Ratings and descriptions provided by FunTreks - used with permission
Engineer Pass, combined with Cinnamon Pass, constitutes the famous Alpine Loop. It is an exhilarating trip for drivers of all experience levels. There are many mines and points of historical interest along the route. The east side of the trail follows Henson Creek where you’ll find excellent places to camp and fish.
From Colorado Springs travel on Highway 115 for about 34 miles to US 50 and turn west, then travel for about 131 miles to Gunnison Colorado. From Gunnison take Highway 149 South for about 45 miles to the town of Lake City. Stay on Highway 149 for about 2 miles south of Lake City and turn right or west on CR 30. This is the beginning of the Cinammon Pass trail.
Most of the route is easy, but there are still a few narrow, steep places on the west side of the pass that will get your attention. These are very high passes and should not be treated lightly. Don’t drive if snow covered. Caution should be used at all times especially in wet weather. Any 4x4 with moderate ground clearance and lowrange gearing can do it.
The western half of the trip passes many historic points and climbs to outstanding views. Side trip up Wager Gulch takes you to Carson Ghost Town. Cinnamon Pass Road also accesses beautiful American Basin, one of the best places in the area for wildflowers. There’s a large staging area for unlicensed vehicles soon after the pavement ends on C.R. 30 if starting from Lake City.
The trip called the Alpine Loop is the combining of the Cinnamon Pass and Engineer Pass trails in the Lake City area with the running a couple of other trails in the Telluride, Ouray area. Other trails the club runs during this trip are usually a white knuckle trip up Black Bear Pass and possibly the equally dangerous Imogene Pass.
Due to the distance of these trails from Colorado Springs and elevation of these trails the club runs this combined series of trails on a long weekend late in the summer, usually during the Labor Day weekend.
While the two trails of the Alpine Loop do not have any significant obstacles they more than make up for the lack of rocks on the trails with some incredible scenery. If you are lucky enough to travel through American Basin during the time the flowers are blooming you will be treated to one of the most spectacular settings on earth.
The trail that you travel on from east to west is Cinammon Pass or CR30. Cinnamon Pass travels past a couple of mines, through the scenic American Basin and has a scenic shelf road that will take you to the apex of the trail. Cinammon Pass tops out at 12,613 feet above sea level.
The trail the club takes you from west to east is Engineer Pass trail. Engineer Pass has a scenic shelf road, passes by several historic mines, the Whitmore Falls and the historic 1880s ghost town of Carson. Engineer Pass tops out a 12,800 feet above sea level.
The other trails covered during this trip are left to the discretion of the trip leader, and the desires and abilities of the drivers of the trip.