Whew, what a wild ride I had today! My goal was simply to see how far up toward Yankee Boy Basin I could get. The answer: all the way! The road is open up to the Forest Service restroom (usually considered the end of the road except for the unrealistically hardy). That means you can get to Twin Falls and all that. There are actually some tiny wildflowers, but not even a hint of the usual wildflowers that will come in a month or so. Usually the last week in July is the best time to see Yankee Boy Basin’s incredible wildflowers, but I suspect that like everything else they’ll come early this year.
Last week Chris Miller from Ouray County Road and Bridge told me that Engineer was partially open. I decided to see just how far. Amazingly, as of today it’s open all the way to Oh! Point. But I could only get tantalizingly close to Engineer Pass itself – there was one last snow berm between me and it and I didn’t think I could get across it. But it’ll be a matter of days before its open. In the meantime, the road is open down to the Animas Forks ghost town and from there to Silverton!
Wild ride indeed. I took video of the entire ascent up Engineer Pass Road, or sometimes called Alpine Loop (although the loop is actually composed of several roads). From Hwy 550 to the east it’s Ouray CR 18. From the San Juan county border, it’s San Juan CR 17.