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Alpine Loop

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Other Names

Alpine Triangle, San Juan National Forest, Cinnamon Pass, San Juan Mountains, Red Mountain, Mineral Point, Kendall Mountain, California Gulch, Black Bear Pass, Continental Divide, Ophir Pass, Telluride, Silverton, Ouray, Engineer Pass

Last Known StatusOpen

This popular summer destination has around 65 miles of designated motorized trails with plenty of side roads that wind through the San Juan Mountains. The trail system mainly consists of old mining roads that wind near abandoned mines, railroads, mills, and ghost towns, providing visitors a glimpse into the areas history.

The trail system has five designated staging areas and several RV campgrounds that provide direct trail access. There are plenty of primitive campgrounds with direct trail access that charge a small fee but free camping can be found at Lost Trail Campground.

The area is very popular with Jeeps and ATVs but is also a good place to bring a dual sport motorcycle. Most of the trails are rated as moderately challenging but there are a couple of expert level only trails which include Black Bear Pass and Poughkeepsie Gulch.

The trails are only passable during the summer months and are usually snow free by mid June. Other area highlights include natural hot springs in Ouray that are sulphur free.

Trail Map... Nearby ATV Trails...


Permit RequiredYesColorado OHV Sticker
Dates OpenJune - October
Other ATV Stickers AcceptedNoColorado Non-Resident OHV permit required.
Spark ArrestorYesA spark arresting exhaust silencer or end cap is required for all vehicles.
Noise LimitYes (96 dB)(1998/older limit 99 dB, 1998/newer limit 96 dB)
Whip FlagsNot Required
Maximum Vehicle WidthNo Restriction
Allow Dirt Bikes, Trail Bikes and Motorcycles Motorcycles & Dirt BikesPermitted
Allow All Terrain Vehicles / Quads / Four Wheelers ATVsPermitted
Allow Utility Terrain Vehicles, Side by Sides (SXS), RZR UTV & SXSPermitted
Allow 4x4 Jeeps, SUVs and 4 x 4 Trucks with License Plates 4x4 & Jeeps (registered)Permitted
Dune Buggy & Sand Rail
4x4 (unregistered)
2 Stroke EnginesNo Restriction
Camping / Overnight RV Parking CampingSome Areas(camp in developed sites only)
Campfire Restrictions CampfiresSome Areas(permitted in developed campsites only)
Night RidingUnknownNot Recommended
Trail BlazingProhibitedstay on trail
Rule Enforcement


Miles Of Trail65
Climate TypeForest
Elevation7800 to 12640 ft.
Trail MaintenanceMarked, Not Rated, Lightly Maintained
Loose DirtThis trail has little loose dirt.Little
Hard PackThe trail has mostly hard pack terrain.Mostly
SandThis trail has no sandy areas.None
MudThe trail has some mud after it rains.Some
DustThe trail has some dust on typical days.Some
RocksThis trail has some rocks.Some
TreesThe trail has many trees.Many
Steep HillsThis trail has many steep hills.Many
Water CrossingsThe trail has some water crossings.Some
Small JumpsThis trail has no small jumps.None
Large JumpsThis trail has no large jumps.None
BermsThe trail has few berms.Few
Sand/Gravel PitsThis national forest has no sand or gravel pits.None
Single TrackThis national forest has some single track trails.Some
RoadsThis national forest has some roads.Some
ShadeThis national forest has many shaded areas.Many
HazardsThis trail has some hazards.Some(hazards assumed marked but use caution)
Beware of cliffs.
some trails have very steep and narrow dropoffs
Easy Terrain NoviceThis trail has little beginner terrain.Little
Moderate Terrain AmateurThis trail has mostly intermediate level terrain.Mostly
Difficult Terrain ExpertThis trail has some expert terrain.Some


AreaMotorized Trails
LandBLM, National Forest


Gasoline GasolineSilverton, CO
Diesel DieselSilverton, CO
Potable Water WaterOn Sitecheck trail map for campgrounds
RV Hookups RV HookupOn Site
RV Dump Station RV DisposalOn Site
Primitive Camping CampgroundOn Sitecheck trail map for campgrounds
Convenience Store Conv StoreSilverton, CO


Tent: $0.00
RV: $0.00
Addtl. Vehicle: $0.00
CommentCamping fees vary at individual campgrounds - call for rates and availability.


Our RatingRatingVery Good
Recommended Stay1-2 Days
Comments(Scroll Down For Rider Reviews & Comments)


Nearest CitySilverton, CO
Go Back To Colorado List
Trail MapGo To Trail Map
From: Montrose, CO
1) Take US-550 South about 35 miles
2) Turn right onto Camp Bird Road, continue 2 miles
3) Staging area is on the right (north)

For the Alpine Loop Trailhead:
4) Take US-550 south about 40 miles
5) Alpine Loop Trailhead is on the left (east).

For the Red Mountain Trailhead:
6) Continue south past the Alpine Loop Trailhead on US-550 9.5 miles
7) Turn left (east) onto dirt road, continue about .25 miles toward staging area.


Contact InfoSan Juan National Forest - Silverton Field Station
1468 Greene Street
Silverton, CO 81433
(970) 387-5530
Contact InfoBLM - Gunnison Field Office
210 W. Spencer Street
Gunnison, CO 81230
(970) 642-4940
Contact InfoColorado Parks And Wildlife - Registration Unit
13787 South Highway 85
Littleton, CO 80125
(303) 791-1920
Contact InfoSilver Summit RV Park And Jeep Rentals
640 Mineral Street
Silverton, CO 81433
(970) 387-0240
(970) 210-3683
Contact InfoSilverton Lakes Campground
2100 Kendall Street
Silverton, CO 81433
(970) 387-9888
CommentFull service campground with direct trail access.
Contact InfoEureka Campground
Silverton, CO
(970) 618-3913
CommentFull service campground with direct trail access.


Alpine Loop Trail Photo

Alpine Loop Trail

No matter where you are on this loop, the scenery is simply stunning.

Alpine Loop Trail Photo

A rocky mountain view from the off-road trail.

One of many scenic views from the trail.

Alpine Loop Trail Photo

A Honda CRF 230cc motorcycle on the trail on a rocky mountain pass.

What a great looking ride and the perfect set of photos. Thanks for sharing!

Alpine Loop Trail Photo

A scenic view of a rocky mountain from the ATV trail.

Another fantastic view of a rugged mountain peak alongside the trail.

Alpine Loop Trail Photo

Some Rocky Mountain wild sheep grazing on Engineer Pass in Colorado.

Some wild mountain sheep grazing on Engineer Pass.

Alpine Loop Trail Photo

Photo of an abandoned ghost town in colorado.

Is this ghost town haunted?

Alpine Loop Trail Photo

A Honda CRF 230cc dirt bike on the trail overlooking a lush green valley.

Another fantastic photo taken from the trail.

Alpine Loop Trail Photo

A Honda CRF 230 with a green motorcycle helmet on the exhaust pipe in the rocky mountains.

With the rugged mountains and grassy meadows, it's almost impossible to take a bad photo.

Alpine Loop Trail Photo

A scenic view of a waterfall on a rocky mountain spring which can be seen from the trail.

This is just one of the many creeks and small waterfalls that you will see alongside the trail.

Alpine Loop Trail Photo

A Honda CRF 230 parked near the edge of a steep cliff.

The mountains and forest views are hard to beat.

Alpine Loop Trail Photo

The Alpine Loop trailhead kiosk with a large map, regulations and permit information.

This is the starting point of the Alpine Loop.

Alpine Loop Trail Photo

A Honda CRF 230 with scenic mountain and canyon views in the background.

The scenery here is top notch.


Alpine Loop Trail Photo

Honda CRF on the edge of rocky mountain peak.

The view can get a little cloudy as you climb in elevation.

Alpine Loop Trail Photo

A view of rugged mountain peaks in the Rocky Mountains.

The mountains and pine trees make this a pleasant ride.

Alpine Loop Trail Photo

A view from Imogene Pass, elevation 13,114 feet.

A view from Imogene Pass, another scenic point on the Alpine Loop.

Alpine Loop Trail Photo

Sign for entrance to Thistledown Campground in the Uncompahgre National Forest.

Thistledown Campground is located near the Angel Creek Staging Area.

Alpine Loop Trail Photo

Honda CRF motor bike parked next to a trail marker.

The Alpine Loop has numerous places to pull off and take a break. This spot would be a nice place to have some lunch.

Alpine Loop Trail Photo

A Honda CRF 230 on a rocky trail.

Another fantastic shot of mountains, pine trees and green meadows.


Alpine Loop Trail Photo

A CRF dirt bike at the top of Engineer Pass in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

Engineer Pass is just one of the many scenic view points on the Alpine Trail.

Alpine Loop Trail Photo

A Honda CRF 230 parked on a ATV trail with green meadows and snow capped mountains in the background.

The panoramic views are hard to beat.

Alpine Loop Trail Photo

A view of snow-capped mountain peaks in the Rocky Mountains.

Some of the mountain peaks are snow covered even during the summer months.

Alpine Loop Trail Photo

A muddy honda dirt bike parked next to a green field.

You will sometimes find sheep grazing in the grassy meadows.

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