Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Snowshoeing Nellie Creek and Cinnamon Pass Roads near Lake City, Colorado

         Checklist of requirements for winter fun:

         1)   A reliable vehicle:
               √ Our Toyota FJ fits the bill.

         2)   Snowshoes:
               √ Atlas snowshoes with their easy in-and-out bindings work on all types and depths
               of snow.

         3)   A snow-loving dog:
               √ Annie the winter wonder dog is always ready to go.

         4)   Access to the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado:
               √  From our Lake City cabin it's a short drive to endless alpine terrain.

         Our checklist complete, it's time to select snowshoeing destinations.
         First stop, Nellie Creek Road, west of town along the Alpine Loop backcountry byway.  During summer and fall Nellie Creek Road serves as the gateway to Uncompaghre Peak and surrounding wilderness areas.  The rugged four-wheel drive road is closed to vehicles during winter and the aspen-lined lane is perfect for snowshoes.
         Second stop, Cinnamon Pass Road, south of Lake City past Lake San Cristobal.   On its way to the 12,640' summit, Cinnamon Pass Road cuts through steep hillsides and offers jaw-dropping mountain views.

         Let the snowshoe adventures begin!

Winter fun criteria are met:
Toyota FJ Cruiser (center); Mountains (surrounding the FJ);
Snowshoes (to the right of vehicle); Dog (Annie in the foreground).

         First, Nellie Creek Road:

Annie loves digging into, and romping in, the snow.

Rita composes a photo while Annie looks on.

Tim and Annie round a corner on the return to the trailhead.

Bright white aspens.  Bright blue sky.  What's not to like?

Aspens, and one perfect-sized Christmas tree,
line Nellie Creek Road.

         Next, the glorious Cinnamon Pass Road:

Hazards of mountain travel.  Freeze-thaw cycles can create pressure in the rock walls,
causing boulders to fall.   You hope this does NOT happen while you're there.

Annie runs back to greet me while Tim treks onward and upward
on Cinnamon Pass Road.

The turn-around spot.
Notice the untracked snow behind us.