Engineer Pass Road

4.8/5 (124 reviews)
Engineer Pass is well known as part of the iconic Alpine Loop trail network in the high San Juan Mountains. Many roads criss-crossing over the peaks were established during the late 1800s to support mining operations seeking gold, silver, lead, and other ore deposits. These trails provided lifelin... Read More
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Highlights of Engineer Pass Road

Altitude Category Icon Altitude
Forest Category Icon Forest
Ghost Town Category Icon Ghost Town
Iconic Category Icon Iconic
Mine Category Icon Mine
Overland Category Icon Overland
Scenic Category Icon Scenic
Highest Elevation
12975 ft
Shape of Trail
Straight Through
Typically Open
Year Round
Best Direction
East
Official Trail Name
CR 2 & 20
Nearest Town
Lake City
Nearest Services
Lake City
Management Agency
Bureau Land Management
District
Gunnison Field Office

Overview

Engineer Pass is well known as part of the iconic Alpine Loop trail network in the high San Juan Mountains. Many roads criss-crossing over the peaks were established during the late 1800s to support mining operations seeking gold, silver, lead, and other ore deposits. These trails provided lifelines to transport ore, people, and supplies between the mines and the nearby towns of Silverton, Ouray, and Lake City.

Those looking to have a quintessential Colorado weekend adventure can complete the Alpine Loop, leaving Lake City via Cinnamon Pass and connecting to Engineer Pass Road in the area of the Animas Forks ghost town. Easily extend the adventure by connecting to iconic trails like California Pass, Picayne, Placer Gulch, and more. Regardless of where you start Engineer Pass, opportunities are plentiful to test your skills, explore the backcountry of Colorado, and even touch the skies at mountain summits along the way.

The San Juan Mountain Range is full of mining history and ruins. Some are marked clearly, while others are not. The BLM has worked with local historical societies to restore structures and make them safe to enter. These are typically well-marked with informational signage and placards. Many mining sites have been left to the elements and should be appreciated from afar as they are no longer structurally sound.

If you are looking for epic scenery, you'll find spots all along the trail worth stopping for. Odem Point and the official summit have breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding peaks, including the Uncompahgre, Coxcomb, Wetterhorn, and Wildhorse mountain peaks. The view is so expansive at Oh (Odem) Point that on a very clear day, you might see all the way to Utah if you turn your eyes to the west. Whitmore Falls Scenic Overlook at Waypoint 14 offers a beautiful waterfall after a short hike down a well-marked footpath.

This trail is easily traversable by a stock 4WD and can be enjoyed by all drivers, from the beginner to the experienced, with something for the whole family. While this trail isn't rough, it is a proper offroad trail and will test your fortitude with high-altitude shelf roads subject to quick weather changes.

Jeep® Owners: Engineer Pass Road is a Badge of Honor trail. Visit the Jeep® Badge of Honor mobile app to check in on the trail and earn your official badge.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Guide Overview
24 Waypoints
74 Trail Photos
1 Trail Concerns
124 Community Reviews
1 Video
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