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Molas Pass to Engineer Mountain Trail Out and Back

Difficult
 4.7 (27) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Epic alpine trail accessible to the day rider.


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Map Key

20.5

Miles

33.0

KM

0%

Singletrack

12,094' 3,686 m

High

10,891' 3,320 m

Low

2,310' 704 m

Up

2,310' 704 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

16%

Max Grade (9°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Overview

This is an excellent up-and-back segment of the CT that will give the intermediate rider a taste of alpine riding without the deep commitment of some of the area loops.

Description

Park at the Molas Pass overlook and carefully cross the highway to the trailhead a couple of hundred feet downhill. Alternately, you can use the parking area near Little Molas Lake.

While the grades are forgiving, this is a serious trail. Take plenty of liquid and calories, and be prepared for wind, rain, sleet, and hail.

Head west, passing Little Molas Lake and gradually climbing into a clear area that is an old burn. The first three miles are all uphill so you can turn around at any point and be pretty confident of getting home. The trail is a bit rutted but in good condition. Watch for hikers and others.

Beyond 5 miles the trail enters forest, becoming narrower with a steep cross slope in places. There are few technical obstacles but some riders might want to walk short sections that are above cliff bands.

On the way back there are some hills, but they are relatively minor.

As you get out about 9 miles there is some muskeg (swampy) trail but it is not too bad. Keep an eye out for the interesting "karst" or cavernous terrain: a spring, sinkholes, and a stream that sinks underground.

At the junction with Engineer Mountain Trail continue on to a big loop or roll back east.

Note that the segment of the CT immediately to the east passes through wilderness. The next section that mountain bikers can ride is Colorado Trail: Stony Pass to West Pole Creek Trail.

Contacts

Shared By:

John Geronimo

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 27 votes

#469

Overall
  4.7 from 27 votes
5 Star
74%
4 Star
22%
3 Star
4%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#114

in Colorado

#469

Overall
112 Views Last Month
18,870 Since Sep 12, 2014
Difficult

0%
0%
20%
8%
72%
0%

Photos

Sharon and Jeremy enjoying the awesome scenery of the San Juans from the Colorado Trail.
Nov 14, 2015 near Silverton, CO
Climbing from Molas Pass with Engineer Mountain in view
Nov 14, 2015 near Silverton, CO
Up, up, up the Colorado Trail
Dec 2, 2014 near Silverton, CO
Meadow section below Twin Sisters West
Sep 13, 2014 near Silverton, CO
Looking towards the junction with Engineer Mountain Trail
Sep 13, 2014 near Silverton, CO
Trail tread is generally good with muskeg in spots
Sep 13, 2014 near Silverton, CO

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Check-Ins

Jul 29, 2021
Private User
Jul 23, 2021
Jon Koehler
Jul 15, 2021
Mike Tozier
Sep 17, 2020
George Paone
Great conditions. 1 or 2 trees down. What's a great trail 20.5mi — 3h 34m
Aug 2, 2020
Mark Dollard
Riding to Cascade Creek 20.5mi
Jul 7, 2020
Kenny P
With Henry
Oct 5, 2019
Ned Shred
Rode the CT to Engineer Mountain Trail then down EMT to the parking lot in about 5 hours - EMT is not all downhill and has few fairly long climbs 11mi — 2h 45m
Sep 24, 2019
DnC Twohig
We only went part way, turning back before last climb 12.5mi — 2h 16m