Corkscrew Pass

Ouray, Colorado (Ouray County)

Last Updated: 05/20/2022
4.8 / 5 ( 28 reviews )
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Typically Open: 07/01 - 11/01
Length: 4.96 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


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.


Route Information

Technical Rating


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1. Trailhead (0 mi)
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

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.



Trail Reviews (40)

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)
–Tracy Barker (08/10/2018)
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)
–Chris (07/07/2018)

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.
For individual use only, not to be shared.