This was my first visit to Colorado and we wanted to do things right. So, we did what I assume anyone in our situation would have done, we arrived when things were still semi frozen, covered in snow, and we decided, “hey! let’s go camping for real.”
You probably think that as someone who lives in an RV that I might be an experienced camper. Jokes on you then. The Airstream is my house, therefore, it is literally like a house. I’ve only been “camping” three or four times ever and each time I’m always positive it’s not for me.
However, after this two day – one night journey, I am willing to admit that there are definitely times and reasons that camping is an acceptable means to spend a night or two. And The Alpine Loop is, hands down, one of those times.
We started the loop from Silverton, CO and explored the town before hitting the trail. I highly recommend doing it this way, it breaks up the loop into more of a mixed adventure of nature/trail and attraction/dining. These towns are built for tourists so there are tons of options for food & drink and lots to see.
Another thing to remember about the loop is that while on the trail you won’t have cell service or data. So, these cute little towns can also serve as a check in point. Don’t forget to call your mom! I had decent Verizon in all three cities (Silverton, Lake City, Ouray) but I can’t speak for any other service providers…
From Silverton we hit the trail heading towards Animas Forks. This is a very cool spot that almost any vehicle can get to, even if you don’t plan to take the rest of the loop. I recommend taking the trip and checking out the historic structures.
It was so beautiful and interesting.
Animas Forks was built in the 1870s with the intent of another mountain town similar to Silverton, Lake City, or Ouray. Miners built homes, a post office, and even a rail road to make their lives in the town more comfortable, but with snow storms and the following avalanches the city was unable to thrive. It is now one of the most visited ghost towns in the area, with over 250,000 visitors a year!
From Animas Forks we continued to Cinnamon Pass and then onto Lake City.
From the beginning we knew that were would be camping just past Lake City, regardless of our arrival time because Engineer Pass was still closed due to snow. We also knew that this would mean we will have to go back one day and do the entire loop again. What a shame. 😉
I know some people have commented saying that Cinnamon Pass is really frightening to them and if someone can explain to me why, I really would like to understand. Truthfully, I thought this was the most boring portion of the drive… I actually fell asleep. 😐
I love snow, but what I learned on this trip is that I think it’s more of a snow and tree combination that I like. Since Cinnamon Pass is at such a high elevation the landscape is Arctic Tundra, which basically means, there are no trees and its kinda ugly… The rest of the drive was spectacular though.
Once we made it to Lake City, we stopped for a drink and snack. There wasn’t much else going on and the sun was setting so we continued on to find a camp. We quickly found a spot and stayed just outside of the town with the plan of continuing the trail the next day. The plan had been to drive as deeply into the loop as we could before turning around and making our way back home.
The next morning we drove to Engineer Pass and before turning around, we went tubing.
No need to read it again, you were right the first time. And, the pictures will explain it even further. 😂
That’s it. That’s how we briefly explored The Alpine Loop and how I would definitely recommend it to others. Final tips: Don’t forget the friends, photo breaks, snacks, drinks, or your sleds!
What do you think? Are you interested in going?