Hancock Pass

St. Elmo, Colorado (Chaffee/Gunnison County)

Last Updated: 07/05/2022
4.8 / 5 ( 33 reviews )
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Highlight: Hancock Pass
Situated near the famous ghost town of St. Elmo and within the San Isabel and Gunnison National Forests, this trail will lead you up and over Hancock Pass and the continental divide at an elevation of 12,140'. You will also travel through some of the most historic and beautiful country that Colorful Colorado has to offer. If alpine passes, turn-of-the-century railroads, mining history, and ghost towns are what you are looking for; this entire area will not disappoint! It is a must-do.


Route Information

Technical Rating


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1. Trailhead (0 mi)
Turn uphill to the right at Waypoint 2 of the Hancock Lake Trail onto FS 266.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Buena Vista

From Buena Vista side you must first drive the entire Alpine Tunnel East Trail and the first part of the Hancock Lake Trail. At Waypoint 2 of the Hancock Lake Trail you will turn uphill on FS 299 to start the Hancock Pass Trail. From the Pitkin side you will drive the Alpine Tunnel West Trail to Waypoint 6 and make a right-hand turn onto FS 266 to start the Hancock Pass Trail.



Land Use Issues

The Hancock Pass Trail is adopted by CORE. Please stay on the trail at all times and do not go around the snow in the early season. A constant source of off-trail resource damage can be seen just below the summit on the Gunnison side of the pass. Staying on the trail will help them keep this pass open for all to enjoy.

Trail Reviews (33)

Questions & Answers (4)

Q: I’m on a KTM 500. How challenging will this be on a motorcycle? Doesn’t look bad from the pictures and it is fairly short.
–Michael (07/23/2021)
–Marcus Trusty (07/24/2021)
Q: Tomochi pass is open. May want to fix the description from waypoint 7.
–Kevin (07/16/2021)
–Marcus Trusty (07/24/2021)
Q: Not sure where to put this (It is next pass over from Hancock) but why is there not a thread/ trail report for Williams Pass. I know if it opens at all it is just for August, but weird to have nothing on this trail that I hope to run this year.
–Steve Dohnal (07/21/2020)
–Marcus Trusty (07/21/2020)
Q: Looking for clarification on the timeframe it takes to trail jeep this 3.75 miles. Above it notes 3 hours which seems much longer than expected? Is that also account for both West and East Alpine trails?
–Dan Wise (09/26/2018)
–Marcus Trusty (09/27/2018)

Writer Information

Marcus Trusty

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Marcus is a 4th generation Buena Vista, Colorado native who grew up bouncing around the central Colorado mountains in the back of his dad's CJ5. During his younger years, Marcus grew to appreciate public lands and the recreation opportunities backroads and 4-wheel drive trails offer. Marcus has been wheeling for 20 years now and has wheeled in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and California. Until a few years ago Marcus had just been a participant in the wheeling community, but he has become much more active in preserving trails and working to make sure the wheeling community has their access maintained for future generations. In 2017 Marcus helped to found Colorado Off Road Enterprise - CORE, based out of Buena Vista. CORE has worked with the Forest Service and BLM and has volunteer agreements in place with both organizations. CORE also has a Forest Service trail adoption agreement in place for Grizzly Lake, Pomeroy Lake, Hancock Lake, Hancock Pass, and Tincup Pass, Tomichi Pass, Williams Pass, Ptarmigan Lake, Mineral Basin, Clohesy Lake, Lost Canyon, Champion Mill, Iron Mike Mine, and Slide Lake. If Marcus is not working you can generally find him somewhere out on the trails around Buena Vista.
For individual use only, not to be shared.