Cumberland Pass  
Maps:        
USGS 7.5' Map: Cumberland Pass, Whitepine, Pitkin
Statistics:
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Graded FR 765 27.05 9,280 - 12,020 ft. NA 1 hour
County: Gunnison
Adopted by:      
Managed by: Grand Mesa/Uncompahgre/Gunnison National Forest
Gunnison Ranger District
216 N. Colorado
Gunnison, CO 81230
970-641-0471
Summary: Cumberland Pass connects Pitkin with Tincup. It follows North Quartz Creek to the saddle between Green Mountain and Napoleon Mountain, then heading down West Willow Creek to Tincup.
Attractions: Scenery, Pass
Seasonal
Closure:
Natural - Cumberland Pass is closed by heavy snows
Best Time: June - Best, possible snow drifts
July - Best
August - Best
September - Best, fall colors
October - Best
Trail Heads
Accessed:
 
Camping: There are dispersed camp sites on both sides of the pass. As you get to Tincup you will encounter areas closed to camping.
Base Camp: This would be a good area to base camp to explore the roads in Taylor Park and around Pitkin.
Fall Colors: Average - The lower parts of the pass will offer some views. The top of the pass is open and wind swept.
Navigation: From Parlin, CO head east on County Rd 76 for 14.7 miles. Continue onto Main Street in Pitkin and go 0.7 miles. Main Street turns right and becomes 9th Street. Turn left onto State Street and go 0.3 miles. Continue onto County Rd 76 for 0.4 miles. Continue onto Forest Service Rd 765, this is the start of the Cumberland Pass road.

From Gunnison, CO head north on CO-135 N/N Main Street for 10 miles. Turn right onto County Rd 742 and go 23 miles. Turn right onto County Rd 765 and go 1.9 miles. Turn left to stay on County Rd 765 and go 6.1 miles, through the town of Tin Cup and stay with County Rd 765 to start the Cumberland Pass road.
History: Cumberland Pass had a pack trail originally, where burros hauled supplies in and ore out of the Tincup mining district. In 1882 the trail was widened to a wagon road over the 12,000 foot pass. This allowed direct access from the Tincup area to the Denver, South Park, and Pacific railroad that came over the Alpine Tunnel to Pitkin. There were lots of mines on both sides of the pass which used Cumberland Pass to transport ore and bring in supplies. Past the first switchback on the Pitkin side was the Bon Ton Mine. The first automobile crossed Cumberland Pass in 1905, but it had to be pulled by a team of horses part way. In 1935 the Civilian Conservation Corps improved the road. In the 1950s it was upgraded again.

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.
Description:
Starting in Parlin the Cumberland Pass road will head northeast out of town following North Quartz Creek. You will pass, on the right, the road up Middle Quartz Creek, FR767, which ends at a campground. Just past this intersection is another intersection to the right to the Alpine Tunnel, FR839, road.

From this point you will be heading north along North Quartz Creek. The road is two lane graded gravel, but will be rough in some sections due to the amount of traffic. At about six miles from the Alpine Tunnel intersection will be a right to the Napoleon Pass, FR540, road. After this intersection the road will turn west passing the Bon Ton Mine and then doing a switchback to start the climb up the ridge of Green Mountain. There will be a total of three switchbacks before a long stretch to the pass.
Bon Ton Mine in 1989

photo by:
Adam M

Bon Ton Mine in 1989

photo by:
Adam M

Bon Ton Mine in 1989

photo by:
Adam M

At Cumberland Pass the road will cross a wide saddle between Green Mountain and Napoleon Mountain. From the top of the pass there are a few roads heading off in different directions. The one to the far right is County Road 765J, which goes to Tincup. The main road continues down hill crossing areas above timberline that had been mined in the past. Once you get down to the trees you will do four switchbacks to get down to the valley of West Willow Creek. This section of road can be very rough later in the year due to the large amount of recreation traffic through the summer.

The road will now head down West Willow Creek for about five miles. You will enter an area that has restricted camping as you get closer to Tincup. There will be an intersection on the left with Slaughterhouse Gulch, FR764, which heads to Union Park. About a mile past this intersection you will come to the town of Tincup.
Data updated - November 30, 2017     4WD Road driven - September 3, 2014     Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2017