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In the historic days, the route to Tincup Pass was a wagon road between Tincup and St. Elmo. But today Tincup Pass is one of the most popular 4-wheel-drive destinations in the region.
Beginning at the St. Elmo Ghost Town, a bumpy, rocky road for approximately 4.5 miles travels west as it ascends the valley beside Chalk Creek. An ordinary stock Jeep, 4-wheel-drive vehicle or ATV is capable of reaching the top.
At the pass, you’ll be on the Continental Divide at 12,154 feet in elevation. This is the great divider of watersheds between the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy the stunning views of the rugged mountains. Note the wildlife that may be in the vicinity, including marmots that live among the rocks. Have a picnic if the weather is nice, and definitely do not forget your camera!
From Tincup Pass, many 4-wheelers continue west toward Mirror Lake and the town of Tincup at seven more miles. From there, you can return the way you came. Another option is to continue north and west toward Taylor Park and complete a loop by returning via Cottonwood Pass to Buena Vista.
Directions to St. Elmo: At the town of Nathrop on Highway 285 in Chaffee County, travel west on County Road 162 toward the mountains. Continue in the canyon. The road enters the heart of St. Elmo at twelve miles. In town, follow the signs to Tincup Pass.