Shrine Pass

3.6/5 (17 reviews)
Red Cliff, Colorado (Summit County)
Last Updated: 06/29/2021

Trail Information


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 a distant view of Mount of the Holy Cross to the north.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

3.6/5 (17)
Rated 4/5
Visited: 10/09/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

This turned out to be a fantastic trail, which I regret not having tried sooner. It's going to be high on my fall colors list from now on (I ran it about a week or 2 late for peak colors.) It's definitely not a technical route and the only issue for any vehicle will be the rocky hills on the Red Cliff side which could pose a pinch/puncture risk for short sidewalls. I ran my 265-70-17 ATs at highway pressures without issue. I did engage 4Low for a brief time to control my descent down the rockiest parts (going eastward.) The rocks are all embedded in the surface, rather than loose, (and polished up from traffic) so traction isn't much of an issue.

It wasn't very busy when I ran it (early Sunday afternoon), but there was still a notable number of vehicles, including occasional two-way traffic which wasn't really a problem (though there are a couple of narrow sections.) With the proximity to the highway and so many large camping sites, I can see this road becoming very busy in summer. The short hike up to Julia's Deck is a great, accessible, family-friendly activity with fantastic views. A narrow hiking trail continues into the woods from behind the deck. Despite how some maps may make it appear, the Lime Creek Rd spur does not offer an alternative through-route and eventually dead-ends at a gate with additional obstacles preventing vehicles from continuing. But there is more worthwhile campsites, hikes, and views available up that way.

If you're passing through Colorado on I-70 and want a diversion, or if you want to take an interesting alternative route to/from Leadville, definitely consider this trail.
Rated 4/5
Visited: 08/29/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

This is a really nice ride through the mountains. Didnt have any issues in the stock 4Runner. There are a good number of camping sites with amazing views.
Partially Open
Visited: 07/23/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

We started Shriner Pass from the I-70 end which is open except for the drive through the creek which is closed. We exited next Red Cliff and drove down US24 to Camp Hale to continue our trek up McAllister Gulch and Ptarmigan Pass. It was a nice drive through the countryside. The start of the drive was an easy dirt road until you got into the forest area where the drive got a bit rougher and tighter. All in all with the creek portion closed I would rate this trail about a 3.
Rated 5/5
Visited: 07/17/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Left Alma and went over Mosquito Pass and then down to Red Cliff and ran Shrine Pass to I-70 and back to Alma through Breck. Great loop for a day trip to see wildflowers. First time over Shrine Pass and it was beautiful. Take in the views of Mount Holy cross on Red Cliff side near top. Easy trail as a passenger car was in front of us - I wouldn’t recommend it in a passenger car on the lower part in the canyon near Red Cliff, but careful tire placement and it can obviously be done. Wildflowers are in bloom and it is beautiful all along the trail right now.
Rated 4/5
Visited: 07/09/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Short trail that has a few good campsites and some good views. If you're trying to decide on a place to camp for a weekend, I wouldn't make this trail a priority as, like I mentioned, it's very short and the likelihood of getting one of the good campsites is slim to none unless you arrive on a Thursday or something. For the most part, the trail is smooth with some rough sections but airing down would be unnecessary.

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