State Highway 74

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Colorado 74 is a 18.11-mile long route west of metropolitan Denver that connects Interstate 70 and U.S. 40 near Exit 252 (near El Rancho) with Colorado 8 near Downtown Morrison.

Colorado 74 east
Colorado 74 splits with Interstate 70 west via a wye interchange to El Rancho. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Immediately south of I-70, SH 74 eastbound intersects segment B of U.S. 40 at Swede Gulch Road in El Rancho. Photo taken 11/11/03.
U.S. 40 acts as a frontage road parallel to Interstate 70 west toward Idaho Springs. Swede Gulch Road serves adjacent big box retail while SH 74 winds southwest along Evergreen Parkway to Bergen Park. Photo taken 11/11/03.
After a begin shield posted south of U.S. 40, Colorado 74 commences its journey toward Evergreen via Hidden Valley. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Curving west from Kerr Gulch Road along Colorado 74 eastbound. Photo taken 11/11/03.
With upgrades completed in the mid-1990s, Colorado 74 is expressway grade along its route between U.S. 40 and Evergreen. The highway has at least four lanes with a median barrier or a wide grassy median. Access to driveways is limited to frontage roads and intersecting highways through this stretch. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Colorado 74 intersects Jefferson County 65 at Bergen Park. County Road 65 ventures northwest to Interstate 70 and U.S. 40 at Exit 248. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Continuing south, Colorado 74 next approaches Squaw Pass Road, which travels west toward Mount Evans. Squaw Pass Road connects to Colorado 103 and Colorado 5, which is the highest road in Colorado. Ellingwood Trail ties into the signalized intersection from Buchanan Park to the east. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Colorado 103 begins near the top of Squaw Pass in Clear Creek County, then travels west to Colorado 5 (Mount Evans Highway), and north to meet Interstate 70 and U.S. 6-40 in Idaho Springs. The section of Squaw Pass Road between here and Squaw Pass is county maintained by Jefferson and Clear Creek Counties. Photo taken 11/11/03.
The next intersection on Colorado 74 (Evergreen Parkway) eastbound is with Bergen Parkway, the former alignment of the state highway leading north. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Most of the ample open space surrounding the Colorado 74 corridor is protected. After Bergen Park, the next intersection serves Elk Meadow Open Space Park, which is part of the Jefferson County system of open space lands. Photo taken 11/11/03.
The speed limit on Colorado 74 is 55 miles per hour. South of Elk Meadow Open Space, the highway narrows with a paved median. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Colorado 74 (Evergreen Parkway) east at Stagecoach Boulevard. The highway begins to see urbanization associated with the community of Evergreen. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Evergreen Parkway leads SH 74 south to Evergreen Lake and Upper Bear Creek Road. Here the state highway narrows to two lanes and turns east. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Upper Bear Creek Road intersects SH 74 from a tight curve along the north shore of Evergreen Lake. A hiking trail rings the entire lake, offering recreational opportunities for hikers and runners. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Heading east to the Evergreen business district, Colorado 74 takes a higher road past the dam that holds back Bear Creek. Evergreen Lake holds 670 acre-feet of water. Historically the reservoir has flooded downstream through Evergreen and toward Morrison. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Jefferson County 73 travels south to Conifer, where it meets U.S. 285. Jefferson County 73 is former Colorado 73, which was turned back to local control in 1965. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Colorado 74 turns east toward Morrison and Red Rocks, while Jefferson County 73 turns south toward Conifer. This county road can be very busy, as it offers a connection to U.S. 285 that avoids Morrison. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Continuing east through the Evergreen business district on Colorado 74. The Evergreen region is bounded by I-70 and El Rancho to the north, Mount Evans to the west, the eastern edge of the foothills on the east, and Conifer to the south. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Through Evergreen, Colorado 74 is part of the 40-mile Lariat Loop. This scenic byway was officially recognized by the state of Colorado in August 2002. The byway takes its name from the Lariat Trail, which connected the city of Golden with Buffalo Bill's Museum and Grave via Lookout Mountain in 1913. Today, the official loop route connects Evergreen with Golden and Morrison. The loop begins in Morrison at the junction of Colorado 74 and Colorado 8 (Former U.S. 285), follows the entire route of Colorado 74, turns east onto I-70 and U.S. 40, then takes the Lariat Trail northeast to Golden. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Antique stores, gift shops, restaurants and related commercial establishments line Colorado 74 as the parkway travels through the Evergreen business district. Evergreen is a popular day trip gateway from metropolitan Denver, especially with weekend travelers. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Advancing northeast, Colorado 74 follows Bear Creek out of Evergreen and toward Kittredge. The highway remains with two lanes to Morrison, and it is a much slower route than the section of Colorado 74 north of Evergreen. Due to to its narrow alignment through Bear Creek Canyon. head-on collisions have occurred on this road, including several deadly accidents involving motorcycles. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Colorado 74 (Bear Creek Road) east passes over Bear Creek at milepost 8. Photo taken 11/11/03.
This reassurance marker for SH 74 stands just north of the Bear Creek bridge at milepost 8. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Mileage sign providing the distance to the next three towns: Kittredge (two miles), Idledale (six miles) and Morrison (11 miles). Photo taken 11/11/03.
Although Colorado 74 remains close to Bear Creek, several homes are located alongside the highway. Flood concerns remain a concern through this area, so all development must be cognizant of the river's proximity to homes and other buildings. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Eastbound Colorado 74 enters Kittredge, another unincorporated area within Jefferson County. Some of the people who live in Kittredge commute to jobs elsewhere in metropolitan Denver. Photo taken 11/11/03.
A few shops and restaurants line Colorado 74 through Kittredge. The state highway continues east toward Idledale. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Like most small communities along Colorado 74, Kittredge owes its existence to the mining days of the late 1800s. It remains today as a small cluster of homesteads and businesses on the road between Evergreen and Morrison. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Beyond Kittredge, Colorado 74 progresses east toward Idledale. The highway follows the contours of the Bear Creek Canyon over the ensuing stretch. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Colorado 74 closely follows the curves of the canyon walls, which results in several switchbacks such as these. Photo taken 11/11/03.
The Lair o'the Bear Open Space is a 319-acre park owned and operated by Jefferson County. Hikers and anglers enjoy the tranquil open space, which features unique geological formations and myriad recreational opportunities. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Idledale is a small community about 21 miles southwest of Denver along Colorado 74. Several homes and small ranches are located in this riverside community; Bear Creek offers fishing and other recreational activities. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Eastbound Colorado 74 enters the town of Morrison, which is located at the eastern end of Bear Creek Canyon. Morrison was incorporated as a town in 1906 after being established in 1874. A National Register Historic District, Morrison has a quaint downtown with plenty of shops and restaurants. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Colorado 74 east ends in Morrison at the turn of Colorado 8 north from U.S. 285 to Bear Creek Avenue east to Red Rocks and C-470. Photo taken 11/11/03.
Colorado 74 west
Reassurance marker posted after Jefferson County 65 at Bergen Park. Colorado 74 winds east from here to Fillius Park and Hidden Valley. Photo taken 08/28/04.
Despite traveling east, SH 74 is bannered as westbound as it continues from Bergen Parkway east to El Rancho. Photo taken 08/28/04.
Winding north from Kerr Gulch Road toward El Rancho on SH 74 westbound. Photo taken 08/28/04.
Colorado 74 westbound meets the east end of U.S. 40 segment B at the community of El Rancho. U.S. 40 west links the state highway with I-70 west to Idaho Springs from a half diamond interchange nearby. Photo taken 08/28/04.
SH 74 otherwise defaults onto Interstate 70 east into Denver at a wye interchange north from El Rancho. Photo taken 08/28/04.

Photo Credits:

11/11/03, 08/28/04 by AARoads

Connect with:
Interstate 70
U.S. 40

Page Updated 05-01-2017.