Best time to visit Colorado

Black Bear Pass

You don't have to be crazy to drive this road, but it helps—the road sign says

Black Bear Pass in Colorado 2019 - Best Time
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© Scott Sanford

Black Bear Pass is one of the highest mountain roads of Colorado with an elevation of 3.910 m (12,840 ft), located in San Juan and San Miguel counties, Colorado. Black Bear Road is a dangerous dirt jeep trail, also called Forest Service Road 648. It starts with the Forest Road 823 at the summit of Red Mountain Pass between Ouray and Silverton at 3,358 m (11,018 ft) and ends in Telluride, Colorado.

Black Bear Pass descends through numerous switchback turns as it goes down to Telluride. It also passes such scenic spots as the highest waterfall in the state—Bridal Veil Falls. Black Bear Road is open for just a few months, roughly from mid-July to early fall, it depends on the weather conditions. It is closed for traffic for the rest of the year due to snow and ice, causing avalanches and landslides that can occur anytime. Drivers can only ride this road downhill, starting at Red Mountain Pass. It's considered a one-way route (downhill only). Once a year, during the annual Jeeper's Jamboree the traffic can go up the hill.

The road is so narrow, and its edge is so abrupt that it can give drivers shivers down the spine. Finally, the trail is marked with the infamous sign that reads: Telluride--> City of gold, 12 miles-2 hours. You don't have to be crazy to drive this road, but it helps. Jeeps only. Don't say, you haven't been warned!

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