The amazing Black Bear road

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The amazing Black Bear road

Black Bear Road is a notorious jeep trail that starts from 11,018 foot summit of Red Mountain Pass on U.S. Highway 550 (between Ouray and Silverton) to Telluride, Colorado.

Black Bear Road is a difficult, dangerous trail even for four-wheel drive vehicles. If you have to be rescued, expect a towing bill in four figures.

In 1975 two New Jerseyans successfully completed the entire 4 wheel drive road from Red Mountain Pass to Telluride following this route while driving a 1970 Ford F-250 full size 2-wheel drive pickup. In order to negotiate the tight switchback curves, they had to resort to backing down every other switchback.

This technique is not recommended. In 2004 a jeep slipped off the slope near the beginning of the switchbacks and fell several thousand feet, killing two of the passengers and severely injuring two others.

Do not attempt this trail if you are not a highly experienced jeeper. Guided tours are available.

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By netchicken: posted on 20-2-2008

Jesus! That looks extreme. I wouldnt ride a bike on that strip forget a jeep. What if it rains or is foggy or rocks fall and toss your car over the edge ?
By IAF: posted on 20-2-2008

Black Bear Road by C.W. McCall was inspired by that trail. It is a hoot and would suggest it to anyone.
The song, not that road. Who in their right mind would take it?

Me an' RJ an' the kids was on a camp-out in the mountains, and we had us one'a them U-Drive-'Em Army Jeep cars which we rented from a fella by the name of Kubozke for thirty bucks a day, buy your gas along the way, take a rabbit's foot and leave a pint of blood for a dee-posit.

And he 'splained it all to us how we was supposed to get to Telluride, which is fifty miles away by way of the regular highway, however, there was a shortcut but unless we had drove the Black Bear Road before, we'd better be off to stay, stay in bed and sleep late. (Pay no attention to the gitar there.)

Well, we took up off'n the highway and we come upon a sign says "Black Bear Road. You don't have to be crazy to drive this road, but it helps." I says, "RJ, this must the shortcut road Kubozke was talkin' about." She didn't pay no mind, 'cause she was makin' peanut butter sandwiches for the kids in the back seat throwin' rocks and drinkin' Kool-Aid and playin' count-the-license-plates. But they wasn't havin' too much fun a-countin' license plate or cars, 'cause there weren't no other cars.

We went about a mile-and-a-half in about four hours, busted off the right front fender, tore a hole in the oil pan on a rock as big as a hall closet. Went over a bump and spilt the Kool-Aid and Roy Gene stuck his bolo knife right through the convertible top and the dog threw up all over the back seat. Peanut butter don't agree with him, you see.

So we had to stop and take off the top and air everything out and clean it up. The dog run off and RJ says she felt her asthma comin' on. I was sittin' there wonderin' what to do when the en-tire Scenic San Joo-wan U-Drive-'Em Army Jeep car sank in the mud. At thirteen thousand feet above sea level.

Well, we shoveled it out and ate our lunch, the dog made a yellow hole in the snow and Roy Gene got out his Instamatic and took a snapshot of it. Mary Elizabeth drawed a picture of the road; it looked like a whole bunch a' Zs and Ws all strung together. And RJ took one look at it and said that the only way that Jeep car is goin' down that road is over her dead body. Then a rock slipped out from under the wheel and the U-Drive-'Em Army Jeep car went right over the edge of the cliff. Yahoo-oo-oo-oo!

"Doggone-it, Roy Gene! How many times do I have to 'splain it to you? When I tell you to put a rock under the wheel, I mean rock! Now look at that, what you have there is no bigger'n a grapefruit."
By Thomas_Crowne: posted on 21-2-2008

I thought of going there once and getting stuck just to tick people off
By dnavarre: posted on 23-2-2008

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