Potential Day Route 1: Tincup/Cumberland/Hancock passes.

All links below lead to information about trails and landmarks  It was easier this way rather than copying and pasting a ton of stuff thats better presented elsewhere. This is one of the routes I would like to take during the expedition. The core route will be fairly easy for any driver and all by the daintiest driveway queen. Various side routes exist that may or may not be taken based on vehicles present and the confidence level of the drivers. Its possible that we may visit this area twice because of the abundance of excellent trails and scenery. Anyone is of course free to take off on a tangent at any time. I would only suggest you don’t go alone or understand that if you break down or get stuck, you could be waiting a while for someone to come by who has the ability to help.  Approximately 1 hour and fifteen minutes from Fairplay by road is the well preserved ghost town of StElmo. Photograph opportunities abound here as well as a general/antique store, a large population of tape chipmunks and squirrels and a huge hummingbird population. This is also the launching point for some of the best 4×4 trails in area, ranging from quiet gravel drives to the punishing Iron Chest Trail  that very few make it out of without some sort of damage. If you are interested, here’s more on Iron Chest. I did it once long ago and I’m not sure I ever need to again. The plan is to drive a large loop as a day trip, from StElmo over Tin Cup Pass to the ghost town of Tin Cup at 10,100ft. If folks are interested, there is a lunch possibility at Frenchy’s cafe which has allegedly been in operation in the same location as a tavern, casino, brothel and now restaurant for over 140 years. From Tin Cup we will proceed over the scenic but well graded Cumberland Pass road passing a few miles of photogenic old mine ruins. In this area there are several dozen side trails that we may ride if time allows. From Cumberland pass we will start up the Alpine Tunnel railroad grade. If any are interested we can finish the trail to the tunnel portal and see the engineering marvel, The Palisades. Returning to the split we will continue over Hancock Pass, down through the ghost towns of Hancock and Romney, returning to StElmo. Depending on what time we get back to StElmo ther are numerous trails that can be followed, but the tendency for late afternoon storms may limit travel on many. Pomeroy Gulch is a moderate trail that has steep rocky sections but an amazing payoff view. Baldwin Lake is a moderately long trudge over a lot of loose rocks and some narrow goat trails on tree covered ledges that leads to a idyllic alpine basin with a lake. Mt Antero is an unlikely candidate in that afternoon storms are almost guaranteed, but if the weather seems to cooperate, you can drive to 13,800ft. just 400ft shy of the summit. Antero is featured prominently on several reality shows because of its rather vast gem deposits at the peak. What we do will depend entirely on weather and how quickly or slowly we make the main loop. If interested, we can also plan a second day and return to the area to cover some of the secondary trails. an alternate return route exists near Hancock pass that takes you over Tomichi Pass and past hundreds of old mining sites and side roads. This road is rated difficult not for obstacles or or rock climbing, but because its got a long stretch of steep climb where no passing is possible, so navigating traffic is sometimes difficult and less experienced drivers will suffer from the “white knuckle effect” due to the steep drop off on one side. This is an optional route that ALL must be comfortable with before we proceed. Antero also has a number of “white knuckle” sections that drivers will need to determine their confidence level on. Antero is drivable with any stock 4×4 however the driver tends to be the limiting factor.

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