SUBMITTED BY: Jerry Baumann
GPS COORDINATES: 37.6991° N, 107.7789° W
ELEVATION: Trail rises from 10,640 to 11,750
DRIVING DIRECTIONS FROM DURANGO:
34 mi. north of Durango on highway 550 to Coal Bank Pass. Parking lot 0.1 mi west from top of pass.
If full, park at Coal Bank Pass parking lot and walk to trail head parking lot.
ROAD CONDITIONS: (mark yes if applies)
ACCESSIBILITY: (Mark yes if applies)
ANY VEHICLE: yes
BEST TIME OF YEAR: May to end of September
BEST TIME OF DAY: Best in morning. North face is dramatic, photographed looking west. Flowers in first part of trail facing SE.
CAMERA EQUIPMENT / SETTINGS SUGGESTIONS: Medium range zoom lens. Possible close-up lens for photographing flowers. Polarizer would be useful for haze. Extreme wide-angle zoom may be useful to enlarge flowers in close foreground of mountain shots and provide adequate depth-of-field.
HIKING INFO: Describe specifics of the hike. How far, degree of difficulty, best sun angle.
Trail is 2.8 miles each way from parking lot (5.6 mile round trip), rising from 10,640 ft to about 11,750 ft. at ridge. Moderate for people without altitude difficulties. The trail starts across a slope richly covered with columbine, paintbrush, Queen Ann’s Lace, Larkspur, skunk cabbage, etc. Once you get to the top of the ridge (just above Pass Trail), you can see the scree covered glacier at the base of the north face of Engineer. You get a good view to the west of Graysill Mountain and Grizzly Peak. To the south east you see the West Needles. To the north east you see the mountains SE of Silverton.
The wild flowers are usually lush in July.
From the ridge, another trail ascends along the NE corner of the mountain to its top. That trail is extremely technical and strenuous, requiring rock climbing skills. Not part of this recommendation.
OTHER NOTE WORTHY INFORMATION:
There a coupe small creek crossings where the trail gets slightly muddy. Shoes with appropriate treads may prevent falling.
In the upper parts of the trail, large areas are exposed to lightning during storms. Be aware of weather conditions around you and of where you will find shelter from lightning, should a storm arrive.