U.S. Route 85 in Colorado

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U.S. Highway 85

CanAm Highway
US 85 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by CDOT
Length309.6 mi[1] (498.3 km)
Major junctions
South end I-25 / US 85 / US 87 at the New Mexico state line
Major intersections
North end US 85 at the Wyoming state line
CountryUnited States
CountiesLas Animas, Huerfano, Pueblo, El Paso, Douglas, Arapahoe, Denver, Adams, Weld
Highway system
  • Colorado State Highway System
US 84 SH 86

U.S. Route 85 (US 85) is a part of the U.S. Highway System that travels from the Mexican border in El Paso, Texas, north to the Canadian border in Fortuna, North Dakota. In the U.S. state of Colorado, US 85 begins at the New Mexico state line south of Starkville and ends at the Wyoming state line south of Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Route description

US 85 looking north entering Ault
US 85 looking north entering Gilcrest

US 85 enters Colorado from New Mexico concurrent with Interstate 25 (I-25) but is not signed. US 85 leaves I-25 at exit 128 and follows Santa Fe Avenue through Fountain before turning west briefly onto Lake Avenue before rejoining I-25 at exit 138. Approaching the south side of Denver, US 85 again leaves I-25 at exit 184. From there it heads west and north as a two-lane rural highway. It becomes an expressway near Chatfield Reservoir and the southern Denver suburbs of Littleton and Englewood, where it is commonly known as Santa Fe Drive. From just north of its intersection with C-470 to its northern intersection with I-25, it is known as the Navy SEAL Danny Dietz Memorial Highway. It continues north through Denver for a few miles before once again joining with I-25 at mile marker 207. There it runs concurrently with US 87 as well as I-25 and heads north through downtown Denver. At exit 214, US 85 turns east and runs concurrently with I-70 and US 6 for about a mile where it exits with US 6 and heads northeast through Commerce City. In just a few miles the US 6/US 85 concurrency merges with I-76 at mile marker 9. They travel concurrently for three miles (4.8 km) until exit 12 when US 85 becomes an expressway and continues north out of the Denver area through Brighton.

US 85 looking north at the exit ramp for SH 7 (Bridge Street) in Brighton

From there it parallels I-25 for about 75 miles (121 km) passing through Fort Lupton, Platteville, Evans, Greeley, and Eaton before crossing into Wyoming.[2]


US 85 originally followed the route that I-25 would later take.[3] In southern Colorado, US 85 originally was placed on city streets in Pueblo and Trinidad until 1938 where the route was ultimately paved from one state to another, taking place at the present I-25 corridor.


Starting in 1942, a realignment project took place in northeastern Denver, involving the opening of Vasquez Blvd. Originally, US 85 ran along Brighton Blvd. from downtown going northeast and then was realigned along 46th Ave. to Vasquez Blvd. Five years later, in Pueblo, the route took the downtown streets before the Greenhorn/Crow bypass opened two years later. In 1950, the Palmer Lake/Larkspur bypass opened, moving US 85 along with US 87 along the expressway. The expressway opened north of Pueblo in 1951, which allowed both US 85 and US 87 to use the expressway coming out of downtown until 1954.

On October 1, 2007, part of the US-85 known as Nevada Ave was relinquished and is now maintained by the City of Colorado Springs.[4]

Junction list

All exits are unnumbered.

ColoradoNew Mexico line0.000.00
I-25 south (US 85 / US 87 south)
Continuation into New Mexico
See I-25
El PasoFountain128.0206.0
I-25 north (US 87 north) – Colorado Springs
Northern end of I-25/US 87 concurrency; I-25 exit 128
SH 16 (Mesa Ridge Parkway) to I-25 (US 87) – Ft. Carson
Stratmoor135.4217.9 Academy Boulevard – Colorado Springs AirportInterchange
137.04220.54B Street – Ft. CarsonNorthern end of state maintenance
Colorado SpringsFrontage Road (Willwood Road)Interchange; northbound exit and southbound left entrance
SH 115 south – Cañon City
Interchange; southern end of SH 115 concurrency; SH 115 exit 46
SH 115 ends / I-25 / US 24 (US 87) – Pueblo, Denver
Northern terminus of SH 115; northern end of SH 115 concurrency; I-25 exit 140
I-25 south (US 87 south) / Rockrimmon Boulevard – Pueblo
Southern end of I-25/US 87 concurrency; I-25 exit 148
See I-25
DouglasCastle Rock184.7297.2

I-25 north (US 87 north) / SH 86 east (Founders Parkway) – Denver
Southern end of state maintenance; northern end of I-25/US 87 concurrency; I-25 exit 184
186.3299.8N. Meadows Drive / Castle Rock ParkwayInterchange
Sedalia190.4306.4 SH 67 – Woodland Park
196.4316.1Titan ParkwayInterchange
county line
Highlands RanchLittleton line200.5322.7 SH 470 – Chatfield DamSH 470 exit 17
ArapahoeLittleton204.8329.6 SH 88 (Belleview Avenue)Interchange
SheridanFrontage Road AccessInterchange; southbound exit and entrance
SheridanEnglewood line206.8332.8 US 285 (Hampden Avenue)Interchange
City and County of Denver208.7335.9Evans AvenueInterchange
I-25 south (US 87 south) / Santa Fe Drive north – Colorado Springs
Southern end of freeway section; southern end of I-25/US 6/US 87 concurrency; I-25 exit 207B
See I-25
I-25 north (US 87 north)
Northern end of I-25/US 87 concurrency; northbound left exit and southbound left entrance; I-25 exit 214A
38th Avenue / Park Avenue – DowntownSouthbound exit and northbound entrance; northbound access via I-25 exit 213

I-70 west – Grand Junction
Northbound left exit and southbound entrance; I-70 exit 274

I-25 north (US 87 north) – Thornton, Ft. Collins
Southbound exit and northbound entrance; I-25 exit 214A
Washington StreetNorthbound exit and southbound entrance; southbound access via I-70 exit 275A

I-70 west
Southern end of I-70 concurrency; southbound left exit and northbound left entrance; I-70 exit 274
See I-70
I-70 east
Northern end of freeway section; northern end of I-70 concurrency; I-70 exit 276A
See US 6
I-76 east (US 6 east) – Fort Morgan
Northern end of I-76/US 6 concurrency; left entrance southbound, no southbound exit; I-76 exit 12
228.3367.4 SH 44 – Thornton
Henderson231.3372.2 SH 22
231.7372.9 E-470 – AuroraInterchange; E-470 exit 38; entrance ramp includes direct entrance from Brighton Road
Brighton235.7379.3 SH 7 – BrightonDumbbell interchange
WeldFort Lupton241.6388.8

US 85 Bus. east / SH 52 – Ft. Lupton
Platteville250.5403.1 SH 66 – Longmont

US 85 Bus. south
Southbound access only
253.8408.5 SH 60 – Milliken
PeckhamCR 44Future partial dumbbell interchange[5]

US 85 Bus. north – Greeley
Southern end of freeway; northbound left exit and southbound left entrance
8th AvenueRight in/right out interchange; southbound exit and entrance

US 34 west – Loveland
Southern end of US 34 concurrency; no direct northbound exit; northbound access via US 85 Bus.

US 85 Bus. north – Greeley
Southbound exit only; access from US 85 Bus. to northbound US 85 via US 34
US 34 east – Ft. Morgan
Northern end of freeway; northern end of US 34 concurrency; left exit and entrance southbound
US 34 Bus. (18th Street)
270.2434.8O Street eastInterchange; northbound exit and southbound entrance

US 85 Bus. south – Greeley Business District
Interchange; southbound exit and northbound entrance
Lucerne272.5438.5 SH 392 – Windsor
Ault279.8450.3 SH 14 – Fort Collins
US 85 north – Cheyenne
Continuation into Wyoming
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Related routes

US 85 has three current business routes in Colorado: one in Fort Lupton, one in Platteville, and one in Greeley.

See also


  1. ^ a b Google (September 19, 2017). "John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway, Trinidad, CO 81082 to 68947 Canam Hwy, Colorado 80537" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  2. ^ "U.S. Highway 85". AA Roads. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  3. ^ "Colorado State Roads and Highways" (PDF). Colorado Historical Society. p. 9. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
  4. ^ "Colorado SH 83". www.mesalek.com. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  5. ^ "US 85 & Weld County Road 44 Interchange". Colorado Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 16, 2022.

External links

Media related to U.S. Route 85 in Colorado at Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Route 85
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New Mexico
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