Black Bear Pass
If you're in Ouray, the "classic" day is to do Black Bear Pass and Imogene Pass in a big loop, and that was our plan. We met in town and then headed out to the trailhead, airing down when it was still pretty early in the morning. That would give us lots of time to relax and enjoy the trip. We passed all of the warning signs and headed up the trail.
The skies were hazy from fires in the northwest and southwest United States, so visibility wasn't as good as it usually was. We hoped the sun would clear things up for us as the day progressed. The side trip to the overlook was nice, and we were pointing things out all over the place. We stopped at the wide meadow so Niko could get his drone set up, and it followed us for a bit.
We were surprised to find a bypass around the series of ledges with water running down them. Of course, we all did the obstacle and had a great time taking all different lines up it. We wanted to check out the bypass, too, so we looped around to do the obstacle again. It was a great way to start the day.
It didn't take long to get to Black Bear Pass, and we enjoyed the views but didn't get out. It was pretty windy. Then we headed down.
The trail is pretty and not too challenging as you come down to the basin, but then the trail starts descending pretty steeply and the obstacles start. We got out to look over a chunky hill with big holes in it before heading down, and it was pretty crazy to have that so close to the edge.
Of course, that was nothing compared to the shelf road and corner. Monica drove slowly and carefully, and it all went well. Niko and Walt also took their time around the dangerous corner. None of us had any issues with the switchback, and then we all parked to get out at Ingram Falls. It's definitely a scenic area, and we spent some time there exploring and looking down at the switchbacks and Telluride.
There was a bit of a tippy section just past the falls, and then we got to the switchback where people have gone off the side and had so much trouble. It's not a particularly tight switchback, but if you screwed up and got too close to the edge or if you had mechanical troubles you'd likely die in the accident when you went over the side. It's definitely intimidating. But we took it slow, spotting each other. No one even needed too many points in their turn, and we were soon through it.
After that, the switchbacks were easy. There were SUVs and hikers all over the place. It looked like they were doing work on the Powerhouse, so we didn't stop near it. When we got to Bridal Veil Falls, we were a bit sad to see the hiking trail to the base of the falls was pretty much gone. A flood had come through and it was torn up, with big boulders and mounds of dirt and logs in the way. We hoped they would fix it at some point, but for now it was definitely closed. We met some cool people there, though, and Niko had some more fun with his drone.
The trail's end had been rerouted since we were there last, around private property. Route finding was easy, though, and we were soon off the trail. We stopped at the park near the base of the trail and had a nice lunch next to a pond with ducks begging for food. We'd definitely do that again. When lunch was over, we headed through town to Imogene Pass.
Reports from Other Days: 4
Use the arrows or dots to flip through the previews of the other reports for Black Bear Pass. Click one of them to read more and see all of the photos from that day.