Black Bear Pass Trail
The Black Bear Pass Trail is a fantastic hiking route in the San Juan Mountains that offers views of the dramatic peaks and a nearby waterfall. While out hiking the trail, you will climb uphill through the rugged terrain of Black Bear Pass, enjoying the views of Telluride and nearby Bridal Veil Falls, before descending a steep switchback path. Hikers should take note that this is also an off-road vehicle route, so make sure to keep an eye out for passing vehicles and remember to share the trail.
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Route Description for Black Bear Pass Trail
While the Black Bear Pass Trail isn’t an overly difficult route for hikers, it is far more dangerous for the off-road vehicle enthusiasts that attempt to traverse the pass. If you are out hiking the trail, be sure to exercise caution and provide these vehicles with plenty of space so that they can safely traverse the narrow switchbacking trail of the pass. Additionally, this is a one-way adventure, so make sure to arrange a pick up at the end point of your hike.
Vehicle traffic aside, the Black Bear Pass Trail is an exceptional hiking route that will showcase the breathtaking alpine terrain surrounding Telluride. In addition to the mountain views, you will also be able to experience the raw power of the Ingram and Bridal Veil Falls, which add to the natural beauty of the landscape along the route.
Setting out from the trailhead, you will follow along the road for 1.8 km as it cuts through beautiful alpine meadows. Here, you will head right at the fork and continue on climbing uphill through the rugged terrain, following along the road as it winds back and forth up the mountainside to reach a series of ponds in 1.9 km.
Continuing to the west through the mountainous landscape, you will arrive at the summit of Black Bear Pass in 1.3 km, where you will enjoy views of the surrounding mountains, including Trico peak and Ingram Peak.
Following the road to the north over the next 4.7 km, you will work your way through the rugged and beautifully scenic landscape of the Ingram Basin, passing by the iconic Telluride Peak and heading downhill alongside the rushing waters of Ingram Creek. At this point, the road turns into a one-way trail for all of the off-road vehicles looking to make their way through the pass, so make sure to exercise caution as the vehicles descend the dangerous switchback trail.
After passing by Ingram Falls, you will begin working your way down the narrow switchback trail while enjoying the stunning views of the valley below. Here, you will pass by the impressive sight of Bridal Veil Falls, before descending into the endpoint of the Black Bear Pass Trail next to the banks of the San Miguel River.
Bridal Veil Falls
Situated at the end of a canyon overlooking Telluride, Colorado, the Bridal Veil Falls are a two-pronged waterfall along the San Miguel River with a height of 111 m. In the winter, the falls freeze over and create a dramatic scene; however, the challenging ice climb that was briefly opened to climbers in the 1990s has since been prohibited due to the falls being on private property.
Frequently Asked Questions
Has anyone died on Black Bear Pass?
Although it isn’t an overly challenging hike, for off-road vehicle drivers Black Bear Pass is a dangerous undertaking; however, there have been no recorded deaths on the trail.
What building is at the top of Bridal Veil Falls?
The Smuggler-Union Hydroelectric Power Plant can be found perched on the 400ft rock cliff above Bridal Veil Falls.
Insider Hints for Black Bear Pass Trail
- Wear proper hiking footwear with good support, as portions of the trail are fairly rugged.
- Be mindful of passing vehicles.
- This is a one-way trail, so be sure to arrange a pickup at the end of the route.
Getting to the Black Bear Pass Trail Trailhead
The Black Bear Pass Trailhead can be found along US 550, just 15.4 km north of Silverton.
Black Bear Pass Trail Elevation Graph
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Black Bear Pass Trail Reviews
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