Engineer Pass Road

Uncompahgre Wilderness Area, Colorado

Distance5.4mi
Elevation Gain3,309ft
Trailhead Elevation11,865ft
Top12,958ft
Elevation Min/Max11374/12958ft
Elevation Start/End11865/11865ft

Engineer Pass Road

Engineer Pass Road is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Hinsdale County, San Juan County, and Ouray County, Colorado. It is within Uncompahgre Wilderness Area. It is 5.4 miles long and begins at 11,865 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 10.9 miles with a total elevation gain of 3,309 feet. The Uncle Sam Mine (elevation 12,910 feet) quarry and Syracuse Pride Mine (elevation 12,539 feet), Annie Crook Mine (elevation 12,313 feet), and other adits can be seen along the trail. This trail connects with the following: County Road 18 and County Road 17.

Engineer Pass Road Professional Reviews and Guides

"This towering ascent to the treeless heights of the San Juans presents cyclists with the most stunning alpine vistas available from any popular vantage point in these mountains. From the summit of Engineer Pass, a glance in any direction reveals—along with your true smallness —an endless sea of jagged, glacier-spotted peaks.

The views come at a price. For the legions of four-wheelers on this route, the price is a gallon of gas, and an hour or so of sitting on their ass (that rhymes!). These days, the old school jeepers are joined on the southwestern trails by an equal number of shiny new SUVs. This situation could have you yearning for the old days, when the SUVs were just for show. (It seems to me that the chintzier late-model Trail Surface: 4WD road."

"This route commences south from Ouray on the Million Dollar Highway, US 550. If you wish to avoid the hardest section of Engineer Pass Road, the route can be commenced at Silverton. Special Attractions: Part of the historic Alpine Loop, with many famous mining sites; Driving through the twenty-foot deep channel in the snow early in the season.

High-clearance 4WDs are recommended, though most stock SUVs are acceptable. Expect a rough road surface with rocks larger than 6 inches, but there will be a reasonable driving line available. Patches of mud are possible but can be readily negotiated; sand may be deep and require lower tire pressures. There may be stream crossings up to 12 inches deep, substantial sections of single-lane shelf road, moderate grades, and sections of moderately loose road surface."

"Views of the Uncompahgre high peaks. The majority of this hike is located in the area of American Flats, which is managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, rather than the Forest Service.

It is an amazing area of wide-open alpine tundra at which several major trails converge (the Bear Creek, Ridge Stock Driveway, and Horsethief Trails). Wildhorse Peak is the dramatic peak that lies to the north of American Flats. Wildhorse is prohibitively rocky and steep on all but the south and southeast sides, which provide a spectacular and reasonably easy peak hike."

"This route explores a scenic and historic byway in the heart of the San Juan Mountains. Trail: All the way."

"This trail, combined with Cinnamon Pass, constitutes the famous Alpine Loop. It is an exhilarating trip for drivers of all experience levels. There are many mines and points of historical interest along the route. The east side of the trail follows Henson Creek where you’ll find excellent places to camp and fish. The entire route is open to ATVs.

You’ll find staging areas on the west, south and eastern entry points. Unlicensed vehicles must display an OHV permit and riders must possess a valid drivers license or vehicle operator’s license. Ouray and San Juan Counties require proof of liability insurance for unlicensed vehicles. Most of the route is easy, but there are still a few narrow, steep places on the west side of the pass that will get your attention. The trail climbs to an elevation of 12,800 ft. Caution should be used at all times especially in wet weather. Any 4x4 with moderate ground clearance and low-range gearing can do it."

Engineer Pass Road Reviews

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8/5/2008
One of the best 360 views that you can drive to. The trip from Lake City side is great. The side trip to Ucompahgre Peak is great with dispersed campsites everywhere.
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7/20/2008
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7/19/2008
Myself and Mrs. KFitz rented a Rubicon in Lake City and drove the Loop for the fourth time. The views are very spectacular, and we will do it again every chance we get. It's best to plan for a full day trip to be able to stop and "smell the (mountain) roses."
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7/29/2007
One of the most beautiful and scenic drives I have ever been on. We took the Animas Forks trail Northeast out of Silverton. The views are breathtaking and the climb is exciting. The difficulty of the trail is only intermediate but does require 4WD. Although the trail itself is well maintained a wrong move could still be deadly as the climb is mostly on a single lane shelf road. If you are OK with the heights then this is a MUST DO if travelling to the Silverton area.
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Engineer Pass Road Photos

Trail Information

Uncompahgre Wilderness Area
Nearby City
Uncompahgre Wilderness Area
Parks
San Juan National Forest
Local Contacts
USGS Hinsdale County #1, Ouray County #2, San Juan County; Trails Illustrated #141; USFS Uncompahgre National Forest, Gunnison National Forest
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Aug 2018