Alpine Loop

Offroad Trails in Alpine Loop

A Region within Colorado

The Alpine Loop, also referred to as The Alpine Loop Backcountry Byway, is a true gem of stunning, unparalleled natural beauty. Located within the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, this world-renowned area traverses rugged mountain passes that will have you gasping for air at near 13,000 feet of elevation.

The Alpine Loop is a journey through time and nature. It passes through historic mining towns and ghostly remnants of the region's past such as the historic settlement of Animas Forks. Those who dare to enter this remote environment will be rewarded with a spectacular scenery of towering peaks, verdant forests, meandering streams, and vast swaths of wildflowers that devour entire hillsides.

The loop connects the towns of Ouray, Silverton, and Lake City; each offering their own unique charm and amenities for visitors. It is a network of rocky, four-wheel-drive trails first utilized by 19th century miners who used the roads to cart off ore in mule-drawn wagons. The primary trails making up the loop include Engineer Pass, a narrow and steep trail offering panoramic vistas of several 14,000-foot peaks; Cinnamon Pass, known for its breathtaking views, high altitude scenery, and vibrant wildflowers; California Pass, which winds through alpine meadows and past abandoned mining structures; and Corkscrew Pass, famous for its steep, multi-point switchbacks and dramatic elevation changes.

The offroad trails here are generally accessible mid-June through early October, depending on snow levels. The majority of trails are not technical and can be traversed by stock, high-clearance vehicles. However, the mental challenge of navigating single-lane roads with steep drop offs while attempting to squeeze past oncoming traffic can sometimes prove difficult. Additionally, the area is devoid of cell service, so it is important to go in prepared.

With a little cognitive fortitude, these unforgettable roads will give you access to some of the most remote and picturesque areas of Southwest Colorado. The Alpine Loop also provides a glimpse into the area's rich mining history and rugged frontier spirit.

Top Reasons to Explore Here
Altitude Category IconAltitude
Camping Category IconCamping
Forest Category IconForest
Ghost Town Category IconGhost Town
Iconic Category IconIconic
Mine Category IconMine
Overland Category IconOverland
Rock Category IconRock
Scenic Category IconScenic
Water Category IconWater
Alpine Loop includes trail difficulties ranging from