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Imogene Pass: Nearest Towns:  Ouray & Telluride Difficulty:  Moderate/Difficult End Points:  Start:  Hwy 550 38.0176,-107.6745 End:  Tomboy Rd. in Telluride 37.9401,-107.8116 Estimated Open Season:   May to October Estimated Miles:  18 miles one-way Estimated Drive Time:   4 hrs. one-way Imogene Pass Imogene Pass, The Maiden of the San Juan Mountains.  Imogene or in Old Gaelic "Imogen" which means "Maiden" is the name of this mountain road and this maiden is a beauty. Imogene does not just have breath taking beauty she can take your breath away literally! This is the highest pass in the San Juan Mountains at an energy sapping 13,117 feet and you and your vehicle may feel its effects. It has so much to offer the off road enthusiast because of the challenging terrain, awesome scenery, mines and historical landmarks that you will pass along the way. This trail is a "must do" if you have the time or planning to doing multiple trails during an extended trip or vacation. Imogene Pass can be completed either from the Ouray side (east to west) or the Telluride side (west to east) and is about 18 miles in overall length. Trail ratings are easy for the first couple of miles from either side and then quickly become a middle moderate difficulty. Please note that this road changes in difficulty quite frequently because of runoff, rain, snow slides and traffic and can be quite rough at times. There are also several stream crossings that are usually not too deep but approach with caution during heavy rainstorms. If you are afraid of heights this road might make you nervous or scared as the drop offs are quite high and the road is narrow. So use good judgment and stay within your own comfort and ability levels. The toughest spots are usually about the last four miles before you reach the summit from the eastern side (Ouray side) where the climb is nice and steep and rough, just the way off roaders like it! Finding the trailheads can be a little fiddlier than some of the others we write about on our site but we have laid out the route on the map to where you can obtain directions by clicking on the trailhead icon and following the instructions.  To get there from the Ouray side, find the Camp Bird Road (CR 361) off of highway 550 on the last switchback before you get into Ouray and take it southwest /west. After approximately 5 ½ miles you will come to a fork in the road just past the Camp Bird Mine where you will turn left and continue to follow the Camp Bird Road (CR 26A Imogene). The road is well marked and easy to follow and look for sign postings for conditions, equipment, or closures near here. The road becomes 4x4 recommended from there on in. There are hundreds of old mine sites on either side of the road and trails leading up into the mountains. There are waterfalls, lakes and wildlife everywhere so bring a camera. Also bring a warm jacket and maybe rain gear as the weather at these high mountain altitudes is cool and changes quickly. It can snow at the summit of the pass at any time of the year!  From the Telluride side you will need to go north on N Oak Street which is between Aspen and Fir Streets and look for the "Tomboy Road" or "Tomboy Mine" sign. There are street signs to lead the way through the residential areas to the trailhead of Imogene.  After about five miles of climbing up the pass you will come to the famous "Tomboy Ghost Town" and is an amazing place to stop and look around. This once bustling mining community had a population of over 900 people in the late 1800's - early 1900's and the now abandoned buildings are left in ruin. Photographers and history buffs flock to this site to capture its beauty before time and elements remove it from view forever. This area alone makes the trip worthwhile!  The climb to the summit is rocky and slow but you will pass majestic waterfalls, high mountain tundra and views of the San Juan Mountains that are absolutely stunning. There are usually several small stream crossings that cut across the main trail and snow drifts can linger all summer long near the top of the pass but mud is generally not too much of an issue. Most of the road is made up of small to medium rock which keeps most of the deep muck at bay. The best times to travel Imogene Pass are from late spring (Late May) through fall (October) with peaks being midsummer to September. Be sure to check the Forest Service Website for up to date information. To reiterate about the difficulty of this trail we give it a middle moderate to a low difficult if factors like rain, snow or traffic have altered conditions one way or another. While not quite as difficult as Black Bear, Imogene is a close second and in fact it runs parallel to black bear during its descent into Telluride. A stock 4x4 vehicle can manage the entire trip but you may get a few "bonks" on the undercarriage because of some of the larger rocks that get in the road. A modified 4x4 will have less trouble but either way use caution and stay within your ability levels.  This is also a good road to take note of the closest pull out points to allow traffic to get by you. It is fairly narrow and as a rule the uphill traffic has the right of way but always be aware as to which will be the safest for both parties and make good decisions. If you like extreme physical challenges, how about running a race at 13,117 feet? You can do that here! The Imogene Run takes place every September and more information with links to the event site are available on the Calendar of Events page. This is one race that is not for the feint of heart and you had better have good lungs! At over 17 miles long and over the highest pass in the San Juan Mountains just being able to complete the race is a real feather in the cap. Register early as the spaces are limited and the event fills up very quickly. "Imogene Pass is an amazing and beautiful trail that is one of our personal favorites. There are plenty of places to get out and view the scenery, good camping spots, awesome ghost towns and a very fun 4x4 road." Come visit the Maiden of the San Juan's! 

View Imogene Pass in a larger map
View from Imogene Pass looking toward Black Bear Pass Imogene Pass near Tomboy Ghost Town