Cumberland Pass

38°41’21”N
106°29’03”W
12,015 FEET
(3,662 M)
GRAVEL
BETWEEN PITKIN/TIN CUP
Cumberland Pass Elevation

Cumberland Pass is in the Cumberland Mountains between Pitkin and Tin Cup. The pass generally opens before Memorial Day and closes before the first winter snowfall.

Suggested Route (Gravel) 34.8 miles

Begin your ride in Parlin
Head northeast on CR 76 to Pitkin--mile 15
Travel through Pitkin and CR 76 turns into FR 765
Continue on FR 765 to Cumberland Pass Summit--mile 26.3
Finish in Tincup--mile 34.8

THE CLIMB

From Tin Cup, the dirt road climbs through beautiful pine forests and winds its way upward through many sharp curves and switchbacks. The road is generally in good condition although it can get bumpy (MTB advised). Eventually, the road moves above the tree line and the view is stunning. At the summit, you can view over 50 miles of the Continental Divide and many abandoned mines in the area. The road remains an adrenaline-pumping journey and is not for the faint of lungs, heart, or legs.

NEARBY TOWNS

Pitkin, 10.9 miles to the south
Tincup, 5.4 miles to the north

FUN FACTS

Cumberland Pass is identified on an 1888 Rand McNally map. Rand McNally began publishing educational maps in 1880 with its first line of maps, globes, and geography textbooks, soon followed by a world atlas.

 

Cumberland also comes from a county in England. This pass is one of the highest standard car road for summer use in the nation.

HISTORY

The pass was constructed in 1882 to connect Tin Cup to Pitkin and the Denver South Park and Pacific Railroad. This was the route many mining camps used to take their gold and silver ore to the railroad for transport to Gunnison Colorado’s smelters. Dozens of mining sites dot the mountainsides on this route, the most prominent is the Bon Ton mine. This mine is just below Cumberland’s summit on the way down to Pitkin.

 

Frenchy’s Café, the only place to eat in Tin Cup, is located at the trailhead of Cumberland Pass. French was an old prospector who decided he could make more money selling whisky than looking for gold. The original saloon consisted of a plank set across two barrels. Eventually he moved his operation indoors and began serving food. Local legend says that Frenchy enjoyed his grub and grew to enormous size. When he died, residents had to cut out a wall to remove his body for burial.