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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had the privilege of driving Imogene Pass this previous weekend, going from Telluride to Ouray. I saw a Blue 2nd Gen Xterra with a rear tire carrier coming up with a group the opposite direction as we headed down, not sure if that's anyone here. That was pretty much the only X I saw, everyone else was in a Toyota or Jeep. Saw one Chevy Colorado.

Two friends came along, all of us very green to this off-roading thing - I had only done one other trail, but figured I lived in rural NM and drive various forest and BIA roads on occasion, how bad could it be?

Haha, let's just say it was quite the experience, as rain and hail started hitting us about 5-10 minutes after we reached the top.

Video
Pictures

1. Coming up to Tomboy Mine
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2. The second mine area ruins with a creek running through it
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3. Reaching Imogene Pass
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4. Survived and made it to Ouray! Aftermath of driving through muddy descent and big puddles
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Thoughts on the Trail from a Beginner
  • Overall, the scariest part of the trail going from Telluride up to Ouray for the first half would have to be the traffic. It wasn't too bad most of the time, as people would stop in turnouts or places that would be wide enough to have at least 1-2 feet on either side. But, for whatever reason, a Jeep was stopped in quite the inconvenient spot and I had to make a hair splitting pass (within 1 inch of a Jeep and maybe inches on the side of a cliff).
  • Going down the pass to Ouray, it was raining pretty hard, but surprised at how much traction I had. I thought that being caught in a thunderstorm would be bad (and maybe it would have been if it was a consistent downpour that was going on the entire day), but a brief 2 hour thunderstorm was not bad at all.
  • This trail must have deteriorated significantly in the recent past as I have read and heard, or some people are just extremely skilled drivers - I cannot imagine a lifted Subaru making this trail right now as I have read people have done in the past. Many rocks are very big, descents on the way down fairly steep coming off of sloped rock faces. Watching the FJ Cruiser in front of me at times, the rear diff was barely clearing many of the big rocks it was going over. IDK how they would handle this terrain now. Glad to go up in a real 4x4 platform.
  • Hill Descent Control saved my butt going down some of the really steep rock outcrops on the way down in the rain. Even in 4Lo and 1st gear, maybe my braking technique isn't good enough, but I went off or slipped off on rock outcrop a little too fast once and heard a big clunk. Didn't damage anything but was a bit scary. After that, started testing the HDC button here and there whenever the X felt like it was getting too steep and that worked well. Know from reading not everyone is the biggest fan, but maybe for a newbie it can be a life saver.
  • Very glad I upgraded the suspension. With the stock leaf springs I feel like I probably would have been hitting the bump stops the entire trail.
  • Dropped the tires to 24 PSI, and already was a noticeable improvement. Might try a little lower next time, but seemed fine.
  • Following some more experienced drivers definitely helped confidence.
TL;DR

Imogene Pass was pretty dang fun, and very scenic too and would highly recommend doing at least once. Lots of Yotas, not a lot of Nissans. Definitely bucket list status. Thanks for reading.
 

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Dropped the tires to 24 PSI
You can easily drop to 15 with those tires, only dropping to 24 is not even airing down.

Imogene is one of my favorites. I like from Ouray to Telluride better though. Done it both ways at least 4 times.
 

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Im 99% sure the Blue X you saw was an old member here, He left around the time the site changed vendors or whatever.

he was up there recently.
 

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Glad you had a good trip. I bet the jeep was a rental.... and I'll leave it at that.
Last time we did Imogene we got caught in a snowstorm on top and you had no idea where the trail actually was. Luckily a dirt biker was in front of us and I could follow his track.
 

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Good job. Fun pictures.
Colorado is beautiful and it would be fun... if it wouldn't be for people 😱
Last thing you want on a challenging road some snout on your tail.
I was watching youtube over the lock downs and Black bear pass looked like a highway. I am super happy for you having a great time.
 

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Ah dang, i did this the day before! I just missed you. Same direction, and just like you, it rained on the way down. I have a fair amount of 4x4 experience but also thought it was more challenging than I expected (bike rack didn't help).

Worst part of it was the effect it had on my girlfriend. She almost ended our relationship of 8 years after that LOL. She got out and walked and didn't talk to me for 4 hours. RIP

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@4EPHOMOPKA Thanks. Totally agree; I stopped by one of the Jeep tour places in Telluride to ask for trail conditions, and from their account, it seems like the increased traffic the past few years has really been the problem in causing incidents on the trail. I'm thankful the time slot I went during was not bad at all.

@AlbatrossCafe Dang! Shoot. I was staying at Alta Lakes the night before after doing some hiking and my friend was fishing. Lol, and I can totally understand. I am told by the wife: no more trails like this one. It definitely had nerve racking moments quite often. Hope you had a good trip besides that, haha.
 

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I am told by the wife: no more trails like this one
Then don't try Black Bear. And frankly the upper part of Mineral Creek after the turn off to Poughkeepsie and before it intersects with Engineer. If she didn't like Imogene she's gonna rip yer nuts off trying those.
 

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Ah dang, i did this the day before! I just missed you. Same direction, and just like you, it rained on the way down. I have a fair amount of 4x4 experience but also thought it was more challenging than I expected (bike rack didn't help).

Worst part of it was the effect it had on my girlfriend. She almost ended our relationship of 8 years after that LOL. She got out and walked and didn't talk to me for 4 hours. RIP

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"but babe, the views though!"
 

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it seems like the increased traffic the past few years has really been the problem in causing incidents on the trail
And that is entirely due to novices driving in places they have no business being. EVERY SINGLE TIME I have been to Ouray, our group has rescued someone. I have also seen the rolled vehicles of deceased drivers yet to be removed.

Frankly you are lucky IMO. You shouldn't have done a trail like that without more experience, and you should NEVER, EVER go alone.
 

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@4EPHOMOPKA it seems like the increased traffic the past few years has really been the problem in causing incidents on the trail.
And that is entirely due to novices driving in places they have no business being. EVERY SINGLE TIME I have been to Ouray, our group has rescued someone. I have also seen the rolled vehicles of deceased drivers yet to be removed.
Part of the reason is that too many people say "Oh that is an easy trail" or "Anyone can do it", "I ran that with a stock (insert some silly car like a Pinto or Tiguan here) and didn't have a problem."

When asked for advice about a trail (granted it is the umpty jillionth time someone has asked) be honest, skip the sarcasm. Refer them to the various trail book/info authors. Tell them to go ask at the local Jeep rental places for advice. And if you just ran that trail, take the time to also add to your response what kind of vehicle you have and what mods it has, (we do like to brag on our rigs, ya know). Also your opinion of a trail and mine may differ. I'll be honest, I hate Ophir!! It cost me $275 for oil, JB Weld, and a new oil pan. I was darn lucky. So I will tell people that it isn't as easy as what everyone says and what photos from 5 years ago show.

Finally, take a few minutes to post trail reports on the various trail sites. It doesn't do any good to look at a trail rating and the last time a report was written is 2 years ago.
 

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Did it two years ago in July, Ouray to Telluride. First rig over the pass, first day it was open. Muddy, slippery and butt-clenching over the pass towards Telluride, at first hairpin was stopped and told the guy at the top shouldn’t have let me over, they were doing some blasting down trail and would have to wait an hour or two. Turned around and went back over and returned to Ouray. Trail must have degraded the last two years, it wasn’t bad, but I’m heavily modified TS on 35s
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Also your opinion of a trail and mine may differ. I'll be honest, I hate Ophir!! It cost me $275 for oil, JB Weld, and a new oil pan. I was darn lucky. So I will tell people that it isn't as easy as what everyone says and what photos from 5 years ago show.
I'm surprised; I was thinking of trying Ophir as an "easier" trail sometime. What happened?
 

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I did Imogene Pass on July 8th!! Ouray to Telluride. I was aired down to 18psi running stock size Cooper AT3's and that seemed to work well. The descent to Telluride was a bit sketchy at times. I did use low range and the hill descent control also.

I did see two other Xterras up there when I was there. One was a stockish looking green SE. I spoke to them at the top for a bit. The other was a white 2012 P4X on a 2" lift & 33's, driven by a guy named Trevor. I don't think he's a member here, but we compared notes on our trucks for a bit on the trail. It was a fun time.

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Part of the reason is that too many people say "Oh that is an easy trail" or "Anyone can do it", "I ran that with a stock (insert some silly car like a Pinto or Tiguan here) and didn't have a problem."go.
This is exactly what got me in trouble. I read a review on alltrails that said "I did it in a Jeep Cherokee Overland and came close to scraping a couple times but it was doable". I thought that if the non-trailhawk version of the newest Jeep Cherokee can do it then I should really have no problem. I was expecting more of a gravel forest-service-type road than an actual 4x4 trail.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
This is exactly what got me in trouble. I read a review on alltrails that said "I did it in a Jeep Cherokee Overland and came close to scraping a couple times but it was doable". I thought that if the non-trailhawk version of the newest Jeep Cherokee can do it then I should really have no problem. I was expecting more of a gravel forest-service-type road than an actual 4x4 trail.
Case in point, have you seen this: Mazda Miata on Imogene Pass Rd

While this was not the full trail, that is still crazy.
 
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