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.


  1. Rita . . . you're killing me here with that way beyond gorgeous scenery! In my humble opinion, any one of those photos could be an award winner. I particularly was taken with the bright white aspens against the bright blue sky.

    Superb blog posting!


    1. The subject matter in the San Juan Mountains can transform almost any photo into an award-winning shot! That being said, I do appreciate your kind comments, John.
      P.S. The aspen picture is a favorite of mine as well.

  2. Such beautiful pictures! I can almost take a lungful of that crisp, clear mountain air

    1. It feels so good to take a deep breath and be rewarded with the scent of pine and spruce.
      Thanks for your comments, Soumyendu!

  3. Rita, I've already told you how much I appreciate your skillful words and photography; but I don't think you know how much I respect Tim, you, and Annie for the way you take advantage of the beautiful outdoor scenery that surrounds you no matter where you are or which season it is.

    1. I once heard the phrase: "It's not the weather, it's the clothing."
      That's so true. With the right clothing and the right gear anyone can enjoy themselves in the outdoors no matter the season or the weather. And that's what we aim to do!
      I appreciate your respect, Janet!

  4. Hi Rita,

    How wonderful to have these closed roads so close for x-c skiing and enjoying the beautiful scenery.

    Annie looks like she's having a blast with all that snow!

    I echo your other commenters in thrall to your photos - it's definitely time for a One Day in America photo calendar...

    Happy Trails!!

    1. Yes, Annie has a blast in the snow; I believe winter is her favorite season.
      Those high mountain roads which are impassable during winter are perfect for non-motorized winter recreation.

      As for the calendar—Tim and I create our own photo calendar every year using iPhoto. Now, if we could just figure out a cost-effective way to mass produce them!

      Thanks for being a loyal follower, Vickie.