|USGS 7.5' Map:||Garfield|
|Managed by:||Gunnison National Forest,
Gunnison Ranger District
|216 N. Colorado
Gunnison, CO 81230
|Attractions:||History, Mining, Scenery|
|Natural||Nature - closed by heavy snows.
|Best Time:|| June- Early, upper part may
still be snowed in
July - Best
August - Best
September - Fall colors mid to late September
October - Closed by early snows
|Camping:||Some camping on the north end near Tincup. The center and southern half are steeper and offer less opportunities for camping.|
|Base Camp:||Napoleon Pass would be a day trip from the Taylor Park area to the north or from the Pitkin area to the south.|
|Fall Colors:||Poor - Napoleon Pass is in pine
Tincup, CO head south on County Rd 765
toward County Rd 765P. After 0.3 miles there is a slight left toward
County Rd 765N. Continue straight onto County Rd 765N and go past the
Tincup Cemetary road, a left turn. Continue on FR 953, Napoleon Pass
From Pitkin, CO head northeast on Main Street toward 6th St 0.4 miles. Turn left onto State Street for 0.3 miles. Continue on County Rd 76 for 0.4 miles. Continue on Forest Service Rd 765 for 6.1 miles. Turn right onto Forest Service road 540, Napoleon Pass road.
|History:||At the north end of the 4WD road
near Tin Cup is the cemetary for the
town. It is called "The Cemetary of Four Knolls" with each knoll
representing a different group, Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant. The
fourth and most used in the early days was for those with no religion.
Discovered in the early 1880's the Gold Cup mine was a large operation south of Tin Cup which produced $7,000,000 in gold and silver. It kept producing through the mild recession in the mid 1880's and didn't close down until 1917.
The road over Napoleon Pass was used to haul ore down to Pitkin where the railroad ran up and through the Alpine Tunnel and down to St. Elmo then on out to Buena Vista.
the north end of Napoleon Pass road out of Tincup you will pass the
Tincup Cemetary and continue along a wide meadow before entering the
forest again. The road will continue to wind through small openings in
the forest as you follow Middle Willow Creek. After about 3 miles you
will come to a small meadow with the remains of the Gold Cup Mine. The
tailing pile, steam engine, and ore chute are on one side of the meadow
with the miners quarters on the other.
Just past the Gold Cup Mine is an intersection. The right is the continuation of FR 953.1 which dead ends in 0.5 miles. To the left is FT 540 that continues to Napoleon Pass and presents the obstacle for this route. You must cross a wide and muddy section of Middle Willow Creek that appears to be very deep. Approach this crossing with care because it is deep as it appears.
Once across the creek you will pass through a section of private property with a gate before climbing into a heavily forested area known as Bone Basin.
After reaching timberline you will have Napoleon Pass in view flanked by Napoleon Mountain on one side and Fitzpatrick Peak on the other. From the top of Napoleon Pass you will have views to the north of the Taylor Park valley surrounded by the Collegiate Peaks.
After dropping over the south side of Napoleon Pass you will travel just less than a mile before coming to an intersection at the bottom of a short switchback. To the right is FT 540.1A that goes one mile up to the tailings of an old mine. The the left will continue on FT 540 and come to another intersection after 0.75 miles. To the left is FR 763.3A which only goes a short distance to private property. To the right, or continuing down hill, is FT 540. You will begin a descent crossing Graphite Creek twice before connecting with FR 765. From here a right will take you back over Cumberland Pass to Tincup, or a left will take you to Pitkin.
|Data updated 05/03/12 4WD Road driven 09/05/10 Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2012|