Taylor Park to Tincup Pass
Side by Side, ATV, Motorcycles & Jeeps Trails
If you are in the Taylor Park area, Tincup Pass is a must. The trail starts out in the town of Tincup and climbs past the beautiful Mirror Lake on its way to the pass. Just like most of the lakes in this area, Mirror Lake is well stocked with fish. I've been luck enough to ride this trail several different times. It is worth checking with the Forest Service to see if the trails in the area are open, depending on the years snowpack the trails could be closed well after the 4th of July holiday. If the weather permits and the passes are open you can make a loop from Tincup Pass to Handcock Pass to Cumberland Pass. This large loop and will take all day so plan ahead. For dirt bikers the Timberline Trail also connects to this trail near Mirror Lake.
Frenchy's Cafe is located at the start of the trail in Tincup. The Frenchy's restaurant serves a great breakfast and is a very historic place to checkout. While you are there buy one of their books on the history of Tincup and it will explain the history of many of the mines the trail passes by. I always find a UTV trip to be more interesting when I know something of the local history.
If you are like me camping was cool when I was a kid, but now I would much prefer a bed. I was able to rent this house and found it much more comfortable than laying on the ground. A quick check on VRBO might make the difference between a comfortable trip and something much less.
When we renting this Polaris RZR we thought it was the greatest thing man had ever invented and maybe it was at that point in time but now my Polaris RZR Pro 4 makes this 800 seam insignificant.
Mirror Lake is a great place to stop and take a break or maybe try your luck at some lake trout along the Tincup Pass Jeep Road.
For dirt bikers the Timberline Trail also connects to into the trail to Tincup Pass near the lake.
There is a camping area at Mirror Lake. We were able to drive our 2-wheel drive truck all the way to the camping area with no problems, but don't expect to continue past the lake in a stock vehicle.
During the spring thaw the water in Mirror Lake floods the trail. In some parts the water was up to the hubs on our dirt bikes. UTVs and ATVs should have no problem getting through. This picture was taken on July 1st.
Same location as above on September 14th. No water on trail!
Picture from the top end of Mirror Lake. The ATV trail becomes more difficult once you leave the lake. You will begin to wonder how stage coaches ever made the trip over this route. Maybe the trail was smother a long time ago before years of erosion have taken its toll.
Colorado wild flowers along the trail. If I am correct I believe this flower is known as the Columbine, it was located high in the mountains near Tin Cup Pass
View of the Jeep road as it nears Tincup Pass. Notice how the trees are starting to thin out. The tree line is around 12,000 feet in this area. With such a short growing season, plants have a hard time making much progress.
A small 4x4 SUV descending the trail from the pass in fall colors. We were able to easily drive our Silverado to mirror lake for a fishing trip and were able to give our butts a break from UTVing. After the lake the trail becomes much more difficult and four wheel drive and special tire placement will be required.
ATVs just starting down from Tincup Pass. No trees at 12,154 ft, there isn't much oxygen for you either. A few times I felt as if I lost my breath for no reason.
If you can get on the trail before the snow does, mid September is a great time to visit Tin Cup Pass.
As always we are riding a rental UTV from Colorado Adventure Rentals which always has the newest and best ATVs and UTVs around.
Beautiful Tincup Pass. A great ATV adventure for people staying at Taylor Reservoir.
Large snow mound blocking the trail in early July. Unfortunately we were able to continue past this point, its always best to check ahead the USFS to know the conditions. In the distance you can see the rest of the trail as it continues to the small ghost town of St. Elmo.
From Taylor Park Reservoir the road to the town of Tincup is well marked and is a main road, well for a dirt road. Once in town you will want to follow FS 267 to the pass, once again roads are all well marked. After cresting the pass you will eventually reach the small ghost town of St. Elmo.