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Tincup Pass in Colorado

One of the highest and most beautiful mountain roads in Colorado

Best time: July–October

Tincup Pass
Tincup Pass
Tincup Pass

A scenic drive through Tincup Pass is a rewarding experience promising breathtaking views and visits to historic towns. Located in Gunnison County, Colorado, the road climbs for about 12.4 miles (20 km) to an elevation of 12,154 feet (3,704 m) above sea level, being one of the highest in the state. The dirt trail passes by scenic Gunnison & San Isabel National Forests, lush aspen groves, and rugged peaks.

When is Tincup Pass open

Tincup Pass road is recommended for high-clearance 4WD cars during the summer months roughly from late June to October, although in some places snow is still present as late as July. The trail features a few steep sections and a few narrow areas where two cars can barely pass each other.

Ghost towns on Tincup Pass road

Tincup Pass road offers visitors to explore historic Colorado mountain towns. In particular, Tincup and St. Elmo, the most fascinating ghost towns in the state. In Tincup, visitors can stop by a store and a cafe and wander around century-old buildings. St. Elmo boasts a few active businesses like ATV rental and a general store.

Hiking trails near Tincup Pass

Tincup Pass provides quite a few hiking opportunities, such as the trail to Fitzpatrick Peak. The trail, located at the western end of Chalk Creek Valley, starts off Tincup Pass Road. The Fitzpatrick Peak with an elevation of 13,112 feet (3,997 m) sits on the Continental Divide. In summer, Almont area is famous for its abundance of wildflowers. Later in the season, wildflowers peak in Crested Butte. Nearby Gunnison National Forest and Kebler Pass are famous for beautiful fall foliage views.

Camping near Tincup Pass

There are many great camping opportunities along Tincup Pass Road and the area is quite popular with campers. You can stay overnight at Mirror Lake Campground that offers 10 campsites and a restroom, not to mention the beautiful views of Mirror Lake and East Willow Creek. The campground operates from June through September.

Practical info

When is Tincup Pass open?

From late June to October, Tincup Pass road is accessible by high-clearance 4WD cars. Snow is still present in some places as late as July. The trail has steep sections and areas narrow enough for only two cars to pass each other. Show more

Ghost towns on Tincup Pass road?

Tincup and St. Elmo are historic Colorado mountain towns accessible via Tincup Pass Road. These ghost towns have century-old masonry where tourists can take a stroll, grab a bite, and rent ATVs. St. Elmo has more active businesses like a general store. Show more

Hiking trails near Tincup Pass?

There are several hiking opportunities on Tincup Pass, such as the Fitzpatrick Peak trail. Also, the area at the western end of Chalk Creek Valley has an abundance of wildflowers in summer. Crested Butte has a higher concentration of wildflowers later in the season. Show more

What kind of vehicle do I need to drive on Tincup Pass road?

Tincup Pass Road is a dirt trail recommended for high-clearance 4WD cars and not advisable for large vehicles and trailers. The trail is narrow, steep in sections, and has a few tight spots. It's best to hike the trail first, if possible, to assess conditions before attempting to drive on it. Show more

Where can I find fall foliage views?

Tincup Pass Road closes in winter but has beautiful fall foliage views in autumn. Kebler Pass and Gunnison National Forest are popular spots for autumn colors, with the former having a dense aspen grove that offers stunning color in autumn. Show more

What are some other outdoor activities near Tincup Pass?

Besides hiking trails, visitors to Tincup Pass Road enjoy ATV riding, off-roading, camping, hunting, horseback riding, and fishing at the nearby Taylor Reservoir. Show more

What is the elevation gain on the Tincup Pass Road trail?

Tincup Pass Road gains about 3100 feet (945m) altitude over a 12.4 mile (20km) distance. Along the trail, visitors will see beautiful Colorado mountain ranges, scenic forests, rugged peaks, and groves of aspen. The road offers stunning views from an elevation of 12,154 feet (3704 m) above sea level. Show more

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