My favorite activity in Colorado is offroading, and my favorite town in Colorado is Telluride. So it’s no surprise that I’ve driven nearly all of the offroading trails in Telluride, and have loved every single one.
There is so much beauty and history at every turn in Telluride. The unique landscape features the majestic San Juan Mountains which are full of historic mining towns, Colorado wildflowers, waterfalls, alpine lakes, and one of a kind mountain formations.
If you don’t drive an offroading vehicle or have any offroading experience, you can either join a Jeep tour or rent one. Make sure you’re honest with yourself about your level of experience and never go offroading alone. There are so many amazing trails in Telluride to explore but they definitely require some skill and patience.
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These trails I would recommend if you are new to offroading. I would recommend them if you’re just renting a Jeep for the weekend or are visiting from out of state for the first time. They all provide gorgeous views, are full of historic mining towns, and aren’t too technical.
There are quite a few trails in Telluride that pass through the old mining towns in Uncompahgre National Forest. You’ll see a sign for Governor’s Basin at the entrance. If you follow that trail you won’t run into anything too technical. The Governor’s Basin loop is about 15 miles long and sits at about 12,000 feet above sea level. The best time to visit is Mid-July through September when the trails are clear. If you’re more advanced, I recommend venturing out on the side trails and finding a place to camp for the night!
Yankee Boy Basin
Yankee Boy Basin is an 18 mile out and back OHV route that has gorgeous views of alpine lakes, historic mining towns, and those famous Colorado wildflowers. It’s a fairly easy trail and I highly recommend spending an afternoon here!
I would recommend these trails if you have some previous offroading experience.
Imogene Pass is the second highest drivable pass in Colorado, and the most fun of the trails in Telluride to drive in my opinion. You’ll pass through old mining towns, the Red Mountains, and see some of the most beautiful alpine scenery in the world. I would say it’s on the tougher side of moderate, especially if you are visiting from out of state. It does have some technical spots and a lot of steep/narrow edges. The summit sits right above 13,000 feet so it is only open mid-July through September when the road is plowed. If you do one offroading trail ever in Colorado, it’s gotta be Imogene Pass!
These trails I would recommend if you have a lot of previous offroading experience. They’re technical and can be very dangerous if you haven’t developed driver skill. They are absolutely stunning, but attempt these at your own risk!
Black Bear Pass
Black Bear Pass is a 21 mile long trail that starts in Silverton Colorado and ends at the switchbacks at Bridal Veil Falls, bringing you right into downtown Telluride. It’s a great way to see the state and I highly recommend it if you have the skill. Most of the trail is pretty moderate until you get to the switchbacks, but as long as you go slow, have a good spotter, and be cautious you should be just fine and the views are certainly worth it!
Alpine Loop is a 93 mile OHV loop trail in the Telluride/Ouray area. Because of its length I’ve never completed the entire thing in one go. But I love driving it to find campsites as there are tons scattered throughout the trail. It has some steep edges and little passing room, so just be careful on the cliffs as I’ve seen vehicles on their side before.