Cinnamon Pass, Alpine Loop, San Juan County, Colorado

99Discovery

Adventurer
The Alpine Loop is one of the most famous off road trails in the Western United States, and for good reason. The loop circles some of the best mountain ranges in the Rockies, connecting the town of Lake City in the east to the Ghost Town of Animas Forks to the West. The northern leg of the route is Engineer Pass and the southern leg is Cinnamon Pass, reviewed here.

Our base camp was to the northwest, so we took a shortcut from Ouray to Animas Forks rather than the traditional (and better maintained) route from Silverton to Animas. This shortcut, known as Mineral Creek, is the most technical portion of the trail and a ton of fun. The majority of the vehicle footage is from that trail. It looks rather easy (we only rated it a 4 out of the western US 1-10 scale), but like most off-road videos it was harder than it looks due to the incline which never comes across well on camera.

Well, enough of me, I'll link the video review below and also a few photos.

 

99Discovery

Adventurer
The view of the Animas Forks Parking lot from inside one of the buildings. The locals have done a great job of restoring Animas Forks.
 

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mlith

New member
Great video, thanks! I'm working on my wife to get over her fear of heights because she loves getting out and seeing places like the Alpine Loop. Videos like yours really help.
 

99Discovery

Adventurer
Thanks! The shots of the narrow portion in both my engineer pass and cinnamon pass videos are from one small stretch of Mineral Creek. I love that road (I hate heights too), but it can be bypassed by just starting at Animas Forks.

Now there are still shelf roads and semi-narrow switchbacks on both trails, but they aren't nearly as narrow and much less nerve wracking.
 

tatanka48

Active member
The view of the Animas Forks Parking lot from inside one of the buildings. The locals have done a great job of restoring Animas Forks.
got to visit w/ the guys from Touratech https://touratech-usa.com doing some maintenance and the guys from Butler Maps https://www.butlermaps.com working on their latest project just where that silver/gray Jeep is parked one afternoon

the Butler Maps are good for 4x4 ADV folks as well

and if you are into 2-wheeled expeditioning Touratech is constantly testing their gear in real world ADV conditions

T
 

tatanka48

Active member
there's another beautiful pass just south of Cinnamon called Stony

terminates on the west down on the road from Silverton to Animas Forks @ a little burg called Howardsville

and on the east just south of Lake City

T
 

99Discovery

Adventurer
there's another beautiful pass just south of Cinnamon called Stony

terminates on the west down on the road from Silverton to Animas Forks @ a little burg called Howardsville

and on the east just south of Lake City

T

I'll have to check that out! Thanks. I need to get back and do a proper segment on the history of Animas forks, outside of a trail review.
 

SayWutOverland

New member
Hello all. As a Ouray local I'd like to add that you can't miss out on the Henson Creek Rd near Lake City especially if you want to camp nor can you miss American Basin on Cinnamon near Lake City as well. Both are out and back There are also 5 14ers on the loop itself so if you're looking to bag a 14er you have many options.
 

99Discovery

Adventurer
I'll have to check out Henson Creek. I have footage of American Basin in the video.

And I'm extremely jealous that you are a ouray local..
 

SayWutOverland

New member
Hahaha life is pretty good. Moab is only 140 miles away too. For some getting a decent job is rough but finding a place to live is the roughest part. Once you get them both though, its paradise. Especially when you pair them with a land cruiser haha:love:
 
Great review and very informative. I'm considering a trip out this summer and do the Alpine Loop, Imogene Pass, Black Bear Pass and Engineer Pass, so this has been some good info.
 

99Discovery

Adventurer
Thanks! I still need to do Imogene and my wife is trying to convince me to do black bear. I have issues with my older rigs I want to fix up before tackling those switchbacks..
 

LR Max

Local Oaf
Nice. Makes me want to go back out. Alpine is fun. Really, black bear isn't difficult. Just have to VERY MUCH pay attention. Near the top of the pass, there are a few lines you can take. The "shortest" line is for real. However there is a lovely bypass that takes you kinda the long way around to the top. The biggest issue I had was after the ridic stair step down, in the switch backs. The first creek crossing is all jacked up and then the 2nd switch back with the stupid rock in the middle gave us a hard time. There is one "bowl" coming up to the switchbacks, we stopped and looked at it. A few weeks prior a number of Toyotas had rolled in there. There is one spot to avoid, so my spotter helped with that. Still knocked it out in like, 2.5 hours. Stopped a lot. Black bear pass is amazingly beautiful. But do make sure you've got good brakes. But that is all of Colorado!!
 

NHBeast

New member
Enjoyed your video.
Did the loop out of Silverton last fall. There was a light on and off rain that day. The views were impressive.
 
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