Rides- 70, 60 miles
We arrived at Ouray, which is often called Little Switzerland, now I know why! The town is in the valley with mountains surrounding. We camped in town at 4J+1+1 RV park, because most of the primitive camping in the forest are to small/tight for our 27ft camper. We bought the Fun Treks, ATV trails Guide for Colorado- Silverton, Ouray, Lake City, Telluride by Charles A. Wells. There is also information at the Visitor Center in town
We decided to the Alpine Loop, which starts south of town and travels east to Lake City and back. Haul you rigs south on Hwy 550, 3.8 miles, at the sharp curve, on left, is the Alpine staging area, a large rocky road. Easy to miss. Be forewarned, Hwy 550's shoulder is a 500ft drop off, but it can be done!
It is a rocky and somewhat steep, but no obstacles. Numerous trails spur off from Alpine Loop.
You will see shelf roads, old mining camps, valleys and high elevation saddles. The trails are well marked, just be sure you have a GPS and maps. More than half of this trail is a gravel road, but still interesting. It might sound confusing, but with good maps, it all makes sense.
We went over Engineer Pass, 12,800ft. numerous mines. You CAN DRIVE thru Lake City and pick up the trail to Cinnamon Pass, which would make a circle. They have recently allowed licensed OHV driving on the roads.
We came back on County road 30, past Lake San Cristobal, over Cinnamon Pass, 12,640ft and back to Engineer Pass Trail. It took all day, 7 hours, 70 miles. A very diverse trail.
Red Mountain number 1 & 2 are so beautiful. then over to Hurricane Pass 12,407ft., viewing Lake Como, then up the hill to California Gulch ( we found some snow in the shade) We stopped at Animas Forks, where you can view several homes and mines. Animas Forks was a old mining town in 1870, pop. 450. We followed the river down and south to Silverton. There are only certain streets you can drive on in town. Find a map at the Kiosk along the road.
Going back, find County road 110 north, to Gladstone, then back to our staging area. Another fine trip thru valleys, mountains, forest, and peaks.