Traveling the Alpine Loop in Colorado has slid into my “Top 5” favorites, the beauty is awe-inspiring. The perfectly cool weather (we went in August), the views, the endless outdoor activities, the places to explore, the fresh air, even the clouds; the list of “why’s” could go on and on. It’s impossible to capture it adequately on video or photo. If you love the outdoors, make the trip!
Below are some details of our most recent trip to the Alpine Loop!
Where We Stayed
I suggest booking ahead of time because a couple of months lead time was not enough to get our top pick cabin, we couldn’t be picky. We had eight people and ended up in a three bedroom, one bath cabin. Book your cabin closer to a year out to have more options! June-September is prime time to make this trip. Locations near the loop to look for lodging are: Lake City, Ouray, or Silverton. Lake City being the ideal spot as it’s in the middle of the Alpine Loop. They also allow UTV/ATVs to be driven into town, making it very convenient to explore. We ended up staying in Creede, Colorado, which was an hour out and we will do it differently for the next trip.
Side Note: There are a lot of areas to camp along the loop. We saw a lot of tent campers and RVers!
You may read that it takes 8 hours to do the Alpine Loop. This is not taking into consideration any of the side trails or activities available to you. You’re not going off-road at all if it only takes you 8 hours. Plan on two full days to do the Alpine Loop. The side trails are really neat and you don’t want to feel rushed in such a relaxing place! The place we stayed was so far away that we only managed to do half the loop. Tacking on the commute upped the likelihood of car sickness and the elevation changes are hard on your brakes when you’re toting a trailer behind you (we brought our own ATV), so we limited our drive time. A 4×4 vehicle would allow you to easily traverse the entire loop and renting an ATV/UTV would remove the trailer from the equation, making braking of no concern. Side trails aren’t super wide, so an ATV/UTV is necessary to fully explore the area.
Just a note on the restroom situation, there are port-a-potties every so many miles. They’re nice port-a-potties, well maintained, but they do smell like a port-a-pottie. I always had on a neck gaiter, so I’d just put it over my nose for a bathroom trip. No showers or anything like that if you are planning to tent camp, you’ll be roughing it for the most part.
There is hardly any service at all, no matter your cellphone carrier. This makes Walkie Talkies invaluable when traveling with a group. You won’t have reception unless you’re in town or close to town.
It’s easy to plan a trip with a map of the area, but some names of parts we enjoyed are: Engineer Pass, the city of Silverton, Bachelor’s Loop in Creede, and Last Chance Mine.