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Old 04-04-2021, 01:42 PM   #1
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Colorado's Alpine Loop

This isn't a trip report, it's actually trip planning, but I don't see that category, so here goes.

I'm considering running the Alpine Loop in my 1998 E250 extended with a lift and 4wd. The research I've done says you can run it in full size SUV (not much more full size than an extended E250).

The Alpine Loop I'm referring to begins south of Lake City, travels west on 20 (Hensen Creek Road?) to Capitol City. Here, it turns southward on Engineer Pass Road to Engineer Pass where it picks up 2. It continues south to just north of Animas Forks where it picks up Cinnamon Pass Road. Continuing past Williams Creek Campground and Lake San Cristobal, it picks up highway 149 and finishes back at Lake City.

That said, has anyone done this in an E250 Sportsmobile. The Trails Offroad site gives in a medium level of difficulty, but some of the ledge roads look pretty narrow to me.

Thanks!
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Old 04-04-2021, 08:12 PM   #2
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We’ve driven Cinnamon east in a RB350. I wouldn’t do it again but I’m pretty conservative. Lots of downhill K turns on steep hillsides. Not my cup of tea. Westbound might be better. Don’t know about Engineer though there are trip reports in the forum.
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Old 04-04-2021, 09:20 PM   #3
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I had no issues on my extended E350 4x4. I was told that I'll not be able to make it between Ouray and Mineral Point, but I had no problems. Just take your time and read the proper lines you are taking.

We did it in the oposite direction you are describing. We also climbed the Handies Peak and the Uncompahgre Peak. The trail to the Uncompahgre trail head camp was probably the most challenging. See our map.

Beautiful trip. Highly recommended.
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Old 04-04-2021, 09:23 PM   #4
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We did part of the Alpine Loop when we did the Colorado BDR last September. I was in my Jeep, not my E350 EB. As I drove it I kept thinking about how the van would have done. Other than some tight switchbacks I thought the van would have no problems. Yes there are some tight shelf roads that you need to pay attention on and not let a fear of heights get to you. We did not do Engineer Pass. My videos of the different passes we went over are here.
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Old 04-04-2021, 09:44 PM   #5
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Yes there are some tight shelf roads that you need to pay attention on and not let a fear of heights get to you.are here.
Be careful, but very doable. Again, I didn't see any issues, but the line between bravery and stupidity can be quite fuzzy...
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Old 04-05-2021, 10:58 AM   #6
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People take full size pickups with even longer wheelbases through all the time. As long as you have some 4x4 experience and are OK with exposure/heights, you'll be fine.

Last year they did have some washouts that caused some extra hazard/spice so ask a ranger station about any of those ahead of time.
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Old 04-05-2021, 01:24 PM   #7
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I've done most of it in a few different rigs, not necessarily the route you mentioned @wander. There are so many trails and roads in that area if you find something you don't feel good about just choose another.

I did Immogene and other trails in the area last summer in an unmodified 4wd Tundra (no lockers or lift).

You will likely make contact with some rocks.

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Old 04-05-2021, 06:40 PM   #8
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Thank you for the feedback. I'm not an experienced 4wd'er. I'm getting a lift and 4wd conversion before hitting the trail, so will probably pick a more tame trail.....for now.

Thanks, again!!!
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Old 04-05-2021, 07:10 PM   #9
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If I may recommend one that is in the area and not to be missed, I'd go for Ophir Pass between US550 (near Silverton) and Telluride, you can make this a loop by doing Last Dollar Rd. to complete the loop, from either side. It's much milder than the Alpine Loop area. Another great out-and-back that we always do if we're in the area is Camp Bird Mine Rd. from Ouray all the way up to Yankee Boy Basin.

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Old 04-05-2021, 07:19 PM   #10
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If I may recommend one that is in the area and not to be missed, I'd go for Ophir Pass between US550 (near Silverton) and Telluride, you can make this a loop by doing Last Dollar Rd. to complete the loop, from either side. It's much milder than the Alpine Loop area. Another great out-and-back that we always do if we're in the area is Camp Bird Mine Rd. from Ouray all the way up to Yankee Boy Basin.

Thank you! I found it on Gaia and also on Trails Offroad. I really appreciate it.
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