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Old 04-15-2013, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Littleton, CO
2,394 posts, read 4,301,512 times
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I'd like to take my Jeep out on some stuff maybe similar to this, but I think this is too much. What are the roads like 1 or 2 notches down from this?
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:23 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 6,021,584 times
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Wink Engineer Pass, for one

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snikt View Post
I'd like to take my Jeep out on some stuff maybe similar to this, but I think this is too much. What are the roads like 1 or 2 notches down from this?
You might try Engineer Pass.

It runs between Lake City and Ouray. It would be best approached from Lake City, as a fairly decent dirt road from that side to the top of the pass. And for a short distance the same on the far side before the "road" begins to more resemble a dry river bed of all rocks. It requires some finesse the rest of the way to US 550—the junction a few mile south of Ouray—to avoid high centering the vehicle or tearing off a chunk of it. But other than that there are not really the sharp drop offs into space one will find on Black Bear Pass.

It is rugged on the west side, but not terrifying. While it could be run in either direction, it is easier coming down such a rock slope than fighting one's way up. At least for the section between US 550 and the top of the pass, recommended ONLY for 4x4's with high ground clearance. Might want to leave the suburban SUV at home.

Something far milder that most any auto can traverse, but still exciting and a beautiful drive, would be the Old Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. Completed in 1920, it preceded Trail Ridge Road. It runs from the far end of the Endo Valley in RMNP, and from a far picnic area leaves the pavement that terminates at this picnic area to run sharply upward. There are signs there, and the road obvious. From that point it is dirt and, due the road being fairly narrow much of its length, one-way only uphill to its terminus at the Alpine Visitor's Center, some 9 miles distant.

Before long there are a few tight switchbacks, and in this area without guardrails (being none anywhere) the possibility of having an ugly experience if not paying attention. But basically it is fairly mild and a gradual grade uphill most of the way.

The route closely follows the lovely Fall River most of the way. There are meadows and wooded glens, with the opportunity for picnics. Also a few hiking trailheads which depart from this road. Shortly from the beginning one will come to a feature on the Fall River known as Chasm Falls. As the name implies, there are a series of beautiful small waterfalls here which one can have a better look at by hiking down from the road just a bit. It is a popular spot.

This road opens later than Trail Ridge Road in spring, as the park more or less waits for all the snow on it to melt on its own before opening. So in a normal year expect that it may not be open until July, although obviously that will vary. It closes again in the autumn with the first serious snow. As popular, expect to find a fair amount of traffic on this road, although as said all in one direction. If wishing to bypass much of that, aim for early morning or evening, or perhaps late autumn when most have left.

The preceding just examples. Throughout Colorado and this region there are many similar opportunities. They range from mild to, well, something like the tougher sections of Black Bear Road.
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:37 PM
 
Location: Western Colorado
11,055 posts, read 12,406,241 times
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Last Dollar Road and Owl Creek Pass. Scenic and not crazy scary, very pleasant drives.
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Georgetown,TX
33 posts, read 51,076 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snikt View Post
I'd like to take my Jeep out on some stuff maybe similar to this, but I think this is too much. What are the roads like 1 or 2 notches down from this?
In that general area, Imogene Pass (Ouray to Telluride) is similar but a bit less demanding than Black Bear. Engineer Pass to Lake City (from Silverton via Animas Forks) and Cinnamon Pass are notches down. Ophir Pass is one more notch down.

A good site that has trail summaries and ratings for 4WD trails all across the state is:
MyColorado
It has numerous pictures of each trail in sequential order which gives you a good idea of what to expect. The photographer in you will appreciate his site.

FWIW, I (a flatlander Texan) have done most all of these in my bone stock 2010 Nissan Pathfinder.

Pic is taken on Imogene Pass. We will be in the great San Juans again this year, the 1st week of July.
Black Bear Road-img_1099.jpg
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Old 04-15-2013, 04:01 PM
 
Location: Bend, OR
3,296 posts, read 8,424,116 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proveick View Post
Good article.
Black Bear Road Telluride, CO
The jeep.
Yikes! I did a bit of research after reading this because it didn't mention the children. Turns out there was another accident the same year on Imogene Pass, which isn't nearly as difficult of a trail (but still technical), which took their lives. Here's the article I found about that one. It's the very last article on that page. 4x4 Icon - Why I Carry All That Stuff...
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Old 04-16-2013, 11:30 AM
Status: "Harlan Ogilvy was right!" (set 12 days ago)
 
Location: Bel Air, California
21,267 posts, read 21,775,362 times
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I'd be nervous driving there because of the distraction of the pretty flowers.
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Old 04-16-2013, 12:08 PM
 
3,103 posts, read 2,835,994 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proveick View Post
From the 70's.
That is such an awesome pic, but was it after a rock slide or something? I can't find any pictures of that section. In fact most of the pics of BB that I can find, it doesn't look too bad.
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Old 04-16-2013, 02:13 PM
 
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Yeah, I don't think that's BB Pass, either. I've been on it a few times and that doesn't look familiar. Great photo, but that's crazy!
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Old 04-16-2013, 06:00 PM
 
Location: Bend, OR
3,296 posts, read 8,424,116 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado^ View Post
That is such an awesome pic, but was it after a rock slide or something? I can't find any pictures of that section. In fact most of the pics of BB that I can find, it doesn't look too bad.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Landy View Post
Yeah, I don't think that's BB Pass, either. I've been on it a few times and that doesn't look familiar. Great photo, but that's crazy!
The article proverick linked earlier shows this picture with a caption that states it's from a 1975 Warn winch ad and may not actually be from Black Bear pass.
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Old 04-16-2013, 07:30 PM
 
3,103 posts, read 2,835,994 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delta07 View Post
The article proverick linked earlier shows this picture with a caption that states it's from a 1975 Warn winch ad and may not actually be from Black Bear pass.
Yes, that makes sense, I can't see more than a few attempting something like that.
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