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Molas Pass to Engineer Mountain Trail Out and Back

  4.7 ( 18 ) Favorite


20.5 mile 33.0 kilometer out and back
0% Singletrack


Ascent: 2,310' 704 m
Descent: -2,310' -704 m
High: 12,094' 3,686 m
Low: 10,891' 3,320 m


Avg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 16% (9°)


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Trail shared by John Geronimo

Epic alpine trail accessible to the day rider.

John Geronimo

Electric Mountain Bikes Unknown

Features -none-


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.


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.

Biked this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Dogs Allowed, Features, Electic Mountain Bikes Allowed, History & Background


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Aug 18, 2019
Kiley Berry
Sep 21, 2018
Dusty Rhodes
Sep 11, 2018
Colin Hughes
Perfect conditions, great ride! 75mi
Aug 28, 2018
Shane Glazebrook
Aug 24, 2018
Don Childrey
Aug 4, 2018
Kevin Webster
Left from Molas Pass overlook. Hit trail around 6:00 am to beat storms. Some hike a bike features. Overall pretty phenomenal. 10mi — 2h 15m
Aug 4, 2018
Taryn Olson
Jul 19, 2018
Mike O'Sullivan

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 18 votes


  4.7 from 18 votes
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in Colorado


379 Views Last Month
13,960 Since Sep 12, 2014



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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