Cinnamon Pass  
USGS 7.5' Map: Handies Peak, Redcloud Peak
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Easy 3 Hinsdale CR30
San Juan CR5
12.04 9,700 to 12,615 ft. Rocky, Ledge Road 3-4 hours
County: Hinsdale, San Juan
Adopted by:      
Managed by: Hinsdale County
San Juan County
311 N. Henson Street, Lake City, CO 81235
1557 Greene St., Silverton, CO 81433
Summary: Cinnamon Pass is a historic pass between the ghost town of Sherman and the ghost town of Animas Forks. It is part of the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway. It is a scenic road following the Gunnison River through Burrows Park before quickly climbing over the Continental Divide and following Cinnamon Creek down to the Animas River.
Attractions: Scenery, History, Ghost Towns
Natural - Closed by heavy snows
Best Time: July - Late after spring snow melt
August - Best
September - Best
October - May be snowed closed
Trail Heads
Grizzly Gulch
American Basin
Silver Creek
Cooper Creek
Camping: Their are a few dispersed sites around the Burrows Park area. The west side of the pass has none.
Base Camp: This would be a good area to base camp. Other 4WD roads in the area include Engineer Pass, Wager Gulch, and Jarosa Mesa.
Fall Colors: Good - The east side of Cinnamon Pass along Burrows Park will have the best fall colors.
Navigation: From Silverton, CO head northeast on County Rd 2/Greene Street for 0.3 miles. Turn right onto County Rd 2 and go 8.1 miles. Take a slight left to stay on County Rd 2 and go 3.9 miles. Turn sharp right onto County Rd 5, the Cinnamon Pass road.

From Lake City, CO head south on Colorado-149/Gunnison Ave and go 2.6 miles. Turn right onto County Rd 30 and go 12.1 miles to an intersection with County Rd 35. Turn right to stay on County Rd 30, the Cinnamon Pass road.
History: Cinnamon Pass was used in 1860 by Charles Baker to access the area where Silverton is today when he was exploring for gold. Baker Park was started in the broad valley that is now the site of Silverton. In 1874 the Hayden Survey party crossed Cinnamon Pass and passed through Baker Park, now on its way to its mining boom. The survey team did not feel that Cinnamon Pass would make a viable wagon route due to its altitude and steepness. With the need for access from the east to the mines of the San Juans, Enos Hotchkiss began work on just such a wagon road. In 1877 the wagon road was completed and it became an important link between Lake City and the Animas valley. It even had a phone line strung over from Animas Forks to Lake City.

On the east side the pass road passes through a few old mining towns like Sherman, Whitecross, and Burrows Park.

Sherman was started by A. D. Freeman around 1877. By 1880 the mines were producing gold, silver, copper and lead with the Black Wonder being the largest. A cloudburst in the 1890s took out a lot of the town and altered the course of the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River.

Burrows Park, named after Charles Burrows who prospected here in 1873, was laid out in the valley of the headwaters of the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River. Whitecross was the name of another small camp a quarter mile away. In 1882 the post office in the valley was changed from Burrow Park to Whitecross. By the 1900s Whitecross was boasting a population of 300. By 1901 the Tobasco Company had built a 100 ton mill to process ore from the Tobasco, Bonhomme, and Champion mines.

Koch, Don. The Colorado Pass Book, 3rd ed. Boulder, Colorado: Pruett, 2000. Print.
Helmuth, Ed and Gloria. The Passes of Colorado Boulder, Colorado: Pruett, 1994. Print.
Wolle, Muriel. Stampede to Timberline, 2nd ed. Athens, Ohio: Swallow Press, 1974. Print.
Starting from the east side the Cinnamon Pass road is a shelf road that follows the Gunnison River. It begins where County Road 30 continues west just before the intersection that takes you to the ghost town of Sherman. The road travels around White Cross Mountain following the Gunnison River and passing Sunshine Mountain to the east. The river vally is narrow with lots of side gulches.

The first point of interest is a trail head for the Grizzly Gulch and Silver Creek trail. There is a parking area with an outhouse. As you continue around the north side of Whitecross Mountain you will pass through Burrows Park. There will be old tailings from the mining that took place here in the past. As the road continues around Whitecross Mountain there will be a road to the left at an intersection just before a switchback. This left turn will head to a dead end in American Basin. American Basin is a destination for taking wildflow pictures in the summer months. Stay to the right and follow the switchback to stay on the Cinnamon Pass road.

As you climb and enter a stand of trees you will drive another switchback and pass the remains of a large mine. Just past the mine are four more switchbacks that will take you abover timberline. The road will continue to climb around the edge of Edith Mountain and do a final wide switchback before reaching Cinnamon Pass between Cinnamon Mountain to your south, Edith Mountain to the north east and Wood Mountain to the northwest.
Cinnamon Pass looking east

photo by:
Adam M

Cinnamon Pass

photo by:
Adam M

From the top of Cinnamon Pass you will head down into a treeless basin heading toward Cinnamon Creek. You will cross Cinnamon Creek and continue down this short gulch heading toward Animas Forks. After coming around the side of Wood Mountain you will enter the Animas River Valley and will see the ghost town of Animas Forks. At the intersection take the sharp left turn onto the road heading south down the Animas River Valley toward Silverton.
Data updated: April 8, 2018     4WD Road driven: July 26, 2010     Copyright - 2000-2018