Bear Creek Canyon to Engineer Pass
How to Run Bear Creek Canyon to Engineer Pass
After the first mile, you will enter the canyon. The trail becomes 3-4 feet wide at times with vertical drops of many hundreds of feet to the side.
At mile 2.3, you’ll pass by remnants of the Grizzly Bear mine. At mile 4.2 is remnants of Yellow Jacket Mine, and a partially standing mining cabin. Around mile 2.5, the drops taper out and the terrain becomes a bit less steep off to the side.
You’ll pass through some meadows and flatter sections of trail shortly before reaching Yellow Jacket Mine near mile 4.5. Within the next half mile from Yellow Jacket mine is a couple of streams you’ll need to cross. Your feet will likely get wet.
At mile 4.7 you’ll reach a faint intersection, where the trail splits backward to the left. A sign marks this area. Continue straight the way you were going to continue through the middle of the canyon. You’ll cross a couple of stream again at mile 5.1. In both cases, the trail picks up immediately on the other shoreline.
After the second stream, the route can become more interpretive. A thin trail exists, but if any snow covers it is easy to lose. You’ll quickly rise above treeline at this point. Mile 5.6/11,600ft is treeline and you’ll be presented with a beautiful alpine tundra with clear views of Engineer Pass ahead, with the Ouray skyline behind you. Follow the faint grassy single track upward to Engineer Pass. Practice Leave No Trace ethics and do not build or add to cairns. Descend back the same way.
Climbing your first mountain or 14er is an exciting and rewarding experience! You’ll get the achievement of seeing the world from above and the feel-goods of the endorphins from the exercise. However, the mountains aren’t a walk in the park, and getting down is mandatory. Some situations require extra caution and a little know how. With a bit of preparation, you’ll be able to get to the summit and back safely.
Whether you are training for a race or simply indulging in all the wilderness has to offer, there are a variety of factors, some constant, and some changing, that are likely to have an impact on your journey. Knowing these factors can help ensure your safety and get you back to the trailhead safely.