This moderate to difficult Snowshoe adventure (depending on snow depth) is a really fun jaunt just 10 minutes south of the town of Ouray Colorado and close to an hour drive south from Montrose Colorado.
From Ouray, head up Red Mountain Pass via Highway 550 toward Silverton. After you pass through the first tunnel and the waterfall overlook, look out toward the left for the giant Engineer Pass trail signs (about 3 miles or so past the first tunnel). The giant signs above the pull-out on the left are hard to miss.
The trail ascends moderately the entire way. Look for really cool mini-ice-falls as you ascend up the canyon. These icicle features are just appetizers for the main course. Keep your eyes pealed for ermines (white mink like creatures with black tipped tails). Also, be on the lookout for rabbit tracks as they are plentiful along the trail. As you finish the final switch backs up the trail, you will make one final climb until the trail narrows parallel with the creek and steep views below. As the trail levels, you’ll come upon a majestic ice melt fall. This is the apex of the climb and the scenery.
From the trail head, the snow shoe hike is about 1.5 – 2 hours round trip and about 1.3 miles up one-way.
Make sure you bring a Thermos of hot coco and snacks and dress with layers as you may get really warm during the assent and sometimes end up in only your base layers.
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