Ptarmigan Pass

Red Cliff, Colorado (Eagle County)

Last Updated: 07/30/2022
4.5 / 5 ( 22 reviews )
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Highlights

Highlight: Ptarmigan Pass
Ptarmigan Pass is a beautiful drive with amazing views of the Gore Range as well as the Sawatch Range including Mount of the Holy Cross. The trail itself has become increasingly difficult over the past few years notably through Wearyman Creek. Wearyman Creek flows all summer long and makes this trail a little more interesting due to the fact that you literally drive upstream through various obstacles for the first half mile or so of the trail. At the northwest end of the trail is Camp Hale, a WWII facility, which is where the U.S. Army trained soldiers in mountain warfare.

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Route Information

Technical Rating

( DIFFICULT )

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Waypoints

1. Shrine Pass Trailhead (0 mi)
The trail starts off into Wearyman Creek almost immediately right after the one lane bridge.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: I-70

From Avon - Take Highway 24 south to the town of Red Cliff. Take Shrine Pass northeast out of town for 2.5 miles. The trailhead is on the right at a narrow bridge and a sign for McAllister Gulch and Wearyman Creek. From Copper Mountain - Take I-70 to the top of Vail Pass and exit at Exit Number 190. Take Shrine Pass southwest 8.3 miles. The trailhead is on the left at a narrow bridge and sign for McAllister Gulch and Wearyman Creek.

Camping

Dispersed

Trail Reviews (22)

Questions & Answers (6)

Q: Good day to whoever reads this! We have a group from Kansas jeeping the week of Sept 5th. One of our favorite trails, especially for the less experienced, is Ptarmigan Pass to Resolution to Mangos! Been a few years since we’ve been on it because of waypoints 1-4 being closed. Does anyone know if it has opened up in the last month? Thanks for any help/advice! Greg
–Greg (09/02/2021)
–Ryan Boudreau (09/04/2021)
Q: Does anyone know if they ever opened Wearyman Creek back up, or do you still have to run McAllister to get to Ptarmigan?
–Travis Pfalzgraff (06/20/2021)
–Ryan Boudreau (06/20/2021)
Q: Hey there, What would be the total round trip time to run from Vail to Red Cliff and then do Ptarmigan/McC Gulch? Thanks!
–owen bybee (07/06/2019)
–Ryan Boudreau (07/08/2019)
Q: Hi there, new to this site, new to off-roading. I will be running a Polaris RZR on this trail. Is there any trailhead parking to offload my UTV?
–Nathan Wood (09/17/2018)
–Ryan Boudreau (09/28/2018)
Q: What's your opinion on trying the first part of this trail in a stock Polaris Ranger XP900? Going up the creek is the only concern to me due to water depth.
–Yance Farney (08/02/2018)
–Ryan Boudreau (08/02/2018)
Q: Is this passable in a stock rental Jeep. We are in Vail until July 9 and I’d like to find some nearby trails to try.
–Jerry Goodenough (07/03/2018)
–Paul (08/28/2018)
–Brian Spittell (07/17/2018)

Writer Information

Ryan Boudreau

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Hi, I'm Ryan! I am a Colorado native and I've been wheeling since I was 16 years old. I grew up with a relentless passion for all things Jeep and off road related, and that passion has never died out. I am a member of the Mile-Hi Jeep Club, Patrol 16 Sasquatch Jeepers and currently own an '06 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited (LJ) nicknamed "Minion". I am a huge supporter of Stay the Trail and Tread Lightly, and have participated and even been in charge of many trail restoration projects. I have been a trail leader several times for events such as All-4-Fun, ColoradoFest, Set Them Free, 14er Fest, and other. I am also the creator of the Unlimited LJ Adventure. My rig is built for extreme offroading, but I love to get my tires dirty on any kind of trail whether it's rock crawling or just scenic high Alpine drives. I've wheeled all over the country including Colorado, Utah, Kansas, the Carolinas, AZ, and California. I love a great adventure, and love even more to share those adventures with others. If you see the "minion" out on the trail, make sure to stop and say hello.
For individual use only, not to be shared.