Corkscrew Pass

Ouray, Colorado (Ouray County)

Last Updated: 06/16/2019
5 /5 ( 5 reviews )
Information
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

Highlights

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.

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for Corkscrew Pass

Route Information

Technical Rating:
(EASY - MODERATE)

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Waypoints

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.

Camping

Dispersed

Community

Trail Reviews (10)

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
San Juan County has plowed their side of Corkscrew Pass. Corkscrew is plowed about 150-200 yards past the top but NO place to turnaround.

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: Official Crew
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:

Ouray County has announced that plowing operations have begun for these trails. From the county:

High Country Roads Opening Priority

May 6, 2019 Update

Crews will begin work May 6, 2019 with the goal to have all High Country Roads open by the July 4th weekend.

***Please be aware: Southwestern Colorado received an exceptional amount of snow during the 2018-2019 winter. Roads may be cleared later than usual, and dangers like avalanches may still exist into the summer months. Please use caution when venturing into these areas.***

(Note – Crew 1 and Crew 2 work concurrently)

Crew 1: Yankee Boy (Depending on snowfall, anticipated time to reach the Outhouses is 4 days.)

Crew 2: Red Mountain Town – Open the Main Loop

Crew 1: Corkscrew

Crew 2: Engineer

Crew 1: Imogene

Crew 2: Crews will move to help open Imogene after the completion of Engineer


Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
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.

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

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
This is one of my absolute favorite trails in the San Juans. Very different land then most others. The colors in the mountains pop. Maybe home to the most beautiful view on earth from a vault toilet.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
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: 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. https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/sanjuan/maps-pubs/?cid=fsbdev3_002300

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
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.

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)

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.