We’ve been writing about Elwood Pass, an important entry route into Pagosa Country during pioneer times. Elwood Pass remained important and was maintained as a Colorado state highway until 1911, when the San Juan Mountains were struck during early October by the worst flood of record. The Elwood Pass highway washed out in the canyon portion between Joe Mann’s cabin and the junction of the San Juan River east and west branches.
The Colorado highway department spent a considerable amount of time scratching their heads while trying to decide what to do about the derelict highway. At first they intended to rebuild the old Elwood Pass route. This plan drew opposition from Monte Vista, Del Norte, and South Fork on the east side of the Continental Divide. The old route bypassed those communities, depriving them of tourist income.