Trail Descriptions

There are eight trail combinations on the menu for the 2019 LCDC in Ouray. We offer these combinations as a starting point for each group though groups are welcome to modify as they see fit based on preferences, weather, desired pace, working-in or avoiding particular trails, etc. 

Where do I sign up for trails?

There is no official process for "signing up" for groups each day. All groups will leave from Rincon Park each morning. If a group happens to get too big, we'll ask the group to stagger its departures a bit. To be absolutely clear, all you need to do is show up at the meeting spot and be ready to go by the time outlined below. That means you should try to get your coffee, food, drinks, gas, etc. ahead of time. Check out the Trail Plan on the Event Overview page to learn more.

Important reminders

Friends, here's a summary of things we'd like you to know in advance to help you decide on trails and how to plan for each day.

  • Our trail recommendations and daily routes assume that you all have at least AT tires at a minimum. Stock tires would likely survive most trails but they're not recommended in terms of traction and airing down.

  • Weather can make an easy trail impassable. In bad weather no trail is truly safe but in something like on-and-off rain we'd recommend rockier trails such as Engineer, Cinnamon, Yankee Boy Basin, and Imogene. 

  • Bring food, drinks, and snacks for trails. Even if you plan on stopping at a restaurant for lunch, trail conditions, recoveries, photo ops, etc. may keep you on the trail must longer than you planned.

  • Establish trail leaders and gunners (preferably folks with reliable comms who are familiar with the trails) prior to heading out on the trail.

  • Discuss your expectations and needs (photo ops, bathroom stops, meals, etc.) with your group members especially your trail leaders and tailgunners.

  • In general, trails in this area are not that technical but almost all include narrow, steep, shelf roads that require low range and careful driving.


Black Bear I

Black Bear + Imogene

This is the classic, full-day way to do Black Bear from Ouray. From Ouray, the group will head to the Black Bear trailhead. Black Bear is one of the most scenic trails in the area and offers some thrills during the descent into Telluride. The route is not overly technical but does require careful driving and spotting in a couple areas. The last portion of Black Bear can only be run one-way. The day continues with trip over magnificent Imogene Pass. There are water-crossings, beautiful basins, a mine not far out of Telluride, and a lot of shelf-road driving.

Time: 6-10 HRs

  • Ouray to Black Bear (30 min)

  • Black Bear to Telluride (2-3 hrs)

  • Telluride to Ouray via Imogene (3-5 hrs)

Lunch Situation

Plan on picnicking along the trail but lunch in Telluride could be an option if the group makes good time.

Bail Outs and Route MOdifications

We understand that a full day of wheeling may not be what everyone is looking for, especially families traveling with children. Here's our recommendation on how to cut this day short if needed.

  • If your nerves are shot after crossing Black Bear, you can either take the highway, Ophir Pass, or Last Dollar Road back toward Ouray.

Difficulty

There are a couple spots on Black Bear where you may hit your skids. Stock trucks with AT tires will be fine. All trails in this region deserve your full attention but Black Bear especially so.

Trails Covered

  • Imogene Pass

  • Black Bear Pass


Black Bear II

Black Bear + Ophir

Like above, this route starts with an early morning trip over Black Bear Pass but returns to Highway 550 via Ophir Pass. From there, the group will head toward Ouray (considering Red Mountain Mining Trail or the off-road cut through from Ophir to a highway entrance near Black Bear as an optional excursion along the way).

Time: 5-6 HRs

  • Black Bear to Telluride (3 hrs)

  • Telluride to Ouray via Ophir (2 hrs)

Lunch Situation

Reward yourself with lunch in Telluride.

Bail Outs and Route MOdifications

We understand that a full day of wheeling may not be what everyone is looking for, especially families traveling with children. Here's our recommendation on how to cut this day short if needed.

  • Return to Ouray via the highway through Placerville and Ridgway from Telluride.

Difficulty

Nothing of note on Ophir aside from some of the narrowest shelf roads in the area. As mentioned above, there are some spots on Black Bear where you'll probably utilize your skids. All trails in this region deserve your full attention but Black Bear especially so.

Trails Covered

  • Black Bear Pass

  • Ophir Pass


Alpine Loop

Mineral Creek + Engineer + Cinnamon

The Alpine Loop is a full-day event taking folks on a loop from Engineer Pass to Lake City to Animas Forks via Cinnamon Pass. Groups can decide whether to access the trail the hard way (via Ouray / Mineral Creek) or the easy way (via Ophir > Silverton > Animas Forks). The trail is absolutely gorgeous and includes a little bit of everything.

Time: 10 HRs

  • Mineral Creek to Engineer to Lake City (5-6 hrs)

  • Lake City to Animas Forks via Cinnamon (3-4 hrs)

  • Animas Forks to Ouray via Silverton (2 hrs)

Lunch Situation

Depending on timing, there are good lunch options in Lake City.

Bail Outs and Route MOdifications

We understand that a full day of wheeling may not be what everyone is looking for, especially families traveling with children. Here's our recommendation on how to cut this day short if needed.

  • Conservative groups may want to skip Mineral Creek, head to Silverton, and start the loop from Animas Forks.

Difficulty

Aside from narrow, steep, shelf-roads that require low range, there's nothing technical on the Alpine Loop. That said, if you take the Mineral Creek approach there are occasionally obstacles depending on how bad the prior winter's washouts were. Worst case you may hit your skids on a narrow section of Mineral Creek just after the Poughkeepsie turnout. There are some minor to moderate ledges as well.

Trails Covered

  • Mineral Creek

  • Engineer Pass

  • Cinnamon Pass


This will certainly be a fun day. A morning drive up the moderately technical Poughkeepsie followed by Placer and Picayune Gulches via Hurricane Pass and part of California Gulch. If time allows Animas Forks ghost town is not too far from where the trail meets the main road.

Time: 8 HRs

  • Mineral Creek to Hurricane Pass via Pougkeepsie Gulch (2 hr)

  • Hurricane Pass to Placer Gulch via California Gulch (30 min)

  • Placer Gulch to Silverton via Placer/Picayune Gulch and CR 2 (3 hr)

  • Silverton to Ouray (1 hr)

Lunch Situation

Plan on picnicking.

Bail Outs and Route MOdifications

We understand that a full day of wheeling may not be what everyone is looking for, especially families traveling with children. Here's our recommendation on how to cut this day short if needed.

  • Road 10 from Hurricane Pass goes to the Silverton ski areas / Gladstone and on down to Silverton.

Difficulty

Stock trucks may have some issues on Poughkeepsie obstacles, though some have bypasses. We recommend skid plates and a lift on this trail.

Trails Covered

  • Mineral Creek

  • Poughkeepsie Gulch

  • Hurricane Pass

  • California Gulch

  • Placer Gulch

  • Picayune Gulch

Gulches I

Poughkeepsie + Placer/Picayune


Poughkeepsie is a scenic valley trail leading from Mineral Creek to Lake Como near Corkscrew and Hurricane Pass. This trail features some technical obstacles though most can be bypassed. One that cannot is a steep climb up some loose rock that should be doable by stock trucks. Lake Como presents delightful views both from lake level and from the pass above. Corkscrew is usually an easy trail but can be difficult to impassable in the rain.

Time: 6 HRS

  • Mineral Creek to Hurricane Pass via Pougkeepsie Gulch (3 hr)

  • Hurricane Pass to Corkscrew Gulch (3 hr)

Lunch Situation

Plan on picnicking.

Bail Outs and Route MOdifications

We understand that a full day of wheeling may not be what everyone is looking for, especially families traveling with children. Here's our recommendation on how to cut this day short if needed.

  • Road 10 from Hurricane Pass goes to the Silverton ski areas / Gladstone and on down to Silverton.

Difficulty

Stock trucks may have some issues on Poughkeepsie obstacles, though some have bypasses. We recommend skid plates and a lift on this trail.

Trails Covered

  • Mineral Creek

  • Poughkeepsie Gulch

  • Corkscrew Gulch

Gulches II

Poughkeepsie + Corkscrew


Yankee Boy Basin is a family favorite though some sections of loose rock near the end of the trail add just a bit of thrill. Depending on time, the group can decide whether to try Governor Basin, Yankee Boy, or both. Governor is more difficult, less traveled, and has some off-camber and narrow sections. The end of the trail, though, has some really interesting mines and one of the best high altitude basins in the area.

Time: 6 HRs

  • Yankee Boy Basin out and back (3 hrs)

  • Governor Basin out and back (3 hrs)

Lunch Situation

Plan on picnicking.

Bail Outs and Route MOdifications

We understand that a full day of wheeling may not be what everyone is looking for, especially families traveling with children. Here's our recommendation on how to cut this day short if needed.

  • Yankee Boy Basin road goes directly into downtown Ouray.

Difficulty

There's just a lot of careful driving on this route. The conditions on Governor Basin vary from year to year though you can always count on a couple sections that are steep, narrow, and off-camber.

Trails Covered

  • Yankee Boy Basin

  • Governor Basin

Basins

Yankee Boy + Governor


Clear Lake is a perennial favorite as an easy half-day trip from Ouray. The group will have some decisions to make based on the preferences and desired pace. Consider Eureka Gulch, Kendall Mountain, the ghost town at Animas Forks, or even Hurricane and Corkscrew Passes back toward Ouray.

TIME: 6-10 HRS

  • Ouray to Clear Lake (2.5 hr)

  • Clear Lake to Ouray (2.5 hr)

  • Other Options (5-6 hrs)

Lunch Situation

Plan on picnicking or grabbing lunch in Silverton.

Bail Outs and Route MOdifications

We understand that a full day of wheeling may not be what everyone is looking for, especially families traveling with children. Here's our recommendation on how to cut this day short if needed.

  • These are out-and-backs from the highway.

Difficulty

There are no obstacles to speak of on these trails.

Trails Covered

  • Clear Lake

  • Eureka Gulch (optional)

  • Kendall Mountain (optional)

Silverton Trails

Clear Lake + Eureka Gulch + Kendall Mountain