For those with 4WD and high clearance, Cinnamon Pass offers a great launching point for a number of 13ers in this area. There are three routes by which you can access this pass: from Lake City, from Silverton and from US550 south of Ouray but north of Red Mountain Pass. Here are brief directions for each:
From Lake City, proceed south on HWY 149 and take the turnoff to the right for Lake San Cristobal. Continue south around the lake and follow CR3 (BLM 3306) past the Williams Creek and Mill Creek campgrounds to the intersection at Sherman. (On Trails Illustrated, this is CR30) Road to here is drivable for standard passenger cars. Take the right fork and begin a steeper ascent into the upper valley. Higher clearance vehicles now advisable. It's a little over 3 miles to the Silver Creek/Grizzly Gulch trail heads used for accessing Sunshine, Redcloud and Handies. Continue just about one more mile to the trail head for Cooper Creek. Continue driving on to the summit of Cinnamon Pass. After the turnoff for American Basin, the road begins to climb more steeply and becomes rougher. Park just on the west side of the pass at the coordinates provided. There's a fairly large parking area there.
From Silverton, drive NE, up along the Animas River on State road 110, which is also BLM 4500. The road is graded dirt and well maintained past the turnoff for Howardsville and up to the old townsite of Eureka. Beyond Eureka, the road begins to deteriorate. From this point on, 4WD recommended, though some vehicles may be able to push it on up the next four miles to Animas Forks - another abandoned mining townsite. This is where you'll turn right for the Cinnamon Pass road, which is usually well marked. This road is BLM 3306 or CR5. Conditions of this road have varied over the years. On at least one occasion, we found it in such good shape, a lower clearance Subaru or similar vehicle could have easily made it. At other times, we were glad to have higher clearance 4WD. Generally speaking, the road is fairly easy, cutting through mostly high alpine tundra terrain. Again, park just on the west side of the pass.
The third option begins in Ouray where you'll drive south on US550 about 3 miles to where there's a big bend in the highway and a road turns off to the east. You will usually see any number of vehicles congregated here along with all kinds of ORV's. This is BLM 878 or CR18. This road may be driven all the way above timberline where it intersects the Engineer Pass Road (CR2) above Animas Forks where the turnoff is for Cinnamon Pass. You'll need to turn right and head down to Animas Forks to intersect the turnoff for Cinnamon Pass. We have always found BLM878 to be very rocky, slow and tedious and would rate it 4WD/high clearance only.
If coming from Lake City, there are designated, forest service campgrounds at Williams Creek and Mill Creek CG. There's also some primitive sites around Sherman. Once above Sherman, additional primitive sites may be found at the TH for Sunshine, Redcloud and Handies and again near the TH for Cooper Creek. You may even be able to find some other primitive sites or just road pull-outs further up the road past Cooper Creek and up into American Basin, but be aware of some private property issues.
If coming from the Silverton side, there are no designated campgrounds but numerous primitive sites may be found all long the Animas River from out of Silverton, all the way up to Animas Forks.