Engineer Pass

Total Miles
20.4

Elevation

3,948.64 ft

Duration

3 Hours

Technical Rating

4

Moderate

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.

Photos of Engineer Pass

Engineer Pass
Engineer Pass
Engineer Pass

Difficulty

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.

History

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

4

Status Reports

Julio Cano Jackson
May 25, 2024
4x4
Temporarily Closed
Weather Event
Matt Stephens
Oct 20, 2023
4x4
Open
Snow/Ice
Chase Kovach
Oct 13, 2023
4x4
Open
Snow/Ice
Washboard
Rough/Deteriorated
Josh S
Oct 10, 2023
4x4
Open
Snow/Ice
Rough/Deteriorated
Washboard

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.

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