Alpine Loop National Back Country Byway

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Alpine Loop National Back Country Byway
Highway system
Colorado State Highways

The Alpine Loop National Back Country Byway is located northeast of Silverton, Colorado in San Juan and Hinsdale Counties. The route is circular, running from the ghost town of Animas Forks to Lake City and return. The Byway combines crossings of Engineer and Cinnamon Passes with high country scenery that features river meadows, alpine tundra, and ghost towns.

While the meadows and tundra are accessible to ordinary passenger vehicles, a high-clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle is required to travel the entire route.

Route description[edit]

The Alpine Loop is generally considered to begin and end at Lake City. From there the route commonly followed is west over Cinnamon Pass to Animas Forks, and then returning east over Engineer Pass back to Lake City. This clockwise circuit generally puts the vehicle on the inside "lane" of the mountainous portions (but moot because almost all is single track) with the driver on the outside, providing a better view of the relative position of the vehicle and the outer edge of the road at the top of the drop-off. [1]

Major intersections[edit]

Main route[edit]

County Location mi km Destinations Notes
Hinsdale Lake City 0.00 0.00 SH 149 north Zero milepost
  FH 14
  SH 149 south Becomes FH 30 west
  FH 33
  FH 33
  Camp Redcloud
  Castle Lakes Campground
  FH 36
  FH 35
  FH 12
  FH 5 west Becomes FH 5 west
San Juan   FH 2 south Becomes FH 2 north
  FH 18
  FH 17
  FH 2 west Becomes an unmarked road
Hinsdale   FH 21 south Becomes FH 21 north
  FH 21 north Becomes FH 20X east
  FH 20 west Becomes FH 20 east
  FH 24
  FH 23
  SH 149
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Sources and external links[edit]

Alpine Loop gallery[edit]


  1. ^ "The Alpine Loop" (PDF). United States Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management. Retrieved 1 February 2015.