Engineer Pass

Total Miles


3948.64 ft


3 Hours

Technical Rating



Best Time

Summer, Fall

Trail Overview

This trail is one portion of the Alpine Loop. There is something for all levels and a lot of unique historical sights to see. When you reach the east side, you'll follow Henson Creek. This is a great place for camping and fishing.


Moderate. The majority of the drive, coming down the east side of the pass, is easy. However, the west side, between Wpts. 01 and 02, is very steep, narrow and rocky in spots. Caution should be used at all times especially in wet weather. Novice backcountry drivers may be intimidated. Don't drive if snow covered. You'll want 4-wheel drive with low range gearing and high ground clearance. No seasonal closures except by weather.


Engineer Pass Road was a major stagecoach and freight route when it opened in the late 1870s. Like so many other roads in the area, it was built by Otto Mears as a toll road. Watch for kiosks along the route that describe key features. Take some time to see the town of Henson and the Ute-Ulay Mine. The mine was discovered in 1871 and sparked the development of Lake City.

Technical Rating


Access Description

From Ouray: Follow directions for difficult Mineral Creek, Trail #9. From Silverton: From the northeast end of town, take C.R. 2 a total of 14 miles northeast following signs for the Alpine Loop. The road gets rockier and steeper north of Animas Forks. From Lake City: Drive over Cinnamon Pass, Trail #15, from east to west, or just drive Engineer in reverse direction. To reach Engineer from Lake City, take 2nd Street west from Highway 149, then turn left on Bluff Street and follow signs to Alpine Loop.