Trailhead:  American Basin
San Juan Mountains
 Posted By:  Bullwinkle
 Date of Info:  09/06/2011
 Date Posted:  09/09/2011
Attempted American Basin from Ouray, via US 550 (Million Dollar Road) to Silverton, then Rt 2 to Cinnamon Pass. Total transit to final west side ascent of Cinnamon Pass was 36 miles/75 minutes. Pass though the center of Silverton to the end of town, then branch right on Rt 2. The first 2 miles are paved, then 6 miles of excellent graded road, then 3.4 miles of rough 4WD road (11.4 miles total from Silverton) to the Cinnamon Pass marked turn-off. This where it gets interesting. Complete a short ascent to the level rest area. After this, the road is narrow, single track with a nasty, deeply rutted area about 100 yards above the level area below. Given the rental GMC Canyon 4WD (Chevy Colorado) I was driving, an all-day rain event, and the consequences of failure, I elected to retreat and try again another day from Lake City. The running ground clearance, approach, departure, and break-over angles; and the wide turning radius of this type of vehicle are not adequate for this route. Safe passage will require a true off-road, high ground clearance vehicle. BTW, off-road Jeeps are readily available in Ouray for $150, plus tax and gas.

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