Tincup Time! – Mountain Biking and Vanlife


Tincup is a tiny little town in the Taylor Park area. I got a tip on a campsite outside of town and it looked like an excellent option just being 1 hour away from Gunnison were I have been resupplying and staging adventures.


On my way up Tincup Pass road I found this beautiful campsite next to a large meadow and babbling stream.


The weather forecast was bad and I had only 1 day with good weather so decided to take advantage of Monday and attempt a high alpine ride that I had been eyeballing.


This was a big ride. From my campsite in Tincup you climb to the shores of Mirror lake and up and over Tincup Pass. From there its a huge descent down a forest road to the ghost town of St. Elmo. After a quick visit and snack in St. Elmo I proceeded up the 7 mile long railroad grade dirt road to the Alpine Tunnel.  From here you access the CDT to ride a sweet high alpine section of trail. After some fun descending back to the forest road its a gruleing climb back over Tincup Pass before descending rough 4wd road back to camp.

The above picture was taken when I arrived to St Elmo. I looked down at my real wheel and noticed that the rim was wobbling all over the place. I stopped and checked the spokes. Every single one was loose!! I dug out my spoke wrench and snugged them back up allowing me to continue on with the ride.


There were some old mining relics up the road to the Alpine tunnel. The 7 mile road climb was nice and went by faster than I thought.


After the gravel road you hit the old railroad bed and continued up the gentle climb to about 11,000 feet.


The view start to get really good once you get on the CDT (Continental Divide Trail)


I always appreciate segments of alpine trail like this. This was a 7 mile stretch of trail and most of it is above tree line.


I got the pleasure of crossing Tincup pass twice. This is a very popular ATV area and on the way up I hit a traffic jam of about 20 ATV riders and caught myself getting pissed off and snapped at some lady in her 4 wheeler. I usually don”t like to snap at people but she saw me getting frustrated while I was waiting to get a clear path. We were only a 10th of a mile from the summit and she said “Didn’t quite know what you got yourself into… Did you?” This did not sit well with me and I replied “Yeah, So many fucking OHV’s!” It felt good to let out some of my frustration as there were just to many ATVs. And of course I knew what I was getting myself into.

I was beat after this ride. It took me a couple days to recover. 





I love my breakfast and after depleting all those calories the previous day I had to throw down.


After a relaxing and getting some rest I decided it was time to head back up to Mirror Lake and catch some dinner.  


Mirror Lake was stocked with 10″-12″ Rainbows. They were striking about every half hour and really fun to catch. This was my second time going to this spot and on the north edge of the lake there is a nice pensala that I was catching some nice ones a few days prior. When I got to the spot there were 2 elderly couples taking selfies at my fishing spot. I sat there and waited patiently, not wanting to have a conflict like I did with the ATV lady. After awhile they asked If they were in the way. I said no I was just waiting for that fishing spot and I had good luck there the other day. They were very friendly and finished taking their pictures starting moving along. As I was getting my pole ready one of the gentleman stood by and waited for me to send my first cast. It was almost like the pressure was on….. I reached back and send my bait flying through the air. As soon as my fly hit the water, Snap! I had a bite instantly and a nice 12 inch rainbow on the line that I fought me nicely while I reeled him into shore. The guy watching said “Wow you weren’t joking, this is good spot!” I smiled and enjoyed the moment of fishing glory.

East Willow Creek was beautiful and lulled me to sleep each night.

Tincup offered some amazing camping and activities but I was a bit overwhelmed with how popular it was. Outside of town there is an ATV rental company and daily there were 100 – 200 ATVs racing up and down the road behind my camp. Needless to say it got old after awhile. This was a very beautiful spot but probably wont go back due to the crowds.

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