Circle Engineer Mountain for autumn splendor

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Circle Engineer Mountain for autumn splendor

Durango’s favorite mountain spectacularly surrounded by fall colors
Walk through tunnels of glowing afternoon light on the Cascade Creek Trail near the end of the circuit hike.
The Engineer Mountain Trail looks out over the Twilights. U.S. Highway 550 wends below through deep dark green and fleeting gold.
Hike in late September when the aspen are putting out peak wattage, the forest floor glows, and the sky is clear all day.
The Engineer Mountain Trail passes by a pond glazed with flaxen leaves and lit by autumnal fire.
Courtesy of Chris Blackshear

The first dusting of snow is here to stay on the shaded north face of Engineer Mountain. A sequence of pleasant trails circle DurangoþÄôs favorite peak.
Walk northwest up the Cascade Creek Trail. Bear northeast on the Engine Creek Trail to the junction with the Engineer Mountain Trail. Turn east, contouring under Jura Knob. The section hike joins from the east on the Pass Creek Trail, the blue-line route. Both hikes head south to the Engineer Mountain Guard Station. The loop hike continues northwest on the Cascade Creek Trail back to the trailhead.
Travel basics

Travel for the circuit hike: From Durango, drive 28 miles north on U.S. Highway 550. At the apex of the hairpin at the bottom of the south side of Coal Bank Pass, turn left. Two-wheel-drive vehicles with good clearance should be able to negotiate the potholes on the dirt road. Park at the Cascade Creek Trailhead in 0.7 mile just before the road crosses the Cascade Flume. Walk 0.8 mile up the road to the Red Gate. Four-wheel-drive vehicles may proceed to the Red Gate Trailhead, 1.5 miles from the highway. Allow 45 minutes from Durango.
Travel for the segment hike: For the shuttle drop, take a left off U.S. Highway 550 one mile above the Cascade turn at mile marker 52.2 and proceed 0.2 mile to the trailhead. Drive the second vehicle to the Pass Creek Trailhead on the west side of the highway at the top of Coal Bank Pass.
Distance and Elevation Gain: It is 17.0 miles with 3,600 feet of climbing to circle Engineer Mountain. The section hike is 8.5 miles with 1,200 feet of vertical.
Time: 7 to 9 hours for the circuit
Difficulty: Trail; navigation easy; no exposure
Map: Engineer Mountain, Colorado 7.5 Quad

Circle Engineer Mountain for autumn splendor

Walk through tunnels of glowing afternoon light on the Cascade Creek Trail near the end of the circuit hike.
The Engineer Mountain Trail looks out over the Twilights. U.S. Highway 550 wends below through deep dark green and fleeting gold.
Hike in late September when the aspen are putting out peak wattage, the forest floor glows, and the sky is clear all day.
The Engineer Mountain Trail passes by a pond glazed with flaxen leaves and lit by autumnal fire.
Courtesy of Chris Blackshear

The first dusting of snow is here to stay on the shaded north face of Engineer Mountain. A sequence of pleasant trails circle DurangoþÄôs favorite peak.
Walk northwest up the Cascade Creek Trail. Bear northeast on the Engine Creek Trail to the junction with the Engineer Mountain Trail. Turn east, contouring under Jura Knob. The section hike joins from the east on the Pass Creek Trail, the blue-line route. Both hikes head south to the Engineer Mountain Guard Station. The loop hike continues northwest on the Cascade Creek Trail back to the trailhead.
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