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.