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Engineer Pass Road

MODERATE 41 reviews

Engineer Pass Road is a 20.5 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Ouray, Colorado that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 20.5 miles Elevation Gain: 1,085 feet Route Type: Point to Point

dog friendly

kid friendly


nature trips

bird watching

ohv / off road driving





wild flowers


An exciting trail that's great for new and experienced drivers alike. This trail, 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. For current conditions, contact the San Juan Mountains Center in Silverton at 970-387-553 (closed in winter). 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. This is a very high pass 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 low-range gearing can do it.

off road driving
14 days ago

20 days ago

Easy trail with the Jeep. Some tight places and some shelf roads, but great views.

off road driving
1 month ago

Beautiful scenery, moderate drive. Recommended part of the Alpine Loop.

off road driving
washed out
1 month ago

Lots of avalanche debris and washout areas. A much more intense and rugged trail than it was just a year ago.

off road driving
2 months ago

A bit more than moderate if it rains any at all. Super fun.

off road driving
2 months ago

So far, my favorite pass/trail in Ouray(ish) area. Coming in off 550 in Ouray, Mineral Creek section is pretty technical/bumpy but doable in any stock 4wd. We did the entire Alpine Loop, which was a solid day’s worth. The switchbacks and the peak of Engineer was worth the time to get out there. Gorgeous.

off road driving
2 months ago

Made it in a JL stock Wrangler, had a blast! a few spots were intimidating, however everyone on the mountain was helpful and guided me up.

off road driving
3 months ago

Attempted this trail on 6/29 and only made it about 2 miles before the trail was blocked by avalanche debris. There was a bulldozer parked at the avalanche clearing the trail so I would imagine this may no longer be a problem. There were dozens of snowmelt waterfalls when we were there, making for some of the best views i've ever seen.

off road driving
4 months ago

I have a stock trail rated Jeep Commander in great condition with new fairly aggressive tires. I don't have any optional skid gear or lift. I was planning on doing this trail, plus Cinnamon Pass, and Ophir Pass in both directions in late June. My Jeep has Quadra-Trak II all the time four wheel drive and can put it in low range. Any advice?

off road driving
Sunday, September 30, 2018

Fun rock crawling

off road driving
Sunday, August 12, 2018

Best trail that I know of in the area! The trail itself is more challenging than others, which I appreciate, and the views are amazing!

off road driving
Friday, August 03, 2018

Did this trail in my Jeep from the West side - starting off of 550. Talking to people who came up from Lake City and looking over the map, this route is much steeper but a lot of fun. A couple of off camber shelf stretches that were a little hair raising but not that many people till the top. Great drive, well worth it

off road driving
Saturday, July 28, 2018

I used to use this for mountain biking and now that I use a 4wd this mapping works just as good if not better than some of the paid apps.

off road driving
Thursday, July 26, 2018

Amazing trail. Combined with other trails and rode from 8 am to 6 pm. The ride to the summit was spectacular. A large part of the trail is above the tree line with incredible views. Trail was easy to drive was in high range about 1/3 of time and mostly used low to control decent and navigate rocks.

off road driving
Sunday, June 17, 2018

This is a 26 mile route from Lake City, CO to just south of Ouray. It took me 3;47. The eastern portion climbs slowly and is relatively easy with multiple abandoned mines and beautiful vistas. the pass tops out at 12,800 feet then climbs further as you head west. The western portion is steep in places, full of bare rock and boulders, and very treacherous. There are narrow portions with steep drop offs, at least a dozen hairpin turns, and many sharp rocks. My jeep Grand Cherokee bottomed out at least a dozen times. My recommendations: 4 wheel drive low is absolutely essential Do not drive the western portion of this road if there has been any rain. It gets very slippery. High road clearance with short wheel base and low center of gravity would be ideal.

off road driving
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Great trail lots to see not very hard, some off angle places that want to take it slow, I almost rolled my Jeep due to my own ignorance of playing around

off road driving
Wednesday, August 09, 2017

There's a few spots on the west side of the pass that are challenging but doable in just about any 4x4 especially if you do this side going down. Honestly, I think an expert driver might be able to do this whole trail in 2 wheel drive if done East to West and in a short wheelbase vehicle so they didn't have to use reverse. The miles and miles of views both horizontally and vertically from both the pass and Oh Point are more than worth the drive.

off road driving
Saturday, August 05, 2017

It's a beautiful drive with lots of waterfalls, nothing to difficult for stock 4x4's, some tricky switchbacks that may need a spotter and a few tight shelf roads but lots of areas for passing. Enjoyable. Matthew, I think you could do this since you have plenty of clearance. If you want something Black Bear Pass, it's only for the experienced, seriously. Happy Trails!

off road driving
Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Question for anyone who has done this. I have a Dodge Ram 2500 Power Wagon. I have lots of clearance, 35s, lockers....but is there any section of this trail that my width or lack of turning radius will make it impassable? THANKS!

Friday, December 02, 2016

Rode it August 2013, absolutely love it. Going back July 2017!!

off road driving
Thursday, August 04, 2016

Very slow and fairly rough, but it gives you more time to enjoy the pretty surroundings. This trail is getting worse by year.

off road driving
Monday, June 27, 2016

Great trail with great scenery. This is definitely not a trail for the faint of heart but if you have some experience offloading and have the right vehicle this is a great trail to drive. There are some technical parts to the trail but nothing crazy.

off road driving
Saturday, June 11, 2016

Great ride!! Too much fun!! The entire Alpine Loop area is great for riding ATV

off road driving
Friday, July 31, 2015

Great trip over the mountain from Ouray to LakeCity.

off road driving
Thursday, July 30, 2015

Awesome views. Be sure to go out to Point Oh! near Engineer Pass.

cross country skiing
Friday, July 10, 2015

Enjoyed the hike, last 1/4 trail was very rocky on trail above Box Canyon

scenic driving
Saturday, April 04, 2015

That was a fun 4 wheel drive road over the top. 1999,Sept. Snow right on the road when going through the pass.

off road driving
Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Very beautiful trail, not that challenging at all but this is a good one to do along with Cinnamon Pass as part of the "Alpine Loop". Any stock 4x4 vehicle can do this if they have decent ground clearance. Make sure to go to the "Oh Point" near the pass of the mountain, it is breathtaking. Literally, you are above 13,000 feet, there is no air lol.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Jeeped this one as part of the Alpine Loop. First part is somewhat technical, but certainly not all that bad - rocky with some tricky switchbacks. I always recommend people not take stock 4x4 vehicles on these mountain passes; rent a proper Jeep or ATV. But if you think you can do it, don't let me stop you. I just think it's a bad idea. Definitely no passenger cars....that's just plain dumb.

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