Imogene pass is one of the more fun Jeeping trips I've undertaken with my father, between Ouray and Telluride. You can see the hood of our old red 2008 Jeep Wrangler as we crown the pass itself. Jeeping for those who aren't privy to the 'sport' is the act of driving a Jeep onto four-wheel drive roads. These sort of roads are impassable for regular motor vehicles and can be quite gnarly. The views afforded to those who undertake the trips are awe inspiring. The pass itself is approximately 14,000 feet.
On the Telluride side of Imogene pass is an old gold mine, which the name escapes me. But I remember the story of the mine; During the height of the Colorado gold rush, the mine operators cut corners in their management and payment of employees. The Mining Union started a violent strike to oppose the poor management, killing the mine boss. In response, Colorado dispatched the state militia to dispatch the union and permanently closed the mine. As a disclaimer, I can't say if this is the exact mine, but I am almost positive.
:How to get there:
To get to Imogene Pass, you can approach from either Telluride of Ouray. If you own a Jeep, you may attempt this at your own risk. However, for first timers, I can't stress renting a Jeep in either town enough. Or, perhaps consider a guided tour. I unfortunately do not know the pricing on rentals, as we haven't rented in over a decade.
Driving the pass can take upwards of 4 hours. The road starts on CO 361 heading West out of Ouray, and K 68 Tomboy Rd heading East out of Telluride. It is easier to find the heading out of Ouray, but you must take a LEFT at the fork towards Camp Bird Mine! Right is towards Yankee Boy Basin, and the cut over on the opposite side of the gulch is rough. (We accidently went that way).
Watch the videos and follow the pictures, in order on my gallery for a detailed show of the trip from Ouray!
:When to go:
Driving any of the passes is highly dependent on the yearly weather. This year, Imogene Pass was closed well into June. Some other years it is open as soon as early April. The primary factors are; The last snow fall (it can snow in June/July/August), the summer temperatures (Can be bellow freezing and over 90), and the weather conditions in Arizona/Utah make a major difference. If Utah is experiencing a windy, dry, hot season the wind blows dust onto the peaks. The red sand absorbs sunlight as heat rather than reflecting it as snow does. Therefore, it melts faster.
This year, it snowed in late April, stayed moderately cool into June, and did not experience any major dust storms.
Rain, snow, sleet, and hail can come on suddenly, so be prepared. If the sky is overcast and getting dark, hightail it home!
!!!Do Not Feed Wildlife!!!
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