Black Bear Road is officially known as Forest Service Road 648, and is one of the most notorious off-road trails in the U.S. Located in southwestern Colorado, it was originally constructed in the late 1800s to service the Black Bear Mine, which produced gold, silver and lead, and was subsequently reopened for recreational travel in 1959.
The trail starts from the summit of the 11,018-foot Red Mountain Pass on U.S. Highway 550 to Telluride, Colorado. The Black Bear Road crests at Black Bear Pass at an elevation of 12,840 feet. Descending over a set of infamous switchbacks as it navigates the mountainsides above the city of Telluride. The road passes Bridal Veil Falls, which is the highest waterfall in Colorado.
The road is exclusively one-way traffic (down hill), except for during the annual Jeep Jamboree in which the travel is reversed for one day only. The road is open a few months of the year, from late summer to early fall until the first snow. Travel is not for the faint of heart.