July in the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado is prime time for wildflowers in the higher elevations. The most spectacular array of wildflowers we encountered this year occurred along the Pass Trail to Engineer Mountain. This trail starts at Coal Bank Pass between Durango and Silverton, Colorado.
We arrived at the trailhead early enough in the morning to snag a parking spot which can be a problem at times. The trail is well-defined and maintains a fairly steady ascent which of course means the return is downhill all the way. It’s always a plus to have the uphill hike on the outbound.
This is an extremely popular trail and the day we hiked it, at times it felt like we were part of a parade. There were lots of people, dogs and many annoying mountain bikers who felt the trail belonged to them. Apparently, they haven’t read the International Mountain Biking “Rules of the Trail” which state that they should yield to other non-motorized trail users. Since this is a pretty narrow trail most of the way, it was somewhat of an issue.
The weather was perfect for hiking, the scenery was gorgeous and the flowers were abundant.
The incredible beauty of the San Juans never fails to impress and to lift one’s spirits.