Huge Rock Slide Closes Clear Creek Canyon

No Estimate Given On Reopening Highway

An estimated 1,200 to 1,400 tons of rocks fell onto U.S. Highway 6 in Clear Creek Canyon around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, smashing into several vehicles and closing the road.

The rock slide occurred at mile marker 261, about 1 mile east of the Highway 119 intersection, according to the Colorado Dept. of Transportation.

Two trucks were caught in the slide and at least one of the drivers received moderate injuries, according to CDOT. One of the drivers saw the slide starting and flashed his lights to warn the oncoming truck driver, who tried to steer out of the way.

The rock slide pushed one big rig to the edge of the road embankment, along Clear Creek. A second semitrailer managed to stop at the edge of the slide.

CDOT officials said that the rock slide was at least 15 feet deep in some places. Debris covered the highway for 100 yards, officials estimated. They blamed "slope failure" for the slide.


The extent of the rock slide can be seen in this view from Airtracker 7. The red and blue objects in the picture are large semi-trucks.

The road was closed from the east entrance of Clear Creek Canyon in Golden and at Highway 119 on the west side.

In addition to clean-up crews, CDOT sent a geologist to examine the area of the slide to determine if more rock might come down.

The highway will be closed at least several days, CDOT said. Once the rock is cleared, the highway will have to be examined for road damage. A similar rock slide on U.S. Highway 285 several years ago closed the highway for a month.

Highway 6 carries traffic from Golden to the gambling towns of Blackhawk and Central City.

Alternate routes to Blackhawk and Central City are via Interstate 70 to Highway 6 and then Highway 119 or via the Central City Highway from the Hidden Valley exit off I-70.

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