Today is the big day....the Alpine Loop. I've been looking forward to this drive ever since I arrived in South West Colorado. This is suppose to be a great Jeep tour though high alpine terrain and meadows. This backcountry scenic byway is infamous crossing over two high passes passable only with 4WD vehicle. We could have caught the loop near Ouray or Silverton, but this gave us an opportunity to do a loop rather than an out and back trip.
Going up the pass
The day started out perfect...cool, crisp, and clear. We started up Cinnamon Pass road, not too far from where we are camping and continued on to Animas Fork (an old mining town) and then on the Engineer Pass. The road over Cinnamon pass was rocky but nothing too technical. There were a few steep, rocky switch backs which required low 4WD gear, but the old Jeep made it up just fine. Do to the tight roads, Nancy couldn't get out and take pictures our our rock crawling endeavors. Engineer Pass was a little more technical, narrow, and rocky but nothing really scary. ...unless you are afraid of heights.
Reminents of one of the old townsites along the way
The aspen are turning color rapidly
We stopped along the way and had lunch overlooking the creek at Animas Forks.
We saw lots of Jeeps here and until then hadn’t seen much traffic. Thank goodness, because the road is narrow and there aren’t many pull offs.We stopped often to take pictures along the way whenever there was a pull out...far and few between. I had picked up a booklet that narrated the route, but the numbers didn’t always match the various signs along the way. The scenery was breath taking and the pictures don’t do it justice. The total mileage for the loop was less than 50 miles, but it too us almost 7 hours to complete the loop with all of our stops and lunch. A great day!
Road to Cinnamon Pass
Below: I thought this was the road over Engineer Pass. I wasn't sure about it. But it turned out this is a foot trail and the road takes off before this. Wheew!
Looking back over the road to Engineer Pass