Famous San Juan Mountain Passes in close proximity to Ouray, Colorado
The Alpine Loop Back Country Byway traverses two passes above 12,000′ The Loop is 65 miles round trip from Animas. Rugged trails require 4×4 high-clearance vehicles in order to travel the entire byway.
Black Bear Pass at 12,820′ is infamous for its ‘stairsteps’…a one-mile long stretch of dangerous switchbacks above Bridal Veil Falls (one-way, downhill only). The pass descends into Telluride.
Imogene Pass at 13,114′ is open both ways connecting Ouray and Telluride. This trail is the second highest summit available by OHV or 4X4 in the United States. Single lane in some cases.
Ophir Pass at 12,789’ and was originally a game trail for the Ute Indians, and then later, a toll road between Silverton and Telluride. High parts of the 10-mile trail (one-way) are narrow, rocky, and in places, totally covered with ‘scree’ (loose rock).
10 mountain passes over 10,000′
Imogene Pass, 13,114′
Black Bear Pass, 12,840′
Engineer Pass, 12,800′
Ophir Pass, 12,789′
Cinnamon Pass, 12,620′
Stoney Pass, 12,588′
California Pass, 12,390′
Hurricane Pass, 12,407′
Red Mountain Pass, 11,018′
Owl Creek Pass, 10,114′
7 Peaks over 14,000′
Mt. Wilson, 14,252′
Red Cloud, 14,034′
Jeep Trail Distances & Times.
13 mi. (.5 hrs.) Silverton to Animas Forks. (moderate road, AWD or 4×4 suggested)
14 mi. (1.5 hrs) Silverton to Ophir townsite via Ophir Pass (sharp, loose rocks on shelf road, 4×4 and trail-rated tires suggested)
18 mi (4 hrs) Ouray to Telluride via Imogene Pass (steep climbs and loose rock requires high clearance 4×4 )
26 mi. (4 hrs) Ouray to Lake City via Engineer Pass (rugged road with sharp rock, requires 4×4 high-clearance and heavy ply tires)
28 mi. (2 hrs) Animas Forks to Lake City via Cinnamon Pass (4×4 with good clearance suggested)
44 mi. (3.5 hrs) Ouray to Animas Forks via Corkscrew, Hurricane and California (requires 4×4 with good clearance)
94 mi (9.5 hours) Ouray to Lake City roundtrip via Engineer (or Corkscrew) then return by Cinnamon into Silverton
78 mi. (6 hrs) Silverton to Lake City, roundtrip Via Engineer, Cinnamon (all require 4×4 with high-clearance)