Shrine Pass

Red Cliff, Colorado (Eagle County)

Last Updated: 07/18/2019
1 /5 ( 1 review )
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Difficulty: 2-2
Length: 11.38 miles
Highest Elevation: 11176 feet
Duration: About 1 hour
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Red Cliff
Nearest Town w/ Services: Vail
Official Road Name: 709
Management Agency: White River National Forest/Holy Cross Ranger District
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles


Highlight: Shrine Pass
The pass is located at the northern end of the Sawatch Range and is a popular shortcut from I-70 to the town of Red Cliff and the more interesting off-road trails such as Holy Cross, Ptarmigan Pass, and McCallister Gulch. The pass offers scenic views of wildflower meadows and pine woodlands during the summer and autumn months, as well as distant view of Mount of the Holy Cross to the north.



7 day forecast for Shrine Pass

Route Information

Note: This trail has not been updated to our Advanced Rating system and will be soon.

Technical Rating: 2-2

Dirt and/or rocky road. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 8" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 9" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 12" inches. Good tire placement likely. Can be steep but with good traction.
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Simple dirt road with plenty of passing and camping opportunities that travels from I-70 to the town of Red Cliff.


1. I-70 Trailhead (0.00 mi)
Follow the dirt road slightly uphill.
2. Kiosk (0.10 mi)
Continue past the kiosk. The kiosk offers information regarding the area and various safety tips, including that one should avoid unexploded ordinances.
3. Unknown Road and Camping (1.60 mi)
Follow the well defined and clearly marked main road. There is plenty of camping in this immediate area.
4. Restrooms and Hiking Trailhead (2.30 mi)
Continue straight. The popular Shrine Mountain Pass hiking trailhead can also be found here.
5. Camping Spur (3.30 mi)
Continue straight. There are several dispersed camping spur roads along the route.
6. Holy Cross Overlook (3.80 mi)
Continue Straight. The parking lot here is for an observation deck known as "Julie's Deck". It provides views of the Mount of the Holy Cross and is often reserved for wedding ceremonies. The parking area can hold up to 10 vehicles and has a vault toilet
7. Lime Creek Trailhead (4.00 mi)
Follow the bend south. At one time Lime Creek used to be a significant off-road trail, but is now graded for access of any type of vehicle.
8. 713 Intersection (4.70 mi)
Follow the bend south.
9. Camping Spur (5.30 mi)
Continue straight. If you are traveling south, this is the last area for any significant camping opportunities.
10. Benson Cabin (7.20 mi)
Continue straight. Turn onto Forest Service Road for the short four-wheel drive trail known as Benson Cabin Road.
11. Ptarmigan Pass and Mcallister Gulch Trailhead (8.90 mi)
Continue straight. Turning left/east takes you to Mccallister Gulch and Wearyman Road/Ptarmigan Pass.
12. Town of Red Cliff Trailhead (11.50 mi)
The trail starts or ends at the town of Red Cliff. The town was founded in 1879 during the Colorado Silver Boom by miners from Leadville who came over Tennessee Pass scouting for better prospects. The name derives from the red quartzite cliffs surrounding the town.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 39.529043, -106.218777
From Denver, Colorado travel I-70 west to exit 190, which is just west of the Copper Ski Resort. Turn south to where the exit road turns into Forest Service Road 709 and this is the start of Shrine Pass.


Plenty of dispersed camping throughout the area. If looking for developed locations the nearest is the famous Camp Hale. Camp Hale Memorial Campground sits at an elevation of 9, 200 feet, offering guests a wonderful setting for recreation and relaxation. Camp Hale is historic because the 10th Mountain Division, an unit of 15,000 men, trained here in mountaineering and skiing techniques during WWII. Some saw combat in Italy during the war. Most of the buildings have been torn down, but foundations and other "footprints" remain. The 99th Infantry Battalion (Viking Battalion) also trained at Camp Hale. There are interpretive signs along US Route 24, explaining the history and accomplishments of Camp Hale.
Camping: Shrine Pass

Trail Reviews (6)

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Trail was open from Vail Pass to RedCliff. It looks like there was recent construction/road repair.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
According to the Ranger District, the road is open from Vail Pass to Turkey Creek but closed to Red Cliff due to a road wash-out.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Gate is still closed

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Trail is clear all the way through. Ran from the top of Vail Pass and was smooth sailing but dusty. Trail gets a little rocky and rutted a few miles before Red Cliff.

Status: Closed
Offroaded on:
I called the ranger station today to ask if this was open as their website says its currently closed. I just wanted to confirm on this page to let others know that the gate will not open before June 21, 2018 for the season, but may take longer as there are lots of gates for them to open and not that many rangers to open the gates.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Trail was clear the entire away and a little dusty due to the lack of recent precipitation. Seems that the road may have been graded recently as it was smoother than usual. Available camping was few and far between due to the busy holiday weekend.

Questions & Answers (0)

Writer Information

Casey Wilson

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Casey's passion for the offroading lifestyle began back in the 90's when he was a young kid romping around in the Arizona desert with his father and his father's Jeep YJ. Today, Casey lives in the heart of the Colorado Rockies with his wife, Ashley and young daughter, Aubree. Together, they are a die hard group of back country enthusiasts that slave away all week at their day jobs so they may enjoy a weekend or a week here and there of living off grid and flushing out all of the trivial day to day stresses. When not off the grid, you may likely find them in campgrounds near various National or State Parks. Casey co-runs a Colorado overlanding based community, Expedition: Colorado and is a self proclaimed Cruiser-Head and has owned nearly a dozen various Land Cruisers throughout his driving career. Currently, their setup is a modified 2014 Toyota 4Runner TE which is usually pulling their modified offroad TC Teardrop.
For individual use only, not to be shared.