Alpine Loop National Back Country Byway

Alpine Loop National Back Country Byway


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.

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.

Sources and external links

  • Alpine Loop Scenic Byway
    • Detailed map of byway
  • BLM Alpine Loop brochure

Alpine Loop gallery