Engineer Pass Road
Aliases: Mount Uncompahgre, Nellie Creek, Alpine Loop
This road connects Lake City with Silverton and forms the northern part of the Alpine Loop. Engineer Pass requires 4WD and high clearance, but accesses some of the most beautiful and extensive tundra habitat in the state. Those without 4WD can hike up the Nellie Creek road (or drive it in a high-clearance vehicle) to the trailhead for Uncompaghre Peak, highest peak in the San Juans at 14,309 feet. The spruce-fir habitat around the trailhead and along the Engineer Pass Road is excellent for the likes of Three-toed Woodpecker and Pine Grosbeak. In the alpine tundra areas, look for Brown-capped Rosy-Finch, American Pipit, and, with luck, White-tailed Ptarmigan. These roads are closed during the colder months.
Habitat: Spruce-Fir Forest, Streamside Willow, Krummholz, Alpine Tundra
Directions: Follow CR 20 (Engineer Pass Road) along Henson Creek west of Lake City to the Ouray County line at Engineer Pass. The Nellie Creek road heads north from the Engineer Pass road about five miles west of Lake City. The base of the Nellie Creek road is accessible in a passenger car; but you'll have to hike Nellie Creek from there.
Delorme: 67 D5
Roads of Colorado: 115 E4
Dates of Access: Summer months
Ownership: US Forest Service/Private
Restrictions: Respect private property on the lower portions of the road
Lodging: Primitive camping
Handicapped Access: None