The Squealing Tire

Tire Talk from the Experts at Discount Tire Company.

The Squealing Tire - Tire Talk from the Experts at Discount Tire Company.

2013 FJ Summit – Black Bear Pass

2013 FJ Summit – Black Bear Pass

July, 2013 Ouray, CO: The sky was clear for day 2 of the FJ Summit in Ouray Colorado.  Our Discount Tire team was anxious to get going for another fantastic day of trail riding and I was very excited to be spending the day on Black Bear Pass. 

Today, Cary and I met at the Ouray Mining Park for the Discount Tire sponsored trail on Black Bear Pass.  The trail guides first went over some of the safety precautions and checked off all the drivers that were signed up to make sure everyone makes it through the trail.

Drivers Meeting for Discount Tire Sponsored Black Bear Pass Trail Ride

Cary and I tried to do this trail 2 years ago with another group during the 2011 FJ Summit but were stopped at the top of the summit by snow.  That year, the trail was closed through July – which was later than normal.

After the quick drivers meeting we were off and running.  It didn’t take long before we came across our first, and second waterfall for the day.  



The elevation for the start of this trail is just over 11,000 feet.  There was water running down the rocky trail just before making it to the summit which is 12,800 feet. It was a good spot for everyone to test the wet traction of their tires.  Cary’s Nitto Trail Grappler tires, which are mounted on Method Racing NV Wheels, did great.  His tires never missed a beat on the steep, slick, rocky face.  They are an impressive tire to say the least.

Discount Tire heading to the summit of Black Bear Pass

Climbing to the Summit of Black Bear Pass

There were two Toyota Tacoma trucks from Falken Tire along for the trail ride.  Both trucks were running Falken Wild Peak A/T tires and both made the climb look easy. 


At the top of the summit there was a slight dusting of snow from the night before.  The view from up here is outstanding.  You can see the trail off to the right.  It winds its way down into the cut of the mountains and then drops into the town of Telluride.

Summit of Black Bear Pass

We took a short break here.  It was a perfect place to line everyone up for a group photo.

Black Bear Pass

Since everyone was together I also took the opportunity to snap a photo of all the people on our trip.


Of course, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take a group “jump shot” as well.

Fj Summit 2013 Black Bear Pass Group Photo

The colors were absolutely stunning as we started down towards Telluride.  At this point the narrowing trail turns into one way traffic (down) only.

Black Bear Pass 2013 During FJ Summit


We saw a few Marmot’s along the top part of the trail as well.  Can you find the Marmot in this photo?

Marmot on Black Bear Pass

There was a spotter at the start of the switchbacks that asked everyone to get together for a safety talk.  He said he would be at the first obstacle to help if the driver wanted it.  He went over the hand signals that he would use to safely navigate drivers through the steep narrow rocky terrain.


With everyone lined up, the procession started down the mountain.

Black Bear Pass looking down at Telluride

Cary’s Nitto Trail Grapplers had no problem finding grip on the steep downhill part of the trail.


Near the top, after a sharp 3 point turn, there is a beautiful waterfall that crosses the trail.

Waterfall on Black Bear Pass



Everyone gathered up after the falls for a look at the city before heading down the very steep switchbacks of Black Bear Pass. 

switchbacks on Black Bear Pass

The city of Telluride was starting to get closer in my view finder.


As we progressed down, everyone in the group teamed up to help spot each other down.  The narrow switchback corners were very sharp and difficult to see around.

switchbacks on Black Bear Pass

Discount Tire On Black Bear Pass

The guys from Falken Tire did a great job navigating down the switchbacks.  Their longer wheel base required them to back up a few extra times but they had fun doing it.

Falken Tire on Black Bear Pass


Narrow Switchbacks on Black Bear Pass

About half way down there is great view of Bridal Veil Falls.  This is a huge waterfall that seems to drop into the trees.  At 365 feet it is the longest free falling waterfall in Colorado.  I would love to have a chance to see the view from inside the building at the top but it is not open for the public.  Seeing it makes me also wonder what the waterfall sounds like from inside the house.  What a view.

Bridal Vail Waterfall on Black Bear Pass

Bridal Vail Waterfall on Black Bear Pass

At the bottom of the trail and the edge of Telluride we all gathered together for one last time.   This was the end of the Discount Tire sponsored Black Bear Pass ride for the day.   From here, we opted to continue back to Ouray on the Ophir Trail while others decided to stay and enjoy some time in Telluride.


We had another unbelievable day on the trails.  We made some new friends and Cary and I finally got to finish Black Bear Pass.

Black Bear Pass is not an overly technical trail but it will certainly test your nerves.  The views, crisp waterfalls and three point turns on this very narrow trail are a must experience for everyone. 

Here are some additional photos from this outstanding trail ride.

 Missed our coverage of day 1 of the 2013 FJ Summit? See it here: 2013 FJ Summit Poughkeepsie Gulch

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Don McNeillyAbout The Author: Don McNeilly (17 Posts)

If it has 4 wheel drive and I'm allowed to take it off road I'm on it! I've been an ATV and UTV off road enthusiast for as long as I can remember. I love exploring new areas photographing my adventures and helping other outdoor enthusiasts... Click the Author Profile icon below to read more.

Category: Events, FJ Summit