Black Bear Pass Road #648

This OHV route offers a very technical trail that is not for inexperienced drivers or riders. While most of the road is moderate in difficulty. the mile-long stretch of steep switchbacks on the Telluride side above Bridal Veil Falls is rated as difficult. A high clearance, short wheel base, four wheel drive vehicle is strongly recommended for this section of the road. The road starts from State Highway 550 at Red Mountain Pass (signed as Forest Road #823) and climbs quickly to Black Bear Pass at 3.2 miles. There is ample room for parking at the Pass where there are views into Ingram Basin. The road then descends into Ingram Basin, past Ingram Lake and the Black Bear Mine. At approx. 5.6 miles the road begins descending the "Steps" which are comprised of a series of steep, technical rock steps. From this point down to the Bridal Veil Powerplant (approx 1 mile), the road is one-way only. Once down the "Steps", the road continues past Ingram Falls, making extremely tight, narrow switchbacks until it reaches the Bridal Veil Falls Powerplant. Driving, riding, or walking down this section of the road is not only a thrill; it also offers spectacular views of the Telluride Valley, Ingram Fall, and Bridal Veil Falls.

At a Glance

Open Season: July
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: Open to all motorized vehicles, however, recommended for high clearance, short wheel base, 4-wheel drive vehicles. A one-mile segment of the road (starting at approx. mile point 5.6) is one-way, downhill only. Note: This point (at approx. 5.6 miles) also serves as a mandatory turnaround location for unlicensed off-highway vehicle riders (includes most ATV's) unless they have a trailer shuttled to the parking area at the bottom of the Black Bear Road. The reason for this is because the Town of Telluride prohibits unlicensed OHV's from riding through its residential streets.
Closest Towns: Telluride, Silverton, and Ouray, Colorado
Operated By: Forest Service

General Information

Directions: From Ouray, travel south on State Highway #550 approximately 13 miles to Red Mountain Pass. Just south of the Pass summit, turn right (west) onto the Black Bear Pass Road, Forest Road # 823.


OHV Road Riding

Class of Vehicle High clearance 4X4
Difficulty Level: Most Difficult

Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
7.5 miles to Bridal Veil Power Plant

  Elevation : 
11018 feet at Red Mountain Pass - 12840 feet at Black Bear Pass