One of the Iconic Jeep Badge of Honor trails does not disappoint! My first time was breath taking riding as passenger to get a feel for the trail because everyone who knows me knows my fear of heights. My first time was terrifying in spots…a lot of spots. But, just like everyone that shouldn’t wheel alone, I didn’t, and I managed to get through it and now the more I do it, the easier it gets. The views are amazing and the mine history is awesome.
Imogene Pass (K 68 Road and County Road 26A) is the second highest mountain pass in the San Juans according to Wikipedia and guide books. Connecting Ouray and Telluride, the 13 miles of trail takes about 4 hours to complete, across ledges of death defying heights, and leads to the most amazing of views.
The drive is one of the most thrilling in the state. At Savage Basin, you’ll pass through the historical Tomboy Townsite, which was once one of the most active mining towns in Colorado. A great deal of mining debris is still scattered about. Most of the ghost town is located on private property and is dangerous to explore and unlicensed vehicles are not permitted on lower half of the south side and must start trail from Camp Bird Road. The road can be open as early as May 16, but is usually blocked by snow until early July. The official closing date in November 30, but close in early October depending on the weather.
Do not take this trip lightly. The road is rocky, steep and narrow in places…passing oncoming traffic can be dangerous. Stock SUVs should have low-range gearing, 4-wheel drive, high clearance and skid plates. Experienced drivers only. The speed limit is 15 mph. The views along the way are unbelievable. It was once a well-traveled mining road and opened as a 4WD road in 1966. The journey offers great views, but the weather can become cold and windy in the middle of summer.
An annual foot race is held over the pass between Ouray and Telluride on the first Saturday following Labor Day. This gruelling race starts at around 7800 ft, is 17 miles in length, and crests on the pass at 13,114 ft, a change in elevation of just over a mile. We will just keep driving over it for now 🙂
Enjoy the gallery images of this scenic mountain pass over the San Juan Mountains! These images were from multiple trips over the mountain.
Watch ModernJeeper Adventures for a possible upcoming Colorado Adventure!