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Ophir Pass, Alta Lakes

3 Reviews
Location Telluride, CO
Rating Moderate,
Length 14.4mi
Time 3hrs

Vehicle Types


Beautiful high-mountain pass between Silverton and Telluride.

Ophir Pass is a convenient and scenic way to get from Silverton to Telluride. Seasonal wildflowers grow thick at higher elevations. Alta Lakes has great camping and picnicking in a beautiful mountain setting. Camp in designated spots. Unlicensed vehicles are allowed on Ophir Pass Road east of the town of Ophir; however, you cannot ride through town. Watch for signs. Snowplows usually clear Ophir Pass in June. Road to Alta Lakes is closed October through May 15.


Trail Ratings Defined

Applies to narrow, rocky shelf road on the west side of Ophir Pass. Passing an oncoming vehicle can be a little scary for a novice driver. Wait for traffic to clear before starting across. The last tenth of a mile to Alta Lakes is rocky and requires high clearance to reach camping.




Ophir 10mi Alta Lakes 4.4



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Current Conditions

(970) 327-4261San Juan and Uncompahgre N.F., Norwood R.D.

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Trail Updates

Submitted by Mike
The pass is open and it is clear there were around 12 avalanches that occurred on the pass this year. They had abnormal snow fall this year and some passes are closed still.
The pass is on good shape with only one “challenging” area. There is one tight switchback requiring a K turn for 4 door Jeeps and then there is an area of loose shale along with a steep drop off and there is only room for one vehicle with no pull-offs. I wouldn’t call them challenging as it is more common sense than anything. Uphill drivers have right of way… some people don’t seem to understand or know that. The views are absolutely amazing. No need to air down but we did disconnect for some ride comfort.


Rate this trail on a scale of 1 to 5.


Bob Walters says

I first drove this in my Isuzu Rodeo about 20 years ago. Last week I drove it in RAV4 and found it to be more challenging than I remember. I don't have an exaggerated fear of heights and never worried about my personal safety, BUT I was concerned about my rental car. Good thing there was no tracking beacon on it. Anyway, this trail poses no problems for those with a "real" 4x4; but for those with a basic crossover, I think the trail is a bit more difficult/worrisome than the authors indicate (I LOVE their book by the way).

Trenton DeBacker says

I traveled this trail for the first time August 16, 2019. It's classified as "moderate" but it really depends. If you're coming from US-550 it's mostly downhill so you can make it in 2 wheel drive, like I did (in my '98 Chevy K3500 SRW). If you're coming from Ophir, it's uphill in the really rocky area, so it might be harder in 2 wheel drive. Most of the trail is a typical dirt path. The rocky area is the only hard part. The ground is covered in fist-size rocks (sometimes larger) who knows how deep. Luckily, there are wide spots to pass and the hardest part is open so you can see people coming. The pass had some stunning views and I would definitely travel it again.

Ophir Pass/Alta Lakes says

Glen Wilcox, June 8, 2020. This is a classic jeep shelf road and the views of the San Juan mountains are spectacular. The very narrow shelf section after Ophir Pass, heading towards, Ophir is the only really challenging section, mostly for exposure. Be sure to roll your windows down so you can hear the large rocks moving as you roll across it! You can see down the very narrow shelf so watch for a clearing before heading down. I was driving a 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk ~11" of factory clearance,265/65R18, aired down to 19psi. No issues.
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