Meet the Black Bear Pass Trail. When you're up on the trail in your 4x4 looking down over Telluride, Colorado you wish you'd made smarter decisions.

Switchbacks, rocky steep grades, and being generally a 'technical' trail, the Black Bear Pass Trail is for those experienced with these kinds of trails, who are driving high clearance 4x4s with lockers (preferably) along with nerves of steel.

I've been in the passenger seat as a friend traversed the trail. I enjoyed looking out the right side of the Jeep because the driver's side just looked out onto the drop.

I trusted my friend's experience and his vehicle; I knew he had plenty of 'guts' to take on the trail. I had just enough 'guts' to be the passenger.

It's, without question, a great trail for Colorado scenery up around 14,500 feet. It is pretty amazing, once you get passed the nerve-rattling parts.

A YouTuber posted this video in October of 2020, of him and his 'crew' of Toyota enthusiasts taking on the trail.

My friend and I didn't have a drone to take aerial footage of the adventure like these guys, that would have been nice. This video really gives you that feeling of 'we're nuts to even try this,' with great footage of drops, rocks, and switchbacks.

After they conquer the Black Bear Pass Trail, the guys have a hearty campsite meal, just as they did way back when (minus the Toyotas.)

Take a look at their video, as they pass through Ouray, as well.

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Has the Black Bear Trail Ever Taken a Life?

That's a popular question and search engine query. Jeep The USA says the trail does have that reputation for killing people who traverse it. However,

It is possible to die on this trail, but that is true for most of the trails in the Rocky Mountains.  You have to be careful and use common sense wherever you are.

If you dare, Black Bear Pass (or Forest Service Road 648) starts at US 550 and travels to Telluride.

A once-famous (not replaced because of how often it was stolen) once greeted those turning off the highway:

Telluride ------>

City of Gold

12 Miles - 2 Hours

You Don't Have to be Crazy to Drive This Road

But it Helps

Jeeps Only


Black Bear Pass Videos and Crashes

This driver wasn't so lucky on his attempt at the pass. From 2014, here's what a rollover looks like. Everyone in the vehicle walked away from this incident unharmed, but caution there is some NSFW language ahead:

Ready for another virtual tour and a more serene passage? Check out this one:

Northern Colorado's 7 Best Off-Road Trails

6 'Easiest' 14ers To Hike in Colorado


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