Jeep Trail: The Alpine Loop
High in the San Juan Mountains, you will find a jeep trail that will take your breath away and show you Colorado's rich mining history all at the same time. This trail starts at one of the largest remaining ghost towns in Colorado, Animas Forks, and takes you over two high mountain passes (lifted vehicles are a must) and through some of the most beautiful mountain's you will see in Colorado. The Alpine Loop is full of views, history, and beauty what more can you ask for.The route starts at the old mining town of Animas Fork and immediately starts to climb. From beginning to end the trail is around 60 miles and will take anywhere from 4-6 hours depending on how much you stop. Leaving Animas Fork you will hit your first pass, Cinnamon Pass, at nearly 12,000 ft and will have a 360 Degree view of the amazing San Juan's. As you make your way down Cinnamon you enter into the valley where you will see waterfalls, wildlife, and depending on the time of year some amazing wildflowers. Your halfway point is the small little town of Lake City, this is a great place to stop and eat or just stretch the legs. Once you are relaxed and ready to hit the trail again you can hop right back on the trail from town. The second part of the journey will bring you to the highest pass on the route, Engineer Pass. At over 12,000 feet in elevation Engineer Pass will literally take your breath away and leave you in awe of the sheer magnitude of the surrounding mountains. Standing at 12,000 ft and looking out into the distance to see peaks higher than you, well I think that is something only a picture can really describe:Lastly, even though you experienced one of the largest ghost mining towns at the onset of your journey, don't forget to stop along the way and see all the other mining history that is throughout the loop. Take in where you see the mining shafts or what looks like an old shed that was someone's living quarters, oh so many years ago. The mining history of Colorado is a proud history as many men and women lived isolated for months at a time to just make a living mining the mountains of Colorado.