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Ouray/Telluride, Colorado, United States

Off Road Trail Maps: Black Bear Pass, Colorado

One of the most spectacular and terrifying trails in Colorado

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Difficulty: Difficult
Length: 9.8 miles / 15.8 km
Duration: Half day
Overview: Incredible views from high above Red Mountain Pass and Telluride. Close-up views of historic mines and dramatic waterfalls. Feel the mist from spectacular Bridal Veil Falls. Road is closed November through May 1. Switchbacks are one-way downhill; no return to start once you begin descent. Unlicensed vehicles should turn around before going down one-way switchbacks or have pick-up vehicle waiting at the bottom. High Point 12,800 ft., Best time to go: July-Sept. Located in San Juan and Uncompahgre National Forests. For current conditions call Norwood Ranger District (970) 327-4261.


Difficult. Most of the trail is easy to moderate. The difficult rating is based on a mile-long stretch of dangerous switchbacks above Bridal Veil Falls. Your vehicle should have low-range 4WD, good tires, good brakes, excellent articulation, and a fully functional emergency brake.

This trail is one of 100 trails from the book Guide to Colorado Backroads & 4WD Trails by FunTreks Publishing, available at

Tips: Not recommended for novice drivers. Travel with at least one other vehicle. Do not drive this trail if any snow or ice is present. Not recommended for long wheel-based vehicles. High alpine environment: take plenty water, food and warm clothing.

Trail conditions can change without notice. FunTreks, Inc. and its owner and employees are not responsible for injury, death, or vehicle damage as a result of using this guide. The content of this guide is the property of FunTreks, Inc. and is made available to the user pursuant to EveryTrail’s Terms of Service (

Points of Interest


Start of Trail

This trail starts on wide County Road 16, where you can pull over and air down your tires. Much of the trail is easy and moderate terrain. The difficult portion is on the north side of the pass as you start down the switchbacks into Telluride.

Easier Left, Harder Right

You can go either way at this fork. Left is the bypass with a few moderate ledges. Right goes up a bigger ledge, but still isn't that difficult for a modified vehicle.

Summit of Black Bear Pass

Road curves to right as you drop downhill and is a bit easier for a while. Plenty of room at the top for large groups.

One-Way Portion Begins

A sign marks the point of no return. One way from this point down. Unlicensed vehicles should not proceed unless they have transport vehicle at the bottom. I've seen some ATVs get away with riding through Telluride and going back over Imogene Pass, but this is illegal and brings you out in a totally different place.

Bridal Veil Falls

ne of the most photographed points on this route, you must get a picture of your truck in front of Bridal Veil Falls. If you have time, you can pull forward and take a tour of the pumphouse.
Pictures in this guide taken by: FunTreks, FunTreks, Inc.

Off Road Trail Maps: Black Bear Pass, Colorado Map

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