HomeTrailsGhost Town ATV TrailsImogene Pass - OHV Route From Telluride To Ouray Colorado

Imogene Pass – OHV Route From Telluride To Ouray Colorado

  • Total Trail Miles: 18 miles (one way)
  • Drive Time: 3 1/2 – 4 hours
  • Location: Telluride / Ouray CO
  • Skill Level: Difficult
  • Fee: Colorado OHV permit required
  • Usage: Heavy
  • Open: July – October (depending on snow)
  • Vehicles Allowed: Motorcycles, ATV, SxS, UTV, full sized
Imogene Pass OHV trail map
Unlicensed vehicles are not allowed in Telluride

Overview

Imogene Pass Road and Tomboy Road are the same route.

Imogene Pass traverses the San Juan Mountains at an elevation of 13,117’. This makes it the 3nd highest unimproved, drivable mountain passes in Colorado.

(In case you were curious – Argentine Pass at 13,207’ and Mesquito Pass at 13,186’ are the first and second highest, unimproved, but drivable mountain passes in Colorado.)

OHV Map For Silverton – Ouray – Lake City

Imogene Pass – Alpine Loop – Black Bear Pass – Yankee Boy Basin – And More


How Long Is Imogene Pass?

It’s not uncommon to see different sources claiming different mileages for this route. You’ll see mileages ranging anywhere from 10-18 miles.

Why the confusion…?

The reason for this discrepancy is usually because they’re only counting Imogene Pass / Tomboy Road. This section is about 12 miles.

Imogene Pass - Camp Bird Rd map
The “official” start/end of Imogene Pass Rd.

But, when you come down from the pass and head into Ouray, the road becomes Camp Bird Road.

While this is part of the OHV route that gets you to or from the pass, it’s not the “official” Imogene Pass Rd.

Telluride to Ouray is 18 miles.


Vehicles on the top of Imogene Pass
Vehicles on top of Imogene Pass

Unlicensed OHV Restrictions

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Although this route is open to all motorized vehicles, unlicensed vehicles face restrictions on the Telluride side.

Unlicensed OHVs are not allowed on the first 2.5 miles in Telluride.

This includes where the route starts in town to where it intersects with Marshall Creek.

So, unless you’ve arranged pickup, if you’re driving from the Ouray side, you’ll need to turn around at Marshall Creek.

Keep an eye out for the sign at Tomboy Rd. that states “Off Highway Vehicles Prohibited On Town Streets”.


Jeep at the top of Imogene Pass
Jeep at the top of the pass

Best Time To Drive Imogene Pass

The best time to run this route is late July to mid September.

Any earlier or any later and you run the risk of snow closing the route or making it potentially too dangerous.


Imogene Pass summit sign
Top of the pass

Which Direction Should I Drive Imogene Pass?

This route can be done in either direction, but most drivers favor driving from Telluride to Ouray.

Starting in Telluride is easier as you’re heading downhill on the steepest sections.

Personally I wish they’d make this a one way route. Passing oncoming vehicles in some of the very narrow sections is INSANE!


Make It A Loop

Black Bear Pass / Imogene Pass Loop

Combine Black Bear Pass with Imogene Pass.

Double the challenge, double the fun on this ultimate high alpine drive.

This route require driving through Telluride as well as some highway driving, so a street legal, licensed vehicle is required.

Black Bear Pass is also an advanced trail and a few degrees more difficult than Imogene, so be sure you’re up for the challenge.

Black Bear Pass must be driven from east to west because the switchbacks can only be run in this direction.


Best Staging Area

Staging area for Imogene Pass in Ouray CO
Ouray staging area for Imogene Pass

Unfortunately, although the easiest direction to run this pass is from Telluride to Ouray, it may be more practical to start on the Ouray side if your ATV / SxS is unlicensed.

The best staging area is in Ouray.

On Hwy 550, The Million Dollar Highway, is a very large, easily accessible staging area with plenty of room for trailers.

It’s practically in town!


Imogene Pass in Fall
Autumn in Imogene Pass

Sights Along The Route

Wildflowers

Wild flowers on Imogene Pass
Wild flowers in Imogene Pass Alan Stark | Flickr

Due to the high alpine setting, you can enjoy amazing wildflowers well into August. July and August are when the wild flowers are at their best bloom.

Waterfalls

Bridal Veil Falls Imogene Pass Rd
Bridal Veil Falls can be see in the distance from the trail Simon Foot |Flickr
Ingram Falls can be seen on the Imogene Pass Road
Ingram Falls can be viewed on the Telluride side

Tomboy Ghost Town (aka Savage Basin Camp)

Tomboy Ghost Town - Imogene Pass
Tomboy Ghost Town Rob Lee | Flickr

Traveling from the Telluride side, Tomboy is one of the first landmarks you’ll hit. It’s only a couple miles from town.

Located at 11,509’, Tomboy is one of the highest ghost towns in the US. Tomboy Mine, which produced gold and zinc, was the main draw to the region.

Between 1894-1926, Tomboy was once home to about 1,000 people at it’s peak.

Some broken down remnants are all that remain of this once thriving community.

It’s privately owned, so trespassing is not allowed. Also, the remains are unstable and potentially dangerous.

Camp Bird Mine

This mine has a storied history that extends from 1896 all the way up to 1990.

During this time, they pulled out 1.5 million troy ounces of gold and 4 million troy ounces of silver. At today’s prices, this amounts to well over 2.7 billion dollars.

Thomas F. Walsh, the miner who found this load ended up selling it in 1902 for 5.2 million.

And I bet five million probably went a lot further in 1902 than it does today.

In fact, this family had so much money that his daughter, Evalyn Walsh McLean, purchased and is a documented owner of the famous (but cursed!) 45 carat Hope Diamond.

She bought the Hope Diamond in 1911 for $180,000 from Pierre Cartier. Today it’s worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $200–350 million.

Evalyn had some expensive taste as she was also a one time owner of another famous diamond, the 94 carat Star of the East.


Camping On Imogene Pass

Imogene Pass Campgrounds
Designated campgrounds on the Imogene OHV route

Thistledown Campground

  • Number of sites: 9
  • Reservations: No, first come first served
  • Usage: Heavy
  • Fees: $10 per night

Dry tent camping. No water or services available. There is a vault toilet.

Bear habitat, proper food storage required.

Campground gets a good amount of use from hikers in the summer – it’s next to the Weehawken Trailhead.

Quite a few hikes pepper the region, so this campground makes an excellent base.

If you have the time, you’ll pass Yankee Boy Basin on the way to Ouray. This is an amazing OHV route, one of our 10 Best ATV Trails In Colorado.

US Forest Service: Thistledown Campground

Ouray Hiking Trails MapTelluride Hiking Trails Map

Angel Creek Campground

  • Number of sites: 15
  • Reservations: No, first come first served
  • Usage: Light
  • Fees: $10 per night

Dry tent camping. No water or services available. There are two vault toilets.

Bear habitat, proper food storage required.

US Forest Service: Angel Creek Campground


Free Camping

Map of where to find free camping on Imogene Pass
Best place to find good free campsites

Most of this ATV trail is in the San Juan National Forest where free camping is allowed.

But, there are some private properties scattered throughout where camping is not allowed – these are usually clearly marked.

On the Telluride side, good campsites are hard to find.

The best free camping is on the Ouray side of the pass near Camp Bird and Imogene Basin.


  • Colorado residents are required to register their OHVs with Colorado Parks and Wildlife
  • Colorado residents with plated vehicles (offroad and street legal, including motorcycles) must purchase a permit
  • Non-residents are not required to register their out of state OHVs in Colorado
  • Non-residents must purchase a non-resident OHV permit (whether or not they chose to register)
  • All operators must carry proof of insurance
  • Children < 10 years old can’t operate OHVs on public roads.
  • OHV operators between 10 and 16 must be under the direct visual supervision of a person with a valid driver’s license
  • OHV sound limits must be met:
    • 99 dB(A) if manufactured before 1/1/1998
    • 96 dB(A) if manufactured after 1/1/1998

Imogene Pass view from the top
Overlook at the top

Buy Registrations And Permits

Buy Registration & Permits Online:

Colorado Parks and Wildlife – OHV registration and permits

Buy Permits Only Locally (subject to change, call before you drive)

Silverton Grocery

717 Greene St.

Silverton CO 81433-5070

387-5652

Dan’s Fly Shop

723 Gunnison Ave.

Lake City CO 81235-5123

944-2281

The Sportsman Fly Shop Company

238 S Gunnison Ave.

Lake City CO 81235-5109

944-2526

Search locations online

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