Hiking Project Logo

Engineer Mountain Out and Back

 5.0 (3)
Trail Mapped Wrong?

Length

6.9 Miles 11.1 Kilometers


Elevation

2,310' 704 m

Ascent

-2,311' -704 m

Descent

13%

Avg Grade (7°)

88%

Max Grade (41°)

12,955' 3,949 m

High

10,702' 3,262 m

Low

Conditions


Minor Issues 31 days ago
Muddy, Snowy History

Getting forecast...

An iconic mountain in the San Juans with gorgeous 360-degree views.

aaron moore

Overview [Suggest Changes]

Avy danger in the winter is significant in the San Juans, including Coalbank Pass, so please be careful.
You can see Engineer Mountain from certain areas in Durango, and this iconic peak dominates the skyline around Coalbank Pass. This is a classic scramble in beautiful country. After a pleasant jaunt through the forest you can scramble, climb, and crawl your way up Engineer Mountain.
Features: Fall Colors — Views — Wildflowers [Add/Remove]

Need to Know [Suggest Changes]

On weekends the Coalbank parking lot gets busy. It's best to leave early and have the added bonus of trail solitude.

Description [Suggest Changes]

Upon leaving Coalbank Pass, most of the forested Pass Creek Trail is easily navigable on the way up to the base of Engineer Mountain. After about 2.5 miles of forest trail, you emerge into meadow with Engineer Mountain looming above you.

Once you reach an open meadow, make your way up the Pass Creek Trail, though heavy vegetation might obscure the view. You'll see the defined path going up towards Engineer Mountain, and you should take it. There is a trail running mainly north and south, that is the Engineer Mountain Trail that you'll cross when going up towards Engineer Mountain.

From the meadow, you'll continue your ascent of Engineer Mountain via an unofficial trail. The area sees enough traffic that your way will be easy to discern. Rock cairns also mark the path. Take the switchbacking route to a nice viewpoint that some know as the Eagle's Nest. If you decide to keep going, you'll be scrambling and maybe using your hands on the way up. All in all, from the meadow you'll gain roughly 1300 feet in about .75 of a mile.

Good luck keeping your speed up in this section, the technical terrain will slow even the most experienced hikers. While there is a trail, once you are actually on Engineer Mountain there is a fair bit of exposure and scrambling. Even though you are scrambling, Engineer sees enough traffic that a trail is visible on the way up. If you don't feel comfortable going on, it's okay! Stop, turn around, have a seat, and enjoy the views. There isn't a bad seat in the house!

Once you are done enjoying the views or have reached the summit, go down carefully and take the same way down back to your car.

Flora & Fauna [Suggest Changes]

The wildflowers are amazing in summer and fall once you get to the meadow. Be prepared to take lots of flower photos.

Contacts

You & This Featured Hike


Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Hike

Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

May 21, 2018
Elle-Marie DeFrain
Didn't finish the summit, but will attempt another day. Got up to the red rocks and then had to turn back due to weather conditions.
Jul 4, 2017
Steve W
6.5mi
Jul 4, 2017
Laura Hansen
Beautiful hike! It was a tough scramble, but worth the view. 6.5mi

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 3 votes

#525

Overall
  5.0 from 3 votes
5 Star
100%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#110

in Colorado

#525

Overall
142 Views Last Month
1,367 Since Apr 9, 2016
Difficult Difficult

0%
0%
0%
0%
100%
0%

0 Comments

Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking