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Old 04-14-2013, 05:31 PM
2,253 posts, read 6,019,284 times
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For those interested, happened upon this video of Black Bear Road:
Black Bear Road, Black Bear Pass, Telluride, Most Dangerous Offroad | Colorado Vibes

The approach from US 550, near the top of Red Mountain Pass, is briefly shown. It appears a fairly gentle dirt road from the highway, and apparently largely is to the top of Black Bear Pass. This video principally begins there, and then following two ATVs on their drive down the more challenging west side to Telluride. Anyone having driven this road, or having thought of doing so, may find this video most interesting. It covers a number of the infamous switchbacks dropping steeply down to Telluride. But before that the sign on the far side of Black Bear Pass advising this narrow, rocky road is only one-way from that point on to Telluride.

Those without vehicles licensed for roads (as in ATVs) are advised to turn back at this point, or have arranged for pickup before Telluride at Pandora. Somewhat unfortunate, as in watching this video it will quickly become clear that for anything with four wheels an ATV would be near ideal. This road is rather narrow in a number of places, and even a Jeep Wrangler would have to tread carefully. Larger vehicles have done it, if some question how their driver's were feeling come the tight switchbacks. It appears that nothing much larger than an ATV could navigate them without making a three point turn.

Before that, Adios Curve is amply covered. It is quite aptly named, being a narrow, sharp corner to the right, just after perhaps near sliding down a broken rock shelf. The view of Telluride in the distance is panoramic. If one could enjoy it in the moment. Ingram Creek is immediately to one's left, a rock face rising to the right. And the distinct impression that if losing the brakes or otherwise miscalculating that one would fly off into space and then perhaps not stop rolling down the mountain until landing in Telluride.

Perhaps someone knows, but it seems that Black Bear Road may be of relatively recent origin. Approaches from the west and east were obviously built a long time ago, as servicing a number of different mines. But according to USGS maps, circa 1955, the road from the west side (Telluride) reached only as far as the power building at the edge of Bridal Veil Falls. From that point the "road" is shown as continuing on up the switchbacks and on as only a footpath. On the east side, as approached from Red Mountain Pass, this road continues over the summit of Black Bear Pass, then down the far side past Ingram Lake as far as the Black Bear Mine. But where the present road cuts sharply west just before that mine, apparently in 1955 only as a footpath beyond.

Somewhat unrelated, Fort Peabody (elevation: 13,365 feet) still exists at the top of Imogene Pass (from Telluride to Ouray). It was established in 1904 to thwart local miners.

Last edited by Idunn; 04-14-2013 at 05:39 PM..
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Old 04-14-2013, 05:59 PM
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Images from Black Bear Pass.
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Old 04-14-2013, 06:02 PM
Location: Western Colorado
11,051 posts, read 12,398,038 times
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I know a guy who did that road in a long wheel base pick up truck. He will be the first to admit to not having any sense but wasn't killed. In a Jeep it's um... exhilarating. I also know of a couple of women tourists who drove that in ATV's and were killed. Not for the faint of heart, but worth the experience.
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Old 04-14-2013, 06:29 PM
Location: On the sunny side of a mountain
3,181 posts, read 7,022,099 times
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Great photos! Years ago I may have tried it, but these days I'll just look at someone else's pretty photos.
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Old 04-14-2013, 06:58 PM
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
7,764 posts, read 16,835,798 times
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I'd rather hike it!
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Old 04-14-2013, 08:23 PM
Location: mancos
7,169 posts, read 6,443,923 times
Reputation: 4943
Did it once in a 90 wrangler swore I would never do it again. got the same jeep with a lift and new carb and plans to do it in july.You only live or die once.
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:38 AM
1,742 posts, read 2,690,109 times
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From the 70's.
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Old 04-15-2013, 10:00 AM
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
603 posts, read 732,358 times
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Adios Curve gave me serious cotton mouth just watching from the saftey of my house! I have only been on the lower section up to the power station house.

Last edited by StarrySkiesAbove; 04-15-2013 at 10:18 AM..
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:22 AM
Location: Bend, OR
3,296 posts, read 8,421,317 times
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I'm with you Cosmic! When my husband was working in the ICU in Grand Junction (he's a nurse), he had a really bad accident come in that was off that pass. Two young kids. Their parents died. The jeep they rented plummeted a very long distance. Very tragic, and very much the reason why I would never attempt to drive that road.
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Old 04-15-2013, 11:29 AM
1,742 posts, read 2,690,109 times
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Good article.
Black Bear Road Telluride, CO
The jeep.
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