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Engineer Pass

Alpine Loop, Engineer Pass 

 Engineer combines spectacular views at its summit, interesting mining locations and some challenging sections for the driver.  


The Engineer Pass road forms one half of the Alpine Loop, running from Ouray to Lake City via Engineer and returning from Lake City via Cinnamon Pass through Animas Forks and returning to Ouray on the lower western portion of the Engineer Pass Road. The Loop can be made in one long day in good conditions, but one day leaves little time for side trips or stopping for any length of time to enjoy the scenery. 


The Engineer Pass Road begins 3 miles south of Ouray on US 550. A large sign points the way to the Alpine Loop. The first two miles of the road are the most difficult to drive. Portions of the road are very rocky. Experienced 4-wheelers will not have much trouble. Beginners should proceed carefully.


About 1.5 miles from the trailed the remains of the Mickey Breene Mine can be seen. At the sign for Poughkeepsie Gulch stay to the left. The road up Poughkeepsie looks inviting. Don't be fooled. The Poughkeepsie Gulch Road is one of the most difficult in the San Juans. Damage to your vehicle is a definite possibility traveling this road.



Mine Entrance, Engineer Pass 



Loaded Orr Cart Found in Mine on Engineer's Pass.  About 300 ft in mine on the left shaft tunnel.

Ice in Mine Roof



Area Map



Below is from just below the top - sheep on the hillside


Rose Lime Kiln


Remains of Rose Lime Kiln

Lower part of Engineer Pass near Lake City

Other points of interest include Wheeler Falls (a 40 foot waterfall in beautiful valley), the Thoreau House (a log cabin with an entry way across the river), Rosie's Cabin, a bunkhouse along a very narrow road (4WD rated advanced/dangerous), and Capitol City (designed to be the capitol of Colorado). 

Thoreau Log Cabin

Capitol City

Capitol City was founded in 1876 by George T. Lee who envisioned the capital of Colorado moving there from Denver. He even built a brick mansion in preparation for what he hoped would be his eventual appointment as Governor. The post office was established in 1877 but then discontinued in 1920. In 1885







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