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Black Bear Pass Trail

HARD 8 reviews
#10 of 60 trails in

Black Bear Pass Trail is a 9.2 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Telluride, CO that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from July until October.

9.2 miles 1827 feet Point to Point

kid friendly

birding

nature trips

off road driving

scenic driving

walking

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

washed out

One of the most spectacular and terrifying trails in Colorado. 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. 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.


19 days ago

off road driving

Very difficult trail. Visitors should not attempt. As a local I'm not a fan. The switchbacks are too tight.


1 month ago


1 year ago

off road driving

We drove up to the point you can on the pass from Telluride and hiked up to the valley following the road. Completely gorgeous, secluded, stunning views. Can completely understand why the area was sacred to the Ute indians. Driving west to east is impossible, east to west would be very, very hairy. Gnarly staircase type rocks to climb down in the one way area beginning shortly above the falls over Telluride. If you can't make the drive over then drive up the set of allowed switchbacks on the west side and hike up (allow 3-6 hours for hiking) as it may be one of the best hikes in Colorado. Also recommend the hike out the south gate at the top of the drive-able area, you'll go past the old mill and with about 2-3 hours of hiking reach Blue Lake at the base of Three Needles. We didn't make it up that far, but both valleys up there are unforgettable.


2 years ago

hiking

This trail has great views of Telluride plus a waterfall at the end. Even though it is primarily used for off road driving, it is frequently used by hikers and mountain bikers. Highly recommend if you only have time to do one hike.


2 years ago

off road driving

This is one of my favorite trails in southwestern Colorado! This isn't exactly the longest trail but it should only be attempted by those who are experienced and are very comfortable with off-road driving. The trail is only a one-way trail past a certain point (pretty much the summit of the trail) so just know you must start the trail from Highway 550 and then you'll drop right down into Telluride. As you begin the trail, you're already at Red Mountain Pass so it doesn't take that long to get above the tree line and above 12,000 ft. There is really only one obstacle on the way up the trail known as "The Waterfall" and it usually will have flowing water coming down it and it isn't bad at all. In a stock 4x4 vehicle with high clearance, you may scrape here or there but you wont ever high center or anything. Now once you reach the actual Black Bear Pass, you can turn around here or you can continue down the trial towards Telluride but there is no going back! (Okay you COULD turn around later but just save yourself and others the trouble of passing on narrow shelf roads.) So as you start down the trail, it is pretty easy driving and you most likely will never have oncoming traffic but there are narrow sections so be careful. As you get closer to the switchbacks which this trail is famous for, you will have some tippy spots and you may even have some steep spots depending on which way you go but most of the time you can spot the easiest route. But once you get to the beginning of the switchbacks, you'll know you're at the point they call "The Steps" or even "Pucker Point". Here it seems as if the road just is going down and over into oblivion, and there is a rock wall on your right side with a drop of on your left, so it may be wise to have a good spotter out there helping you if you're worried about tire placement. After you've completed "The Steps" you'll go down the road a little and you'll reach the first switchback of many, now with these, I highly recommend using a spotter because you WILL have to do some backing up to get around the corners. Not too long ago, there was actually a couple in a rental Jeep who went off the trail at one of these switchbacks and they both were thrown out of the vehicle and killed and the Jeep was just a ball of metal, so BE CAREFUL! The road is narrow at some points and I highly recommend not doing this trail when it is stormy as the trail and rocks that you're driving on can be slick but is you take your time, everything will be OKAY!


2 years ago

off road driving

This is one of my favorite trails in southwestern Colorado! This isn't exactly the longest trail but it should only be attempted by those who are experienced and are very comfortable with off-road driving. The trail is only a one-way trail past a certain point (pretty much the summit of the trail) so just know you must start the trail from Highway 550 and then you'll drop right down into Telluride. As you begin the trail, you're already at Red Mountain Pass so it doesn't take that long to get above the tree line and above 12,000 ft. There is really only one obstacle on the way up the trail known as "The Waterfall" and it usually will have flowing water coming down it and it isn't bad at all. In a stock 4x4 vehicle with high clearance, you may scrape here or there but you wont ever high center or anything.

Now once you reach the actual Black Bear Pass, you can turn around here or you can continue down the trial towards Telluride but there is no going back! (Okay you COULD turn around later but just save yourself and others the trouble of passing on narrow shelf roads.) So as you start down the trail, it is pretty easy driving and you most likely will never have oncoming traffic but there are narrow sections so be careful. As you get closer to the switchbacks which this trail is famous for, you will have some tippy spots and you may even have some steep spots depending on which way you go but most of the time you can spot the easiest route. But once you get to the beginning of the switchbacks, you'll know you're at the point they call "The Steps" or even "Pucker Point". Here it seems as if the road just is going down and over into oblivion, and there is a rock wall on your right side with a drop of on your left, so it may be wise to have a good spotter out there helping you if you're worried about tire placement.

After you've completed "The Steps" you'll go down the road a little and you'll reach the first switchback of many, now with these, I highly recommend using a spotter because you WILL have to do some backing up to get around the corners. Not too long ago, there was actually a couple in a rental Jeep who went off the trail at one of these switchbacks and they both were thrown out of the vehicle and killed and the Jeep was just a ball of metal, so BE CAREFUL! The road is narrow at some points and I highly recommend not doing this trail when it is stormy asthe trail and rocks that you're driving on can be slick but is you take your time, everything will be OKAY!


3 years ago

off road driving

My son and I did this trail as part of a summer vacation. We entered from the Ouray/Silverton side. Alpine scenery and landscapes all the way over to the point of no return. (The road becomes one way and there's no turning back.) From there the trail lived up to its hype. Loose slate steps, made slippery by a high-altidude storm that rolled in, made the initial descent on the switchbacks interesting to say the least. Fun trail well-worth the effort it takes to get there. You'll need a vehicle with decent clearance and 4WD. A shorter wheelbase really helps on the switchbacks. My dad did the trail in full size pick up truck back in the 70's - so it can be done.

Short trail on the whole. From start to finish only a couple hours. Drive back from Telluride was a bit tedious (we were camping in Silverton).


3 years ago

off road driving

Rated 5+++. This trail is breathtaking...undescribable,hence the lack of comments I think. check out the many video's on you-tube and such...then go try it for yourself. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxTUz1j-weE