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Engineer Pass and Matterhorn Creek Trailhead

Trailhead conditions, directions, roads, parking, camping, etc. Trailhead Info/Status

Engineer Pass and Matterhorn Creek Trailhead

Postby fortmyers-b » Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:51 pm

Anyone been up and over Engineer Pass lately. I have no idea what this road is about. Does my 2008 stock Explorer have a chance of survival? And do I have to obtain some type of license to travel the road? On another note, has anyone been to the Matterhorn Creek Trailhead since the rains? Just want to make sure nothing is washed out or blocked. Thanks in advance!!!

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Re: Engineer Pass and Matterhorn Creek Trailhead

Postby BlueKhan » Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:44 pm

I haven't been over Engineer lately, but I'd say your stock explorer definitely has a chance if you have some pretty good off road driving skills. It can be pretty exposed and the recent rains will probably add a bit to that. Hopefully someone chimes in on the local conditions as I might be headed that way this weekend. No license required. And I've taken my passenger car to the 4X4 turn off about a mile below Matterhorn.

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Re: Engineer Pass and Matterhorn Creek Trailhead

Postby TallGrass » Thu Sep 19, 2013 12:30 am

Simple rule: Don't drive up/down anything you don't want to do in reverse or going the other direction... because you might have to.
Not sure if I'll do more 14ers. The trip reports are too tiring. :wink:

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Re: Engineer Pass and Matterhorn Creek Trailhead

Postby PI Joe » Thu Sep 19, 2013 6:55 am

If you are only driving up to the Matterhorn access road then you should be fine. I would NOT suggest trying to drive up the Matterhorn access road past the 2WD parking lot, though. Your Explorer has just about as much clearance as most 4WD vehicles, just not as much traction. Go slow, pick your path for the wheels, and you should be fine. I've driven to the top of Cinnamon Pass, just north of Engineer in a stock 2003 Explorer.

PI Joe

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Re: Engineer Pass and Matterhorn Creek Trailhead

Postby Mark A Steiner » Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:00 am

Will you be approaching the Pass from Silverton or Ouray? Matterhorn Creek is also accessible if you drive up Henson Creek from Lake City. I can't speak for post-storm road conditions, though. :(
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatever state I am, therewith to be content - Paul the Apostle.
Good day.

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Re: Engineer Pass and Matterhorn Creek Trailhead

Postby TallGrass » Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:18 pm

PI Joe wrote:I've driven to the top of Cinnamon Pass, just north of Engineer ...

South, and a bit east.
Image Better map: http://alpineloop.com/assets/index/cover2a.jpg
Not sure if I'll do more 14ers. The trip reports are too tiring. :wink:

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Re: Engineer Pass and Matterhorn Creek Trailhead

Postby San Juan Ron » Thu Sep 19, 2013 3:28 pm

I went over Engineer today and the road is okay (no snow but a bit muddy in spots). SJ Ron :)

Re: Engineer Pass and Matterhorn Creek Trailhead

Postby BobbyFinn » Thu Sep 19, 2013 3:44 pm

I took my '04 stock (except AT tires) Explorer to the 4WD Matterhorn Creek TH a few years ago and I don't remember any issues. I drove up there this year in our '12 Xterra and it seemed rougher than I remember, but I think you could still get your Explorer up there - it's a little narrow in places so you may get some stripes on your car. There are a few, but not many, places where you could pull over and walk the rest.

Info on Engineer Pass: http://www.traildamage.com/trails/index.php?id=300

From Lake City to the top of Engineer Pass is easy 4WD. From Silverton it's more challenging. I drove it from Silverton to Lake City this year and you could probably get your Explorer to the top, but expect to hit bottom a couple of times. If I remember correctly, the switchbacks are the roughest part. Also, it's pretty narrow in spots.

Bob
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Re: Engineer Pass and Matterhorn Creek Trailhead

Postby San Juan Ron » Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:09 pm

The difficult route is from just south of Ouray off 550 to south of Engineer Pass (Mineral Creek). This route might be a challenge but going over Cinnamon Pass or Engineer Pass shouldn't be a major problem. SJ Ron :)

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Re: Engineer Pass and Matterhorn Creek Trailhead

Postby Stephen Butler » Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:28 pm

In August, I took my wife's 2wd Sante Fe about a mile past the sign that says 4wd recommended. I can't remember the exact distance but we made it to the area where the road forks (several camping areas here) and the road to the TH goes up to the driver's right. I ended up with a small tear in a tire, but I'm very inexperienced with driving these types of roads. The rest of the road looked beyond my car's ability and mine as well. We came from Lake City.

Re: Engineer Pass and Matterhorn Creek Trailhead

Postby fortmyers-b » Fri Sep 20, 2013 3:48 pm

Thank you everyone. I now have a good idea what I'm getting myself into. Have a great weekend.

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