Last Minute Trip: Alpine Loop & Black Bear Pass

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Ram Rebel Overland

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Just wanted to put it out there if someone would like to join.

We're planning to leave Denver immediately after work (5pm) this Friday 8/23 and head towards Lake City, CO and camp nearby. We'll be doing the Alpine Loop(if interested in the route I can send a GPX file) Saturday morning and finding a camp spot near Ironton close to Hwy 550. Well then hit Black Bear Pass Sunday morning before heading back to Denver from Telluride early-mid afternoon.

We understand BBP is currently closd due to a rollover, but expect it to be open by tomorrow afternoon at the latest based on info from local authorities. We're looking forward to hitting this bucket-list trail before it closes again with winter quickly approaching.

Either way, All are welcome! Just know that BBP is rated Difficult-Severe according to trailsoffroad.com so just know your limits and be smart!

Cheers!
 

Neal A. Tew

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This probably goes without saying, but if you do the loop starting in Lake City you will find yourself back in Lake City......

If I had a little more clearance for BBP, I'd be there!
 

Ram Rebel Overland

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This probably goes without saying, but if you do the loop starting in Lake City you will find yourself back in Lake City......

If I had a little more clearance for BBP, I'd be there!
We've routed it not as a perfect loop. We're definitely not coming back out in Lake City
 

JDGreens

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This probably goes without saying, but if you do the loop starting in Lake City you will find yourself back in Lake City......

If I had a little more clearance for BBP, I'd be there!
Neil you would be fine doing BlackBear pass, it is'nt defficult because of clearance needs. Some parts of the trails we did near the four mile area are far more difficult than BB pass.
 
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JDGreens

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We've routed it not as a perfect loop. We're definitely not coming back out in Lake City
When we did the same trip, we went through Ouray and started the Alpine loop on Friday by doing Mineral creek and Engineer pass, camping near the end of the trail just about 2 miles from Lake city, Started the rest of the loop from there on Saturday we did Cinnamon pass and wager Gulch to Animas Forks. Then we did California -Hurricane pass -Corkscrew pass where we found our camp site for the evening. The next day we ran Black bear and Imogene back to Ouray and back to our campsite we had on Corckscrew pass the night before. Best trip ever!!!!!!!
 
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FFJOORD

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Got a question for ya all. Can you camp (boondock) along the Alpine loop. Going for Labor Day weekend and the lodging options are gone. Which would only be to accommodate the first night.
 

JDGreens

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Got a question for ya all. Can you camp (boondock) along the Alpine loop. Going for Labor Day weekend and the lodging options are gone. Which would only be to accommodate the first night.
I don't know how busy it will be on the trails, but there shouldn't be a problem finding a place to boondock. There are a lot of camping spots along the loop. Just keep in mind that anywhere above tree line where there is alpine tundra make sure you stay on the trail AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. They frown upon that. Have a great time!!!
 
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FFJOORD

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I don't know how busy it will be on the trails, but there shouldn't be a problem finding a place to boondock. There are a lot of camping spots along the loop. Just keep in mind that anywhere above tree line where there is alpine tundra make sure you stay on the trail AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. They frown upon that. Have a great time!!!
Copy that thanks. Much appreciated.
 

trikebubble

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Got a question for ya all. Can you camp (boondock) along the Alpine loop. Going for Labor Day weekend and the lodging options are gone. Which would only be to accommodate the first night.

We camped here when we did the Mineral Creek/Engineer Pass option of the Alpine Loop. It was an amazing place to camp (frosty in July) and it allowed us to hit Engineer pass first thing in the morning, before anyone else had come up the mountain.

37.961626, -107.594282
 
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FFJOORD

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We camped here when we did the Mineral Creek/Engineer Pass option of the Alpine Loop. It was an amazing place to camp (frosty in July) and it allowed us to hit Engineer pass first thing in the morning, before anyone else had come up the mountain.

37.961626, -107.594282
Thanks for the coordinates. I'll plot that one out!
 
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JDGreens

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Thanks for the coordinates. I'll plot that one out!
If I'm not mistaken, there is a bathrom in that area. We needed to do Engineer pass as we had one vehicle/atually two that didn't want to camp and had a place to stay in Lake City. We camped along the river about 15 minutes from Lake city. It was nice to go to town and hang out at the saloon with live music! Then return back to camp.
 
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trikebubble

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If I'm not mistaken, there is a bathrom in that area. We needed to do Engineer pass as we had one vehicle/atually two that didn't want to camp and had a place to stay in Lake City. We camped along the river about 15 minutes from Lake city. It was nice to go to town and hang out at the saloon with live music! Then return back to camp.
Ha. There is. About 5 minutes up the road from where we camped. Middke of nowhere, pretty impressed we were.
 
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FFJOORD

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If I'm not mistaken, there is a bathrom in that area. We needed to do Engineer pass as we had one vehicle/atually two that didn't want to camp and had a place to stay in Lake City. We camped along the river about 15 minutes from Lake city. It was nice to go to town and hang out at the saloon with live music! Then return back to camp.
BINGO! That's exactly the idea! Ending up in Ouray on Monday when the crowds have disbursed. Not sure if we are hitting the rally point in Alamosa the following weekend but sounds like it will be fun too.
 
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JDGreens

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Ha. There is. About 5 minutes up the road from where we camped. Middke of nowhere, pretty impressed we were.
I wish I could go down to Ouray and the surrounding area at least once a season. My goal for next season is a trip to Ouray for at least four nights. I think through the middle of the week would be nice.
 

JDGreens

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BINGO! That's exactly the idea! Ending up in Ouray on Monday when the crowds have disbursed. Not sure if we are hitting the rally point in Alamosa the following weekend but sounds like it will be fun too.
Yeah it is a great way to start off your trip. If you are able to get to Ouray by lets say 12 pm.-1 pm. You can head to the start if the alpine loop from Mineral creek. That way you accomplish the first two trails of the loop and find a site near Lake City. The next day make your way to the other half of the loop, Cinnamon passand Wagner to Animas Forks and if you want to complete the loop you can go down to Silverton. From there you can go up 550 to the trail head of Corkscrew which you will find ample of dispersed camping at the bottom. We actually choose to part ways with the other two rigs at Animas Forks because due to having to hang out in the ghost town for an hour due to a down pour and. We needed to find our camp spot for the next couple of nights as they had lodging in Ouray for those nights and we felt CorkScrew was going to be close enough to Ouray. Our plans for Sunday was to run Black Bear and return back via Imogene pass. (Which was the highlight of our trip) at least for me and Greg. Arron needed to go back to Ouay after BB pass. We did Imogene which for me was the best trail out of all of them. We got back to Ouray around dinner time The nicest thing about camping in the CorkScrew area for the last couple of nights is that you guys can make a short drive back into Ouray to take advantage of thier public pool. They have very nice showers to clean the grime off after a few days of trails dust. It is also remodeled and a very nice hot springs pool to relax away the evening. ($18 for adults). I hope you have a great time. It is one of those gems that you will fall in love with.
 
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JDGreens

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Im not sure what you are driving? But if you have a rig with independent suspension (like a 4 runner) be careful at on Black Bear just before the steps, there is a spot that looks easy (and is) but many people start down this line, it catches them off guard and when it gets tippy they panic, try to turn out of it instead of into it and end up on thier side. It's not where the scary part is. If you watch any u-tube videos you scoop it out. Other then that Black bear is pretty tame but you still need to pay close attention to it.
 
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FFJOORD

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JDGreens-Wow thanks for such great detail! Really, I do appreciate it. Unfortunately my wife is a little of BB pass. I'll have to bring a friend/spotter to do that. We did Imogene when the FJ was stock and since we've got OME suspension and always ready with a Tepui Autana. Your version sounds like a great idea, I'll take that into consideration for sure. My original thought was to go to Lake City and meander around and see if there was a good pub and grub with some music or something then find a camp west or south of town. Hit either engineer or cinnamon pass in the morning and maybe animas forks down to Silverton then camp near there. Basically just piece meal it together, but again your direction seems a little better thought out rather than backtracking our way around. I'll pass this info on to navigator. . Thanks again.
IMG_0781.JPGIMG_1231.JPG
 

JDGreens

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Yeah I did a lot of research on it. The only mistake I really made was not sitting down with everyone to get a good understanding of everyones expectations. I was going strictly for the trails and camping off grid.

My wife and I had gone to Ouray with my daughter, son in law and 3 grand kids about 3 years prior. I did a little recon then. My wife really hates shelf roads so with her blessing I go.

I don't know how the night life is on week days in all those towns but I do know they all have thier own mystique about them. I would like to explore Telluride Co. The next time we go (maybe next summer). Cheers
 
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I was down in Ouray area all last week. Didnt finish my jeep in time, so was forced to run Corkscrew/Hurricane/California, Engineer/Cinnamon, Ophir/Imogene in my giant f150 and then the wife met me down there with her grand cherokee and Friday we ran BB pass (had her drive the switchbacks) and Engineer/Cinnamon (she drove most of it) on Saturday.

When we ran BB, we had a group of 6 of us (1 Dodge Ram 2500 Prospector, 2 4Runners, 1 Tacoma, 1 FJ and our GC). Dodge had a 21 point turn at the top of the switchbacks and 1 spot prior to that which was a tight squeeze. Our jeep did great, couple areas of 2-3 wheeling but not scrapes, battle scars or bruises. Thought the FJ was going to flip at one point going down the stairs as he kept locking up his front brakes.