Cinnamon Pass

Lake City, Colorado (Hinsdale County)

Last Updated: 08/11/2018
4.8/5 (4 reviews)
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Seasonal Closure
Typically Open: 06/01 - 09/30
Difficulty: 3-3
(EASY)
Length: 25.5 miles
Highest Elevation: 12579 feet
Duration: About 4 hours
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: West
Nearest Town: Lake City
Nearest Town w/ Services: Lake City
Official Road Name: County Roads 30, 5 & 2
Management Agency: Ouray Ranger District / Bureau Land Management / Hinsdale County
District:
Distance:
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Cinnamon Pass

This trail, just outside of Lake City, CO, is an over 25.5 mile-long trail that when connected with Engineer Pass - Alpine Loop Connector and Engineer Pass makes up the famous Alpine Loop. The two connected is a nearly 60 mile long trail that can make for a sunup to sun down day on the trails in the area. If you are running the Alpine Loop, then you will get onto the Engineer Pass part via the Engineer Pass - Alpine Loop Connector. You can also just connect to Silverton by taking this trail straight through and past the ghost town of Animas Forks. Along the way, you’ll run into ghost towns, mines and scenic overlooks that can make for some spectacular memories and images. Some of these ruins are over 100 years old and in amazing shape for their age. Tread lightly around these treasures. The overlooks are plentiful and while we’ve noted some of them here, you may find yourself stopping often to take pictures. These trails are what is left over of the road system needed for mining in the 1800’s during the gold and silver boom in the San Juan Mountains. The Bureau of Land Management now manages this trail from start to finish and maintains the surface and historical markers that you will see along the way. This trail is relatively easy and for everyone from the beginner to the experienced off-roader. It offers something for everyone along this route. The road is not a very rough surface in most places but it is a true off-road trail and will test your fortitude with shelf roads and some of the inclines. For Jeep owners, there’s a special note here. Jeep has designated some trails as Badge of Honor trails and this is one of the few in Colorado. Its fame means that Jeep will recognize if you ran it and provide you with a badge to put on your rig showing you completed the trail.

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for Cinnamon Pass

Route Information

Technical Rating: 3-3
(EASY)

Typically, more rock or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 12" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 12" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 24" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep.

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Description

This trail is a 25.5-mile straight connection from Lake City to the ghost town ofAnimas Forks. It’s also one of the starting points for the Alpine Loop. This trail is great for nearly as any high clearance vehicle can make this trail in good conditions. Other than some shelf areas, this trail is relatively easy throughout with no major obstacles to note. You’ll encounter a few rocks in the dirt and the occasional stream crossing as well. This trail travels well above the timberline and much if it is fragile alpine tundra. It’s extremely important that travelers follow the trail and do not deviate from it. The damage one vehicle can do can by going off-trail can take years for the area to recover. Typically, this trail opens in June, however there is no standard date to give out. This trail and area is completely governed by snow and unstable rock in the region. The San Juan Forest Service maintains a list of the trails in the area and what is open to the day. We will update this page as the trail is open or closed seasonally. In summer, it's a good idea to check this page directly for updates that can close the trail in summer for short periods, like rockslides and accidents. Click here for the most up to date information. To run the Alpine Loop in it’s traditional route, start in the town of Lake City. Go south and begin the loop at Cinnamon Pass. When you get to waypoint 20 on Cinnamon Pass, turn right (north) and head uphill towards Engineer Pass. After 2.1 Miles the Engineer Pass - Alpine Loop Connector ends, turn right (east) to pick up Engineer Pass at waypoint 11 back towards Lake City.

Waypoints

1. Trailhead

This is the entrance to the Alpine Loop and Cinnamon Pass if coming from the east and starts on pavement. There a lot of private drives and no part between here and the next waypoint is open. Stay straight all the way through.

2. Intersection with CR 33 (4.1 mi)

Stay straight (south) at this intersection. On the left (east) is CR 33 and on the right (west) is an unknown and likely private road.

3. ATV Staging Area and Parking Lot (5.2 mi)

Stay straight (southwest) here unless you’d like to use this chance to air down. This is an ATV staging area and some trails on both sides of the road nearby for them. Watch for ATV and foot traffic in the area.

4. Williams Creek Campground (7 mi)

Stay straight (southwest) here. On the right (west) is Williams Creek Campground and is a paid camping site. There are some campgrounds on the other side of the road that appear to be unauthorized locations.

5. Intersection with Private Property Roads (8.2 mi)

Stay straight (south) here, there is private property on both sides of the trail for the next mile or so.

6. Intersection with CR 36 (9.3 mi)

Stay right (northwest) away from CR 36. CR36 will take you to the Ghost town of Carson, Colorado. One of the more well preserved and less traveled old mining towns in the area.

7. Bathroom and Rest Stop (10.5 mi)

Stay straight (west) for the trail. On the left (south) is a maintained pit bathroom and if you need to go, you should stop here. The trail is long and bumpy and your bladder will thank you. There is some trail access for ATV’s, foot and horse traffic to the side.

8. Mill Creek Camground (11.1 mi)

Stay to the right (west) on the trail. On the left (south) is the Mill Creek Campground. This is a paid site.

9. Intersection with Sherman Road (CR 35) and Seasonal Gate (12.3 mi)

Stay right (northwest) and uphill at this split in the road. You will see plenty of signs and you want to go up past the seasonal gate. The road on the left (southwest) is Sherman Road (CR 35).

10. Intersection To Historical Sherman Townsite & Interpretive Site (13.3 mi)

Stay to the right (northwest) at the Historical Sherman Townsite and Interpretive Site.

11. Mining Ruins, Walking Trails, Bathrooms and Parking Lot (16.6 mi)

Stay straight (northwest) through the town here. There are pit toilets available and a parking lot for ATV riders along with some trail entrances. The Silver Creek, Grizzly Gulch Hiking trailheads are here and marked well just beyond the bathrooms.

12. Campsite with a View (16.7 mi)

Stay to the left (west) and on the well-traveled trail. This place is noted because it looks like a trail from the main road, but is actually a campsite.

13. Scenic Stop With Informational Sign (17.3 mi)

There is a scenic stop here that includes signs that give information about the area while looking down into the valley behind you. It’s well worth the stop. The Copper Creek walking trail is 0.1 miles ahead as well.

14. Scenic Stop With Informational Sign (18.7 mi)

Stay straight (southwest) here. This is another scenic stop that is marked by a sign from the BLM.

15. Creek Crossing / Waterfall (19.1 mi)

While this creek crossing is not that deep it is large and the spring run off can make it deeper and faster. Do not get out in the water here as the rocks are slick and if the water is fast can take you down.

16. Unauthorized/Private Spur (19.4 mi)

Stay straight (southwest). This appears to be an unauthorized spur or private property that is not well marked and does not appear on maps.

17. Intersection with Unknown Trail (19.9 mi)

Stay straight (southwest). This is an unnamed spur that does appear on maps but does not appear to have a designation.

18. Intersection with CR 12 (20.4 mi)

Stay right (southwest) at this intersection with CR 12. You will start climbing here and there are a few switchbacks to negotiate but nothing very tight. About a half-mile after this waypoint there is a rock slab and some steps to be careful on. If you would like to head down CR 12 it will take you towards American Basin area.. It's wildflowers draw photographers from all over in July and August for this show of color above the timberline. You can get an idea of the visual beauty of this area here.

19. Cinnamon Pass Summit (22.7 mi)

This is the summit of Cinnamon Pass. There is a sign here to indicate where you are and you can see well in both directions from this point. There is often a lot of vehicle traffic here in the morning and early afternoon. Watch for people, vehicles, and marmots! There are a lot of yellow-bellied marmots in the area and they don’t really know to stay away from vehicles and not run across the trail. Take it slow, do not feed the animals, and mind the wildlife in their fragile ecosystem.

20. Alpine Loop Connector & Animas Forks Split (24.7 mi)

Stay left (southeast) here to head down to Animas Forks and out towards Silverton. Turn right if you want to complete the Alpine Loop through via Engineer Pass - Alpine Loop Connector & Engineer Pass turn right (northwest).

21. Intersection with Unnamed Road (25 mi)

Make a sharp right here (northwest). This is the intersection of CR 2 and an unnamed road down to Animas Forks.

22. Trail Ends in Animas Forks at CR 9 (25.5 mi)

The trail ends in the middle of Animas Forks just over the creek. If you travel into the town there are lots of plaques to give you history on the area. Respect the ruins as they are well preserved and should be kept that way for years to come. There is a parking area where you can congregate and do things like air up if you'd like before taking CR 9 south towards Silverton.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 38.000347, -107.298978

Starting Point: Lake City, CO

Drive south on CO-149 S/Gunnison for 2.5 miles. The trail will be on the right and the signs are easy to see.

Camping

Dispersed

Dispersed camping is allowed, trailsoffroad did see a number of campsites occupied under the timberline since camping above it can be rough. Mind fire notices and a 14 day limit on camping in one spot if you decide to stay along trail. There are campgrounds near the trailhead including Wupperman Campground near Lake City and is a paid site. One of the largest and busiest campgrounds in the area is the first come, first serve Mill Creek Campground. You have to make reservations or get there early if you want to camp this near to the trail. The peak of the season means that the campsites fill up fast. There is lots of lodging available in both Lake City and Ouray, if you're lucky, you might be able to find a room in Silverton. In fact, there is a paid campground called Castle Lake Campgrounds and is in between waypoints 5 & 6 before you leave the pavement. This is a full-service campground with all services, even wifi.

Camping: Cinnamon Pass

Writer Information

Jen & JD Marshall

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Jen & JD moved to Colorado from Chicago in May of 2015 for work and brought with them a 2001 stock Jeep Wrangler that had been garage bound for two years. Within a month of arrival, all rusty 170,000 miles of it was shaking on Colorado trails and they've never stopped. As time as gone on, their 2001 TJ has been upgraded and a 2015 Jeep JK has been added to the family. JD works as a Systems Engineer for a cable company and Jen runs a business from their home during the week to pay the bills. When the weekend hits, they're almost always hitting the trail. When Sunday night rolls around, the question turns to, 'so what's next week?!'.

Community

Questions & Answers (2)

Q: From Animas Forks we are headed east. Would you recommend taking Cinnamon Pass or running Engineer Pass to Lake City? Why? Thanks for any input.
–Matt Fletcher (07/30/2018)
A: Matt, thank you for the question. Personally, I would probably do Engineer Pass because it's slightly more iconic and has some more views than Engineer Pass, but it's a relative call. There's no real difference in difficulty, though Engineer is a little rougher in places.
–Jen & JD Marshall (07/30/2018)
Q: I will be traveling in a Ram 3500 4X4 Crew Cab and 8 ft box. It looks like the Silverton to Animas Fork to LakeCity (30 route) is rated easy. Does anyone know of any issues in that route with a long wheel base?
–Glenn Machin (06/21/2018)
A: Hi Glenn, you should be good. The rating on this trail really comes from the shelf roads along it. The switchbacks up and down have plenty of room to turn, even if you need an extra point in your turn to maker it. Your biggest obstacle is probably going to be traffic. There are some narrow parts.
–Jen & JD Marshall (06/21/2018)

Trail Reviews (10)

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Great Drive. Amazing views. Not difficult at all. The switch backs are fun. Lots of room for passing traffic.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Drove the Cinnamon Pass road on Saturday from Lake City to Animas Forks with a group of Isuzus from Isuzu Wheelers (Facebook group). The road is open, and mostly dry/dusty. Lots of Jeep/SUV and ATV/UTV traffic.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Spoke with the Forest Service today to verify that this trail is NOT part of the San Juan Mountains closure for fire. It is confirmed with the Durango Forest Service office that this trail does NOT run through the San Juan Forest and is not impacted by the current closure. Check back here often as conditions will be updated throughout the summer.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
The Alpine Loop is open all the way through as of today. Ice and snow may persist in some spots so proceed with caution for the next few weeks but the trail should be easily passable in all places.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Hinsdale county announced today that Cinnamon Pass is open now. (Very early for the season) It is still spring in the mountains and ice and mud still exist up there. Use caution and judgement when traveling on these trails.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
The trails in the area have been closed for the season. Check back here in the spring for updates on openings.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
The FS has announced that as of today this trail is closed at the top by snow and that they will not recover vehicles on these trails until spring. The trail is impassable at this time but trailsoffroad will update the status as soon as the trail opens back up in the spring.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
The trail was clear all the way through with nothing out of the ordinary to note about the trail. Some passing storms scared off a lot of people and I ended up at the summit for almost 20 minutes by myself in the afternoon. It was peaceful to say the least. Since the day was coming to an end the small animals were out and the marmots were not happy I was rolling through.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This is a excellent drive as part of the alpine loop from lake city back to ouray or silverton , it’s a easy 2wd drive. Be sure to go through animas forks, it’s a neat area . Another good write up by JD

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
This was a fun trail, nothing difficult and could be done with a stock vehicle with decent ground clearance. The trail was in good condition as well as clear of all snow. We did encounter a Dodge 2500 P/U near the start of the trail that found itself slid off the side of the trail just below timber line. We were able to assist in the recovery of the vehicle and get him and his passenger back onto the trail. They wanted to complete the trail and head to Animas Forks so we let them tag along with us to make sure that they made it safely as they were traveling alone.