Coalbank Pass to Molas Pass
ElevationAscent: 3,656' 1,114 m
Descent: -3,459' -1,054 m
High: 12,471' 3,801 m
Low: 10,696' 3,260 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 33% (18°)
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“Some great high-alpine trail with beautiful views of the San Juans.”— aaron moore
After starting your journey out working through the forest, you'll come out to a meadow (roughly 2.56mi) below Engineer. Once at the meadow you'll come to a fork... left is down (not preferable), straight is up Engineer (nice side option), or right is where you want to go. From here, you'll be on the Engineer Mountain Trail.
3.5 miles into the trip, you'll come to a fork. We went left on the White Creek Trail which is the longer option. If you choose to go right, you go over Jura Knob and cut a good portion of mileage out. Left takes you on a roundabout way to finally connect with the Colorado Trail.
Approximately 8.5 mi in. you reach the Colorado Trail (CT), where you'll take a right to head east. This starts a 1.5 mi steady slog to the top of the pass. You'll continue on the Colorado Trail (CT) for another mile, where you'll reach a junction. This is the second time you'll be seeing the Engineer Mountain Trail, but continue left on the Colorado Trail.
*Sidenote: if you took the trail to the right at the junction 3.5 mi into the route, this is where you would come out.*
From here on out you are hiking on the famous Colorado Trail all the way to Molas Pass.
While this is a long route, roughly 20 miles, it is stunning the whole way, and you'll be surprised at how quick it goes. As stated before, this is a high alpine loop so be prepared to be sucking wind, especially on the climbs.
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We need help with the following missing trail information:
Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Dogs Allowed, History & Background
Land Manager: USFS - San Juan National Forest Office
Oct 2, 2019: Pine River Closure Order Lifted