Corkscrew Pass

Ouray, Colorado (Ouray County)

Last Updated: 06/02/2018
5/5 (3 reviews)
Nearby Trails
Status: Impassable
Typically Open: 07/01 - 11/01
Length: 4.8 miles
Highest Elevation: 12257 feet
Duration: About 1 hour 30 minutes
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: East
Nearest Town: Ouray
Nearest Town w/ Services: Ouray
Official Road Name: Ouray County Rd. 20A
Management Agency: Uncompahgre National Forest
District: Montrose Ranger District
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles


Highlight: Corkscrew Pass

Corkscrew Pass is located in a beautiful area that offers something unique in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Framed by the three majestic peaks of the Red Mountains, Corkscrew Pass traverses this beautiful high alpine area with the lush, green evergreen forests contrasting with the bold rusty red color of the mountain peaks that provide the namesake for this area and US 550's route over Red Mountain Pass. The most beautiful part of this route is just how untouched by man it is in comparison to the surrounding area. The high Iron content in the rocks did not lend well to the presence of gold, leaving this area not suitable for the mining industry that dots the landscape throughout the San Juans.



7 day forecast for Corkscrew Pass

Route Information

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1. Trailhead

The trailhead is well marked on the east side of US 550. Look for a large rock wall that looks similar to a dam. There is a large staging area at this point to park and unload OHV's.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 37.939010, -107.671390

Starting Point: Ouray, CO

From the corner of US 550 and 6th Avenue in Ouray: Travel south on US 550 for 7.9 miles. Follow signs for Ironton Park. The trailhead is on the east side of US 550 at the large structure of rocks that resemble a dam.



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.


Questions & Answers (2)

Q: Dumb flatlander question: I’m back in the area with a stock Subaru Outback and would love to see this road again. Grew up in the vicinity and have decent but not expert off road experience. How questionable is the Subaru on this pass?
–Andy Cornwell (07/02/2018)
Q: Just for clarification, all of the passes that move through Animas Forks are still open since the San Juan NF closed? Just asking since this flatlander is still learning things in that area. Thanks Matt
–matthew urban (06/12/2018)

Trail Reviews (6)

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Took Corkscrew pass on our way to the alpine loop instead of the Mineral Creek trail. Depending on your route, you will either start or end in heavy forest. At the time we took it, the trail was in good condition.

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
The views are amazing and trail is in good condition. Watch out for large herds of sheep and their guardian dogs.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Declared open all the way through per the San Juan national forest.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Cleared and fully open per local reports.

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.

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
After some 8 hours on the trail, beginning in Ouray, doing Engineer, Animas Forks, California, part of Poughkeepsie, Hurricane, and now finishing with Corkscrew, I was worn out, and pushed though towards Ironton too quickly to soak in the beauty as much as I should have. The track is much different than others nearby. Much more red clay, less rocks. Much more undulation... A lot like my trails back home in TN. You'll get a lot of chances to flex over the rolling trail, but it has no issues. The last views of the Red Mountains are incredible, until you drop down into the timberline and then the views are heavy forest.