California Pass

Silverton, Colorado (SanJuan County)

Last Updated: 10/28/2019
4.8 /5 ( 10 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Impassable
Typically Open: 07/01 - 11/01
Length: 4.26 miles
Highest Elevation: 12963 feet
Duration: About 1 hour 1 minute
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: East
Nearest Town: Silverton
Nearest Town w/ Services: Silverton
Official Road Name: San Juan County Road 9 and Country Road 19
Management Agency: San Juan National Forest
District: Antonito Ranger District
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: California Pass
California Pass is a gorgeous route offering scenic vistas of the San Juan Mountains and traverses an area rich with mining history. From the top of California Pass at 12,963 feet, an amazing view looking down on the stunning Lake Como can be seen to the northwest. The eastern side of California Pass offers some of the richest mining areas Colorado had to offer in the late 1800's, with the well preserved ghost town of Animas Forks on the trail's east end.

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for California Pass

Route Information

Technical Rating:
(EASY - MODERATE)

Read more about our rating system

Waypoints

1. West Trailhead (0.00 mi)
This route guide begins on the west end of The California Pass trail. The trailhead is located near Lake Como at the intersection of Hurricane Pass to the west, Poughkeepsie Gulch to the north, and California Pass to the east. There are signs in the area marking the trails.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 37.920380, -107.619710

Starting Point: Silverton, CO

You can take many different trails to get to either end of California Pass, including Engineer Pass, Corkscrew Pass, Poughkeepsie Gulch, Hurricane Pass, Picayne Gulch, and Cinnamon Pass. **West Trailhead From Silverton:** Beginning at the corner of W. 12th Street and Greene Street in Silverton. Follow Greene Street northeast for 0.6 miles. Turn left on Colorado Highway #110 and continue north for 6.5 miles. Turn slightly left on to San Juan County Road 10 and continue north for an additional 1.5 miles. Continue over Hurricane Pass trail for 2.2 miles the trailhead is at the intersection of Hurricane Pass, Poughkeepsie Gulch, and California Pass. **East Trailhead From Silverton** From Silverton travel east on County Road 2 for 12.0 miles to Animas Forks. From the old town of Animas Forks, travel north on County Road 9 which turns into California Pass.

Camping

Not allowed

Trail Reviews (15)

Author: Official Crew
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Currently, San Juan County has issued CLOSURES on all their backcountry passes. San Miguel, Hinsdale, and Ouray County issued a travel at your own risk advisory. https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sanjuan/maps-pubs/?cid=fsbdev3_002300

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Good weather and gorgeous fall colors for our trip this weekend. Trail is in good shape and made for a smooth drive.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Awesome trail. We found a great spot for lunch on the west end of the trail overlooking Poughkeepsie Gulch. There’s one steep spot at the highest switchback on the west side that earns this a difficulty of 2-3/10, the rest we found was easy 1-2/10. Driving down the Gulch on the east side was spectacular.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Came up California after driving Hurricane and found quite the party at the summit. Not much room to take pictures or park to walk around with how many vehicles were up there. Still nabbed one summit picture since I'm sure you'd love to see my SxS again lol. The views were great though! Although I had no problems on this road I did see a 4Runner spinning his tires trying to make it up the switchbacks.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
The Corkscrew / Hurricane / California route is one of my favorites. Scenery is amazing and this road is faster because it's less technical than something like Imogene. We experienced rain, hail, clouds and moderate traffic. I cut a tire on sharp rocks while pulling over for traffic.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
OHV and ATV traffic on California complicates the issues with sight lines with the snow banks adjacent to the road. The road appears that it has widened courtesy of continued melt. OHV's are observed to be traveling at higher speeds than most highway 4x4's which only makes the problem more difficult to manage. Couple this with the OHV's coming at you in packs of 10 to 15 (and on occasion more) and trying to get up or down the mountain requires more patience. The amount of snow remaining his late in July is something we couldn't miss. Awesome!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Trail is open, but extremely wet and muddy. The snow walls right now are extremely impressive, but it does make seeing oncoming traffic very difficult. In some sections it is currently impossible to pass oncoming traffic so make sure to keep an eye far out. The trail description in this guide is spot on.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Per San Juan County officials California Pass is officially open as of today. San Juan County has announced also that Animas Forks is able to reached by vehicle at this time also only by way of the Corkscrew/Hurricane/California Pass route. If Animas Forks is your destination then you will need to retrace your steps back the way you came at this time.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Heavy snow pack and late season snow falls have greatly affected the opening date to many of the trails in the San Juan Mountains. I will try to quickly update these trail guides to reflect when the hard working plow and dozer operators are able to dig these wonderful trails out for all of us to enjoy. https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sanjuan/maps-pubs/?cid=fsbdev3_002300

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Took California Pass en route to Animas Forks. Trail was rocky in spots but overall good condition.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Declared open all the way through per the San Juan national forest. https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sanjuan/maps-pubs/?cid=fsbdev3_002300

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Snow has fallen making this trail impassable until next season, closed at the top by snow according to the U.S Forest Service. https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sanjuan/maps-pubs/?cid=fsbdev3_002300

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
This California boy completed a trip to California Gulch and California Pass on the 4th day of our Colorado trip in August. We encountered sheep. Lots of sheep. Animas Forks was full of marmots. I too visited the mill and didn't know why each wood beam was numbered. Thanks for informing me about that.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Our trip, after coming down from Engineer Pass, began in Animas Forks and concluded at the Poughkeepsie Gulch intersection and Lake Como. As you begin to get into the Red Mountains, the vistae aren't as expansive as others in the San Juans, as this drive is up the gulch itself, but the snow levels were such that my daughter could get out and play. Slow and steady up, with no real issues. I look at California Gulch as a means to an end destination (Lake Como or Animas Forks), which makes the journey itself not as stellar as others you'll see in the area.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
A typical August day in the San Juan Mountains with some low clouds occasional rain and very green. Leaving Animas Forks Ghost Town and on up California Gulch to California Pass. We got to drive up into the clouds with some great views and a somewhat rocky trail all along the way. There are some tight switch backs coming down California Pass towards Hurricane Pass. Of course great views all along the way.

Questions & Answers (0)

Writer Information

Greg Stokes

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Greg Stokes Is a Colorado native, born and raised in Colorado Springs. He has been off-roading since childhood, his parents say his first trip was a Jeep run over Medano Pass when he was only 14 Months old. Greg has been at the wheel of everything from dirtbikes, ATV's, early Jeep CJ5's that he has restored, Wranglers, and presently explores in a 1997 80 Series Toyota Land Cruiser and a 2016 Kawasaki KLR650 motorcycle. Greg is a proud Husband and Father of 3. His passion in the off road world is the vehicle-reliant world of Overlanding. He hopes to one day make it to Canada to Explore the Yukon and Northwest territories.
For individual use only, not to be shared.