FATMAP difficulty grade
The Red Cone to Webster Pass route is a very technical alpine dirt road route with loose scree and extreme exposure.
At 12,103 feet this isn’t the highest pass in the region, but it is one of the most technically difficult.
This route is for advanced-level offroaders only. Now granted, you won’t find ultra-technical rock crawling here, but the penalty for error on these narrow mountain roads with steep drop offs is very high.
According to DangerousRoads.org, some of the drop offs are over 1,000 feet! Red Cone traverses “menacing mountain terrain with numerous steep, rocky climbs,” according to DangerousRoads.
"The trail over Red Cone follows the edge of the talus slope.
Though it does not look steep it is very steep and shouldn't be ridden if you are not an experienced rider.
No stock vehicles.” While stock SUVs are warned to not head here, competent dirt bikers definitely have an advantage in this terrain.
However, you have to be very confident in your skills when navigating loose scree in a high-consequence zone. Red Cone is marked as one-way travel on most maps, with the direction of travel heading uphill from the southeast, and then descending a short stretch from Red Cone back to the top of Webster Pass (as mapped here).
To reach the bottom of the Red Cone trail, take Handcart Gulch down from the top of Webster Pass to then loop back up Red Cone.
Whatever you do, don’t drive Red Cone in the wrong direction.
"This trail’s notoriety is based on an extremely steep 3/4-mile long, one-way descent from the top of Red Cone down to Webster Pass,” writes DangerousRoads.
"This stretch is so steep it is difficult to walk down in places.
It is extremely dangerous because your vehicle will likely roll if it gets sideways on the hill.
Before descending, make sure there is no snow blocking your continued descent from WebsterPass, because you cannot turn around and drive back up Red Cone.
This section is one way downhill only.
Those who attempt to drive up this section will damage trail and risk getting the trail closed.” The route mapped here includes the most technical sections, but it also includes some slightly less death-defying sections of road.
If you want, you can easily bypass the entire Red Cone loop portion.
However, according to most maps, the section known as “Radical Hill” is also a double black diamond ultra-difficult 4x4 road section. Choose your route wisely. Sources: https://www.dangerousroads.org/north-america/usa/672-red-cone-usa.html https://www.dangerousroads.org/north-america/usa/749-webster-pass-usa.html