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Four-Wheel Driving: Colorado

Quick Facts

Imogene Pass Road #869

Beginning Elevation: 10,576 Feet (3296.8 Meters)
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 2,538 Feet (791.1 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 13,114 Feet (4087.9 Meters)
Length: 5 Miles (8.33 Kilometers) to the Summit of Imogene Pass
Recommended Season: Summer to Fall
Road Number: 869
Usage: Heavy
USGS Maps: Ironton Quad

Outfitters and Guides

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Imogene Pass is the highest and most spectacular of the four wheel drive passes on the Ouray District. Deep, late season snowdrifts frequently prevent opening beyond upper Camp Bird until mid July.

From the Yankee Boy Road to upper Camp Bird the road is rough and slow, but not difficult. Steep switch backs above the upper Camp Bird require careful driving.

Imogene Pass offers a more challenging route to four wheelers than most of the popular "jeep" trips in the Ouray District.

Beginning near the town site of Sneffels, the Imogene Road fords Sneffels Creek. In about one and a half miles the road joins a second road leading from Camp Bird. This is a private road to the mine and not open for public use. Along this first section are breathtaking views looking down 450 feet, almost vertically, into the Camp Bird mill and mine facilities.

Continue up the Imogene Road 3/4 mile. Keep left and cross the creek past the old Yellow Rose Mine. This section is narrow. In about 1/3 mile the road crosses Imogene Creek to your right. The mine buildings in the basin above are the portals and workings of the Upper Camp Bird. Over 25 miles of tunnels were carved out tying together the different "levels" of the Camp Bird Mine.

Keep left as you reach Upper Camp Bird to continue up the pass. Narrow steep switch backs make this the most difficult section of the Imogene Road. On the Ironton Quadrangle map the road from Upper Camp Bird is shown as a pack trail.

From the 13,114 foot summit is a superb view of Red Mountain and the surrounding San Juans. Ptarmigan Lake lies in the nearby basin below. Allow plenty of time to enjoy and photograph the scenery.

Across Imogene Pass is a good road which drops into Savage Basin and the extensive ruins of the Tom Boy Mine. Before reaching Telluride you drop over 4,000 feet in elevation. For further details concerning the Telluride side, check the Norwood District four wheel drive section of this guide.

Directions from Ouray: Take Hwy 550 south 1/4 mile to Canyon Creek Road and turn right. Continue past Camp Bird Mine on Yankee Boy Basin Road two miles. Turn left and cross Sneffels Creek 1/4 mile before Sneffels town site.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Filed By: Richard (Kansas City, MO)
Time of Day: AM
Length of Time: Most of the day
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 25-50 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: I made this trip from the Ouray side with the 2002 Jeep Jamboree. It was raining when we started and snowing like crazy at the top. At least an inch on the ground. It was a great trip even though the views were very, very limited. We could only see about 30 ft. at the top. The trail is not too difficult if you have patience. We had lunch in the rain about a mile down the other side, and on the trip on down to Telluride we encountered several other vehicles, including a full size Dodge PU, some quads, motorcycles and even two on bicycles. The trail from the tunnel down is an incredible ride. An amazing feat just to build the road. It also offers nice views of the switchbacks coming down Black Bear and of Bridal Veil falls. A great way to get back the Ouray is to take the Last Dollar Road just outside Telluride. It goes through some beautiful country and lead back to pavement just outside Ridgway. That road was wet, muddy and very slick in places with deep ditches on one or both sides.
Conditions: Rain, snow, fog, mud but any Jeeper that complains about the weather should be ashamed. I was in an open Jeep with a bikini top, half doors and no windshield wipers and it was great.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Four-Wheel Driving Imogene Pass Road #869

More Information

Visitor Information:

Colorado Tourism Office, 1625 Broadway, Suite 1700 , Denver, CO, 80202, Phone: 800-COLORADO


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