Tunnel Lake Trail, 1439, leads south from Tincup Pass Road to the Alpine Tunnel Road near Williams Pass. The Trail is 5 miles long and leads through high-alpine areas with prolonged exposure. Users should avoid taking this trail if severe weather threatens. Some of the trail travels over alpine meadows and willow bogs where rock cairns are the only visible markers. The use of a compass and topographic map are encouraged for this route.
The Tincup Road Trailhead lies at an elevation of 11,050'. The trail climbs from this high elevation so most of the route is above tree line. (Hence the warning against traveling when severe weather threatens.) At about the 4 mile mark the trail hits its high point of 12,300'. At this high point a ridge will extend to the left (east) culminating in a summit of 12,570'. Immediately south of this ridge is Tunnel Lake, although the trail does not go directly to it. The southern terminus of the trail lies at 12,000'.
Directions from Nathrop: Southern Access: Drive 15 miles west on Chalk Creek Road (Coutny Road 162) to St. Elmo. Turn south on Hancock Road (County Road 295) and drive approximately 5.5 miles. Look for Forest Road 298 (recommended for 4WD only), which is the old railroad grade to the Alpine Tunnel. Travel 2.5 miles on this road and take the trail over the tunnel to reach the trailhead for 1439.
Directions from St. Elmo: Northern Access: From St. Elmo follow Tin Cup Pass Road (County Road 267) approximately 4 miles west to the trailhead on the southern side of the road.
July through Mid-September .