Hancock Pass

Total Miles
16.8

Elevation

3,702.66 ft

Duration

3.5 Hours

Technical Rating

5

Difficult

Best Time

Summer, Fall

Trail Overview

This trail connects St. Elmo to Pitkin by way of 12,140-foot Hancock Pass. After taking in the views, descend to Brittle Silver Basin and on through to Pitkin and a long drive back to Highway 50. As an alternative you can climb up the 12,015-foot Cumberland Pass to Tincup and take Tincup Pass back to St. Elmo. This trail may close unexpectedly for snow.

Photos of Hancock Pass

Hancock Pass
Hancock Pass
Hancock Pass

Difficulty

Difficult. Most of the trail is easy wide road. At the pass, very rocky and slow-going, but okay for aggressive stock SUVs with low range and skid plates. Do not attempt if snow is present.

History

Hancock Road and the Alpine Tunnel Road were built along the original railroad grade that passed through the Alpine Tunnel in the 1880s. Several railroad structures still remain. Forest Road 839 was damaged at the Palisades by an avalanche in February 2016, and the road remains closed. It was hoped that Williams Pass Road would open as a way to reach tunnel, but so far, it's not.

Technical Rating

5

Status Reports

Stephen Hicks
Sep 02, 2023
4x4
Open
Dusty
Max Fuqua
Aug 21, 2023
ATV
Open
Lauren Ellison
Aug 03, 2023
4x4
Open
Rough/Deteriorated
Chance Leake
Jul 11, 2023
SxS
Open
Snow/Ice

Access Description

From Johnson Village, head south on Highway 285 about 6 miles. Just past Nathrop, turn right on County Road 162. Go west 15.4 miles to parking/staging area (with toilet) on left. Immediately after parking area, bear left on County Road 295.

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