(G & M: #465)
Engineer Mountain is a rocky little cone off the Engineer Pass Road. It can be a short, Class 1 ascent from the pass or a little longer Class 2 ascent from our suggested start. Whether coming form Lake City or Silverton, a 4WD with good clearance is required to reach the trailhead, however, there is an approach from the Lake City/Henson Creek side that may possibly be reached by 2WD with good clearance. We have sequenced Engineer Mountain with Seigal Mountain which lies to the SE along a connecting ridge.
Engineer Mountain East Ridge Route
RT From Engineer - Seigal Mtns. TH:
From the Town of Silverton, drive east on the main road through town to where the paved road splits one block past the courthouse and veer right onto the blue-signed County Road 2 (set odometer here) for 4.2 miles of nicely graded dirt road to Howardsville. (On Trails Illustrated map #141, this road is labeled #110. Pavement ends after 2 miles. This road is also known as "The Alpine Loop Road and BLM 4500.) From the Howardsville intersection, continue north another 4.3 miles to the old site of Eureka. The road will cross to the west side of the Animas River and continue up a steeper shelf section. The road begins to get a little more difficult and enters a more narrow section of the Animas River canyon. At about 10,740 ft., the valley begins to widen out again. In that location, another road heads off to the left for Picayne Gulch. It is possible to reach UN 13,075 and Hanson Peak by going up this way, but the lower section of this road is intensely steep, so only for lower gear ratio 4WD vehicles.
Continue north, still on the main road, past the two possible turnoffs for Animas Forks and keep driving another two and a half miles north to where FR878 turns off to the left. This road descends from the tundra highlands back down to US550. Do not take, but continue north toward Engineer Pass. This is where the road begins to climb steeply and 4WD with good clearance becomes necessary. At the 4th switchback, park off the curve and out of the way. This is the trailhead.
If coming from lake City on CR20 and Henson Creek, follow the directions for the American Flats TH. From that trailhead, drive the short distance to the top of Engineer Pass, round the west side of Engineer Mtn., then begin descending on CR2 toward Silverton. Park at the first switchback you come to for the same trailhead as above.
See either the camping information posted for Tuttle, Houghton, Hanson, and UN 13,075 for the Silverton side, or refer to the camping information for Sunshine Mtn. and UN 13,093 for the Lake City side.
Year Climbed: 1996
From our suggested trailhead, walk ENE up the 4WD track to a saddle on the ridge that connects Engineer and Seigal. For Engineer, turn left and head west along the ridge crest in general, following a 4WD track. The terrain is generally tundra, but if you walk the road, it will mostly be scree, chiprock, etc. The only difficulty to this hike is the final summit cone which is a short rock pile of rubble.
Return as you came, back to the saddle and then continue following the ridge to Seigal Mountain if you have the time. To make both of these peaks more sporting and interesting, we would suggest hiking them from the Henson Creek West trailhead, accessed from the Lake City side. Possible Class 2 routes can be found up Palmetto Gulch, Redcloud Gulch or Hurricane Basin. A hike up Hurricane Basin could also be used to access the high point of Gravel Mtn., UN 13,708, Animas Forks Mtn. and Wood Mountain, besides Engineer and Seigal.
Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.
"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new." Albert Einstein