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Tincup, Colorado, United States

Tincup Pass 4x4 Road

Beautiful 12,154-ft. pass road between historic, quaint mountain towns

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Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 13.0 miles / 21 km
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly • Dog Friendly
Overview: Overview A beautiful high-elevation route starting and ending at historic, quaint mountain towns. St. Elmo is one of the most popular ghost towns in Colorado. It has a few active businesses, including a general store and ATV rental. Tincup is a small residential community with many century-old buildings. Active businesses include the Tincup Store and Frenchie’s Cafe. Located in Gunnison and San Isabel National Forest. For current conditions call Salida Ranger District (719) 539-3591.


Moderate. Rocky at the top with one short section of narrow shelf road at 12,000 feet that often remains snow covered into early July. After the snow clears, this trail is suitable for any high-clearance, 4-wheel-drive SUV with low-range gearing. St. Elmo can be reached by car. The optional “Old Tincup” route has one difficult rocky section.

This trail is one of 100 trails from the book Guide to Colorado Backroads & 4WD Trails by FunTreks Publishing, available at

Tips: Tincup Pass may be closed by snow well into July. Following heavy winter snows, always call ahead to make sure pass is open or wait until later in July.

Trail conditions can change without notice. FunTreks, Inc. and its owner and employees are not responsible for injury, death, or vehicle damage as a result of using this guide. The content of this guide is the property of FunTreks, Inc. and is made available to the user pursuant to EveryTrail’s Terms of Service (

Points of Interest


Start Here

Follow Google mapping directions to this point just west of St. Elmo. A rough road climbs continuously to Tincup Pass. Lots of great campspots along this road. Don't go too early as snow often blocks the pass well into July.


Some great campspots to the right around timberline. The pass isn't much farther.

Tincup Pass

You'll cross a ledge road just before the pass. This is the last spot the snow melts. Turn around if snow blocks the road and come back another day.

Old Tincup

As you start down the other side of pass, the road is a bit rougher. Stay left at this point to follow the main trail. Old Tincup Road goes right here. It's shorter but much more difficult.

Bottom of Old Tincup

Old Tincup Pass Road reconnects here to the main route.

Water Crossing

A creek here feeds Mirror Lake. It is usually shallow and no problem, however, during heavy runoff it might be deeper. The road continues along the east side of Mirror Lake. Sometimes the water level in the lake is high enough to cover the road and you have to take a higher path above the lake.

Parking Area

Large parking area at north end of Mirror Lake. A maintained road continues downhill to town of Tincup.

Fee Campground

On left is Forest Service Campground.

Modern Vault Toilet

Modern vault toilet on right with small parking area.

Town of Tincup

Main Street intersects with major forest road 765. Left goes over Cumberland Pass to Pitkin and Alpine Tunnel. Right goes to Taylor Park and Cottonwood Pass back to Buena Vista. Spend some time in Tincup. During the summer, it's a busy little place. Don't miss the Tincup General Store. You can also eat at Frenchie's Cafe.
Pictures in this guide taken by: FunTreks, FunTreks, Inc.

Copyright 2011 FunTreks, Inc

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