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Cinnamon Pass: Nearest Towns:  Silverton, Ouray, & Lake City Difficulty:  Low Moderate End Points:  Start:  Silverton 37.8181, -107.6508 Finish:  Lake City 37.9493, -107.3023 Estmated Open Season:  May to October Estimated Miles:  31 miles one-way Estimated Drive Time: 3 hours one way Cinnamon Pass Sometimes referred to as Engineer Pass's little sister, Cinnamon Pass is actually about the same distance from Animas Forks to Lake City as Engineer to Lake City from hwy 550. (27 miles) Cinnamon Pass also has access to camping, hiking, mountain climbing and fishing. It is also the second half of the awesome Alpine Loop that combines Engineer Pass to Lake City, Lake City to Cinnamon Pass, Cinnamon Pass to Animas Forks and Animas Forks to Silverton. What a great day! How to find Cinnamon Pass? One of the easiest ways is to utilize our interactive map by clicking on the trailhead (TH) icon of your choice, selecting "Directions" and following the instructions provided. The basic route to the trailhead from Silverton is to follow cr 2 northeast out of Silverton for about 12 miles to Animas Forks. Following the road signs makes it quite easy and the marker for Cinnamon Pass will be on the right just before you get into the ghost town of Animas Forks. If you start in Lake City take cr 30 past Lake San Cristobal and look for rd 35 Cinnamon Pass which has good signs pointing you in the right direction. There are also very good signs and historical markers along the way for the many mines and ghost towns which make it very appealing to history buffs. Cinnamon Pass trail rating? It is an off road moderate but is on the lower end of the scale with only a few places that warrant the rating. There are only few technical areas and a stock trail capable 4x4 vehicle should have little trouble as long as the driver is competent. The toughest sections are the first mile from Animas Forks and a few places near the summit but overall it is one of the relatively easier trails in the area. With that being said, always use caution during heavy rainstorms or spring snowmelt as conditions can change or degrade dramatically. When to travel on Cinnamon Pass?  About the same as Engineer Pass which depends of how much winter snow has fallen and built up during the season. Generally the travel season is May through October and the county will sometimes bulldoze the larger drifts or avalanche debris to have the trail open by Memorial Day. Kind of cool when you are driving through cuts of snow that are massive walls on either side of you! On that note, it is not uncommon to see snow and ice in some areas well into the summer which makes for a fun place to get out and play. Weather in the San Juan's can be fairly extreme at times with changes happening very rapidly. It can be nice and warm at the bottom of the trail and by the time you get to the top a snowstorm can blow in! So when you travel it is advised to bring a jacket or rain gear and be sure to check our weather widget before heading out. A few highlights or points of interest along the Cinnamon Pass trail. Animas Forks is one of the most popular ghost towns in the area and hundreds of photographers and history enthusiasts flock here every year. The Duncan House also known as the "bay window house" is one of the most photographed buildings in the San Juan's. Some of the first log cabins were built as early as 1873 and at its peak over 450 people lived there. There were homes, inns, general stores and even a jail! Now there are just a handful of buildings and foundations left. The massive concrete footers that you can see are the remains of one of the largest ore processing mills in Colorado, the Gold Prince Mill which was built in about 1904. To the northeast just across the creek are the remains of the large Columbus Mine with tailings piled up in front of it. American Basin and Handies Peak At about five miles up from Animas Forks is the road for American Basin which is on the right. This is a beautiful area with wildflowers and mountain peaks surrounding you until you reach the end of the road. It is rated as a 4x4 moderate with one particular stream crossing that can be a bit deep during spring runoff so use caution and check it out before proceeding. This is also the best spot to climb the 14ner Handies Peak  14,048 feet and the awesome high mountain Sloan Lake. To Climb Handies Peak look for the trailhead marker at the end of American Basin Road (about one mile) and follow the well traveled trail to Sloan Lake and then to the summit of Handies. It's only about 2 ½ miles to the top and is rated as an easy climb (for a mountain climb class 1) and a moderate high altitude hike. Might be a good for your first 14ner! Redcloud and Sunshine peaks Cinnamon Pass affords access to three 14ners Handies, Sunshine and Redcloud peaks which makes it very appealing for mountain climbers and hikers. Sunshine and Redcloud peaks are very popular because both of them can be climbed in the same day by simply following the ridge line between the two. The most popular trail starts at the Silver Creek and Grizzly Gulch trailhead which is about 18 miles from Lake City or about 9 miles in from Animas Forks and is well marked with signs on the north side of the road. There are bathrooms and a large dirt parking lot at the trail starting point and you should still have a 4x4 vehicle to reach it. From the trailhead just follow the well traveled trail for about 4.5 miles to the summit of Redcloud 14,034 feet and then follow the ridge line for another mile or so to the top of Sunshine Peak 14,001 feet. The average round trip for both peaks is a little over ten miles which makes for a long day but very worth it. Climbers should get a very early start and if you are planning a trip in the late summer expect afternoon thunderstorms and bring appropriate gear. Lightning is also a concern during any storms and if conditions get bad it is better to descend immediately. The climb is rated as an easier / moderate class 2 for mountain climbs but if you choose to summit both peaks you should be fairly experienced and in fairly good shape. It's mostly about the altitude and distance that can wear you out but it's very worth the effort. Lake San Cristobal Lake San Cristobal is the second largest naturally formed lake in the state of Colorado and is just a few miles southwest of Lake City. This lake is a beautiful spot to stop for a picnic and there are places for fishing along the shores. One of the most popular 4x4 roads in the San Juan Mountains, Cinnamon Pass is full of beauty and history. It provides access to 14ners, hiking trails, fishing and great off roading. When combined with Engineer Pass as part of the Alpine Loop it becomes a spectacular adventure!  

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Animas Forks 1876
l Animas Forks 2007 l Lake San Cristobal     Photographer:  Paul Bynum