Aug 7, 2023
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Imogene Pass Road, Colorado’s Most Scenic Drive

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Imogene Pass is a high mountain pass located in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, United States. It sits at an elevation of approximately 13,114 feet (3,997 meters) above sea level. Imogene Pass is known for its scenic beauty and is a popular destination for off-road enthusiasts and hikers. The pass offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains, alpine meadows, and rugged terrain. It is also part of a historic four-wheel drive route that connects the towns of Ouray and Telluride, providing an adventurous and challenging off-road experience. You’ll love the impressive scenery, the challenge of the drive, and the sense of accomplishment that comes with reaching the summit. The road is narrow, winding, and steep, and there are no guardrails.

LocationColorado, USA
Range San Juan Mountains
Connecting townsOuray and Telluride
Imogene Pass Elevation13,114 feet (3,997 meters)
Type of roadUnpaved
How many miles is Imogene Pass?17 miles (27.4 kilometers)
When is Imogene Pass open?Imogene Pass is typically open from July until early October
Imogene Pass vehicle requirements4WD car and terrain tires are mandatory

Driving Imogene Pass

Imogene Pass elevation

Imogene Pass can be driven, but it is important to note that it is a challenging and rugged off-road route. The pass is part of a popular four-wheel drive trail that connects the towns of Ouray and Telluride in Colorado, United States. The trail is known for its steep grades, narrow sections, rocky terrain, and exposure to heights. It is recommended to have a high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicle with good off-road capabilities and experienced driving skills to tackle Imogene Pass. Additionally, it’s advisable to check current trail conditions, weather forecasts, and any necessary permits or restrictions before attempting the drive. Safety should always be a priority, and it’s essential to be prepared with proper equipment, supplies, and knowledge of off-road driving techniques. Imogene Pass is close to the Million Dollar Highway.

Here are some tips for driving over Imogene Pass:

  • Make sure your vehicle is in good condition and has high clearance.
  • Drive slowly and carefully, especially in the switchbacks.The road is narrow and winding, and there are no guardrails.
  • Be aware of the weather conditions and be prepared for sudden changes. Do not drive over the pass if it is snowing or icy.
  • Bring a high-clearance vehicle with good tires. The road is rough and can be damaged by low-clearance vehicles.
  • Be prepared for a long drive. The drive to Imogene Pass is about 45 miles from Telluride, and the road is slow going.

How long is Imogene Pass?

Imogene Pass panoramic

Imogene Pass is approximately 17 miles (27.4 kilometers) long. The trail starts from the town of Ouray and crosses over the pass before descending into the town of Telluride in Colorado, United States.

How long does it take to drive over Imogene Pass?

The driving time to traverse Imogene Pass can vary depending on several factors, including weather conditions, traffic, vehicle capabilities, and driver experience. On average, it can take approximately 2 to 3 hours to drive over Imogene Pass. It’s recommended to allocate enough time for the journey and to plan accordingly, considering the challenging terrain and potential obstacles along the trail. 

Imogene Pass Vehicle Requirements

Imogene Pass is no easy feat! To conquer it, you’ll need a high-clearance 4WD vehicle. 4WD car and terrain tires are mandatory. Make sure it’s in top-notch condition, because this pass doesn’t mess around. Steep grades, rocky terrain, and unpredictable weather—it’s an adventure, but a prepared one!

When is Imogene Pass Open?

Imogene Pass is typically open from July until early October. However, the specific opening and closing dates can vary depending on the weather conditions. The pass may close earlier if there is heavy snowfall or other inclement weather. It is important to note that Imogene Pass is a high-altitude pass, and it can be dangerous to drive over at certain times of the year. The pass is often snow-covered in the spring and early summer, and it can be windy and icy in the fall.

Imogene Pass Map

Imogene Pass Weather

Imogene Pass Slope

The weather at Imogene Pass can change quickly, so it is important to be prepared for anything. The pass is located at an elevation of 13,114 feet, and the weather can be unpredictable at that altitude.

In the summer, the weather at Imogene Pass is typically sunny and warm, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the low 80s. However, it is not uncommon for the temperature to drop to the 40s or even 30s at night. There is also a chance of thunderstorms in the summer, especially in the afternoon.

In the winter, the weather at Imogene Pass is much colder and more unpredictable. The pass can be snow-covered and icy, and the roads can be closed due to hazardous conditions. The average temperature in the winter ranges from the low 20s to the mid-30s, but it can drop below zero.

Imogene Pass Mine

Imogene Pass Mine is a historic mine located near Imogene Pass in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado, United States. The mine was primarily known for its production of silver and gold during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It operated intermittently from the late 1800s until the mid-1970s, experiencing periods of boom and decline along with fluctuations in precious metal prices.

Today, the Imogene Pass Mine is no longer in active operation and is considered a historical site. Visitors to the area can explore the remnants of the mine structures and gain insights into the region’s mining history. It is important to note that accessing mine sites can pose safety risks, and it is advisable to exercise caution and follow any guidelines or restrictions in place.

Imogene Pass Run

The Imogene Pass Run is a 17.1-mile point-to-point mountain race within the western San Juan mountains of Colorado, run along a route which connects the towns of Ouray (7,810 ft.) and Telluride (8,750 ft.) by the Imogene Pass. The IPR is held on the first Saturday after the Labor Day holiday, at the seasonal transition from late Summer to early Fall. Mountain weather at this time is famously “squirrely” (rapidly changeable), and participants through the years have encountered a variety of weather conditions ranging from virtually perfect to terrible.

The race is considered to be one of the most difficult and challenging races in the USA. The course is steep and technical, with over 7,500 feet of elevation gain. Runners must be well-prepared for the altitude, the terrain, and the weather. Here are some of the race’s notable records:

  • Fastest time: 2:16:48, set by Willie Milam in 2022
  • Fastest woman’s time: 2:54:20, set by Grace Morgan in 2022
  • Most wins: 10, set by Jim Walmsley

Spanish verasion: Imogene Pass, Colorado

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Colorado · North America · USA

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