Peaks (elevation 12,319 feet for the north peak and 12,323 feet for the south peak) are today obscured by a snow squall, but U.S. 285 will avoid this storm by taking Kenosha Pass around the mountains. Nevertheless, Kenosha Pass ascends to a hardy 10,001 feet, thus making that mountain pass suspectible to winter weather as well. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 approaching Park County Route 56, which follows the foothills of the Kenosha Mountains to the southeast, en route to the Lost Creek Wilderness in Pike National Forest. Photo taken 11/10/03.

Views of northbound U.S. 285 as it passes over Kenosha Pass (elevation 10,001 feet) northeast of Jefferson and southwest of Webster. Photos taken 11/10/03.
After crossing the pass, northbound U.S. 285 approaches Park County Route 62, which heads north to Guanella Pass, elevation 11,669 feet, passes into Summit County, and reaches U.S. 6 and Interstate 70 in Georgetown (Exit 228). Photo taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 approaching Park County Route 64. Note the use of a suicide lane here, where the middle lane may be legally used by traffic in either direction to pass. Photo taken 11/10/03.
North U.S. 285 shield after the Park County Route 64 intersection. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 approaching Park County Routes 43 and 72. Photo taken 11/10/03.
This U.S. 285 is the older standard of three-digit U.S. route shield, which used to be prevalent throughout the state. Today, this shield (without directional banner) is becoming a bit less commonplace. Photo taken 11/10/03.
View of northbound U.S. 285 as the highway approaches Bailey, which practically straddles the Park-Jefferson County Line. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 exiting Park County and entering Jefferson County. Note how the clouds have cleared as the road has lost elevation and left the snow squalls behind. The tall mountains of the Front Range act as a sponge, collecting moisture and largely preventing it from falling as rain or snow on the metropolitan areas in the "rainshadow" effect. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Upon entering Jefferson County, U.S. 285 north almost immediately encounters the unique and very small Jefferson County shield. This picture shows northbound U.S. 285 at its junction with Jefferson County Route 126. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Welcome to Jefferson County sign along northbound U.S. 285 after its junction with Jefferson County Route 126. Photo taken 11/10/03.
View of U.S. 285 as it passes by a rock cut in the distance. U.S. 285 retains four lanes throughout its journey through Jefferson County. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Views of U.S. 285 north as it passes through scenic Jefferson County. Photos taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 entering Conifer. Photo taken 11/10/03.
The font on the signs on this stretch of U.S. 285 in Conifer are too small to read. U.S. 285 assumes a pseudo-freeway format here. The upcoming turn off leads to Aspen Park. Photo taken 11/10/03.
This north U.S. 285 is located in Conifer; note the use of series E font rather than Series C, which had been the standard for three digit U.S. highway shields for years. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 at ... what does it say? Oh yeah, now we can read it if we squint, Meyer Parkway and Conifer Road. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Tiny font for Tinytown, located off U.S. 285 via North Turkey Creek Road northeast of Conifer. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Views of U.S. 285 north as it begins to lose elevation in Jefferson County east of Conifer. Photos taken 11/10/03.
View of the massive retaining wall just prior to the eastern exit to Turkey Creek Road. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 approaching the eastern junction with North Turkey Creek Road to Tinytown at Milepost 244. Only four more miles to the U.S. 285 freeway section. Photo taken 11/10/03.
View of the U.S. 285 between the second and third Turkey Creek Road intersections. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 approaching South Turkey Creek Road. Photo taken 11/10/03.
For the next four miles, from here until just after the freeway begins, U.S. 285 follows a windy path toward the flat expanse of the Denver metropolitan area. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 approaching Indian Hills/Parmalee Gulch Road, a left exit. Photo taken 11/10/03.
View of northbound U.S. 285 as it becomes a freeway, with its first exit just ahead: Colorado 8 to Morrison. Photo taken 11/10/03.
As is customary in Colorado, U.S. 285 is not signed with exit numbers. However, we have identified each exit by the closest milepost. The first exit on the freeway stretch of U.S. 285 southwest of Denver is Exit 248, Junction Colorado 8/Morrison Road, 0.75 mile. Photo taken 11/10/03.
View of northbound U.S. 285 as it passes through the last of the foothills before reaching the high plains of the Denver metropolitan area. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Colorado 8 leads north Red Rock Park, which is internationally known as a music concert venue. Many performing artists have recorded their concerts in this natural amphitheater. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 at Exit 248, Junction Colorado 8. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 at the exit to Colorado 8. Colorado 8 heads north into Morrison, meets Colorado 74/Evergreen Parkway, then turns east into Lakewood. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 approaching Exit 249A-B, Junction Colorado 470. Colorado 470 is the southwestern corner of the 270-degree beltway around the metropolitan area. At this intersection, U.S. 285 north is actually heading due east, and Colorado 470 west is actually heading due north. Photo taken 11/10/03.
The first exit from northbound leads to eastbound Colorado 470 en route to U.S. 85, Interstate 25/U.S. 87, Colorado 83, and Denver International Airport. Photo taken 11/10/03.
The second exit leads to westbound Colorado 470 en route to Interstate 70, U.S. 6, U.S. 40, and Golden. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Now reaching the Denver beltway, U.S. 285 has "officially" left the country and is entering the city. Exit 249A is for eastbound Colorado 470, which is the best route to Interstate 25, Interstate 70 east to Limon and Kansas, and Denver International Airport. The latter two destinations include a connection via the E-470 toll road. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 at Exit 249B, Junction Colorado 470 west to Golden and Interstate 70. Note that both the guide sign and shield have the state name included. Photo taken 11/10/03.
The next exit along northbound is Exit 250, Simms Road, one mile. Simms Road leads south toward Chatfield Reservoir, parallel to Colorado 470. Photo taken 11/10/03.
This U.S. 285 shield is located just beyond the top of the hill seen in the previous picture. Photo taken 11/10/03.
View of the exit ramp and overpass for Simms Road as seen from northbound U.S. 285. The skyline of Denver looms large in the distance, as U.S. 285 is actually traveling northeast at this point. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Colorado 391 follows Kipling Street north through Lakewood past the Denver Federal Facility before ending at Interstate 70 Exit 267 in Wheat Ridge at a group of motels. Photo taken 11/10/03.
The next U.S. 285 shield is much larger than the last one seen prior to the Simms Street exit. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 at Exit 252, Junction Colorado 391, Kipling Street. This interchange marks the southern terminus of Colorado 391. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 approaching Exit 253, Junction Colorado 121/Wadsworth Boulevard, 0.75 mile. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Colorado 121 leads south from U.S. 285 (which is now essentially heading due east again) past Marston Lake to Chatfield State Park and Waterton; it also leads north into Lakewood, Wheat Ridge, Arvada, Westminster, and Broomfield. Photo taken 11/10/03.
The next exit along northbound U.S. 285 is Exit 256, Junction Colorado 95/Sheridan Boulevard. Colorado 95 leads north along the Denver-Lakewood city limits into Arvada and Westminster before ending at U.S. 36. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Mileage sign along northbound U.S. 285 fir the next three exits: Junction Colorado 95/Sheridan Boulevard; Lowell Boulevard/Knox Court; and Junction Colorado 88/Federal Boulevard. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 at Exit 256, Junction Colorado 95/Sheridan Boulevard. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 approaching Exit 257A, Lowell Boulevard/Knox Court, 0.75 mile. Photo taken 11/10/03.
The next guide sign presents the mileage to the next three "exits": Lowell Boulevard/Knox Court, Junction Colorado 88/Federal Boulevard, and Brady Court. Two of these three exits are not interchanges but rather intersections with traffic signals. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Signage along northbound U.S. 285 approaching Lowell Boulevard/Knox Court and Junction Colorado 88/Federal Boulevard. Photo taken 11/10/03.
And the continuous freeway ends with this traffic signal at Raleigh Street. The exit for Lowell Boulevard and Knox Court is just ahead but not photographed. Lowell Boulevard extends both north and south, while Knox Court leads north. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 at Exit 257B, Junction Colorado 88, Federal Boulevard. Don't be fooled, the freeway does not resume here ... traffic signals loom ahead. Photo taken 11/10/03.
The next traffic light is for Brady Court, which leads north into a neighborhood of Sheridan. Photo taken 11/10/03.
After the traffic signal at Brady Court, U.S. 285 north approaches U.S. 85. Photo taken 11/10/03.
The freeway for northbound U.S. 285 resumes as it approaches Exit 258, Junction U.S. 85/Santa Fe Drive. U.S. 85 leads north as a semi-freeway (complete with HOV lanes) en route to downtown and south through Englewood to Littleton and Castle Rock. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 at Exit 258, Junction U.S. 85/Santa Fe Drive. Photo taken 11/10/03.
After the U.S. 85 interchange, U.S. 285 enters Englewood and passes through a good deal of commercial areas. The next exit is for Broadway, but the concept of an exit ramp seems strange with the sudden high quantity of traffic signals through this stretch. Photo taken 11/10/03.
Northbound U.S. 285 at Exit 259, Broadway. East of this interchange, U.S. 285 continues through Englewood is more like a city street, with multiple traffic signals. Photo taken 11/10/03.

Page Updated February 25, 2004.