Hema Explorer - Map Patrol Alpine Loop
Our trip through the alpine loop was 70 miles through some of Colorado's most beautiful countryside. Scenic vistas, mountain passes, clear flowing streams, and varied wildlife are abundant along this route and every corner will reveal a new surprise. The trail came to prominence in the late 1800's when miners came in search of silver, gold, and ore. Needing a way to transport supplies and minerals via horse cart, they cut large paths through the mountains from Silverton to Lake City and finally to Ouray Coloarado. In many places signs of the mining rush still exist, from old bridges to buildings and even equipment that was left in place to rot away. Today these tracks are largely used by bikes and four-wheel drives and include some favorites like Cinnamon and Engineer Pass.
Though many parts of this loop are fast well maintained forest roads, there are sections which require low range and careful driving. Above all the roads are narrow and taking even a moment to look away can spell disaster.
Flora and fauna can range drastically in the alpine environment and it is all beautiful. Conifer, pine, and deciduous trees, wildflowers, shrubs, mushrooms, mosses, and lichens all have a strong presence in the area. Fauna include many species of bird, fish, goat, large cat, and of course bears. Caution should be used when camping along the loop to avoid attracting large predators. Be sure to contact local park rangers for more information on what to do around bears and large cats.
This track is not passable during many portions of the year and we recommend going from mid June up until the first snow of the year.. Always contact the local forest service for current road conditions and do not attempt if freezing conditions or snow are present on the trail.