he best time to climb Jura Knob is on a clear summer morning. Unlike Engineer Mountain, plainly visible and dominating at 12,968 feet, Jura cannot be seen from Highway 550. Settled farther back, it offers views of Bolum pass above Rico, Colorado and Mineral Creek Road north of Silverton, Colorado as well as Engineer itself.
The trail is on the left side of the road and cuts up the hill quickly leaving the highway behind and shadowing hikers in the pines. The trail will follow a general easterly direction, paralleling the creek below and the ridge above.
Because the starting point for this trail is over 10,000 feet above sea level, trees quickly begin to thin and meadows take over as tree-line is reached at around 11,000 feet. Continue up through wildflowers and smaller trees to the intersection with another trail. Continue westward, strait ahead, gaining elevation and skirting the base of a larger hill.
Engineer appears as a monolith to the south and Jura Knob is not yet visible. A point will be reached when the trail begins to circumvent and descend into Engine Creek Drainage. Do not follow it. A faint trail over short grass climbing the red-dirt knoll should be followed, climbing up toward the top.
What Makes It Great
Breathtaking views without feeling claustrophobic in the wilderness, Jura Knob a well-kept secret.
From the high point, views abound. Engineer, Greyrock Peak, Sultan Mountain, Twilight Peaks, Snowdon Mountain, the Colorado Trail, Rolling Mountain, Grizzly Peak, Twin Sisters, to name a few, are all visible from the top. Enjoy the view and lunch before you begin the descent
Who is Going to Love It
Those looking for views similar to Engineer without the cliff ledge scramble to the top will appreciate the ease of this hike. Apart from rolling hills blanketed in wildflowers, the main geologic point will be Jura Knob – the red rock band that is the gateway to a flat grassy top. The trickiest part of the climb is through a narrow crack, but it just takes a confident step up. With a little help, dogs and kids alike can brave the straits.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
There is more than one way to scale the knob, but the shortest route from Durango is to drive north on Highway 550 past Purgatory Ski Resort, up Coal Bank Pass. Then, instead of parking at Engineer, continue down the pass and around the corner. After the first big right turn, there is a dirt pull-out on the right side of the road. Park here. There are no permits or fees required, but be courteous of others trying to use this parking area.