Ultimate Off Roading Experience Telluride CO

ultimate off road experience

Ultimate Off Road Experience in Telluride CO

I have a question for you! Would you drive two-half hours around a mountain to get to your destination or 50-minutes off-roading straight through it!?

imgWe chose the ladder and took Ophir Pass through San Juan Mountains to get to the Ice Lake Basin trail! If you know me, I am deathly afraid of driving on the edge of cliffs so when I saw the route I knew it was going to be intense… I tightened my seat belt, hyperventilated a bit, held my breath at times, squeezed the edge of my seat for dear life and went for it.

At one point, I almost jumped out of the car and walked!


GUESS WHAT… we survived and it was by far the coolest most beautiful drives I have ever been on. I highly recommend this drive to anyone, even those deathly afraid like me. If I can do it so can you! Take a look at how beautiful this trail is below!


We took this drive on September 22nd. Fall color was nearly at its peak. It began as a dirt road passing through many bright yellow aspen trees.

imgWe passed through an adorable little neighborhood. Drive very slow.

imgA tunnel of trees.

imgAfter about thirty minutes of driving we had to put the Defender in 4-wheel drive.

imgThere was a half dozen Toyota Tundras so we let them pass.


imgThe trail got a bit tighter in some parts.

imgNot having a clue what we were getting ourselves into, we came upon the most terrifying part of the whole pass. Photos cannot do justice how steep and narrow this part of the trail was.

imgThis was the point where I wanted to get out and WALK. I mean look at how narrow this pass is!

imgRon went about five miles an hour, thankfully the Defender is right side drive so wasn’t sitting on the edge. Driving over the sheets of slate rock sounded like a wind chime. I never felt my heart pound so hard before.

imgOnce we made it through, we stopped to let the Defender cool down and watched others take turns driving along the edge. Can you see the tiny car in the distance?


imgWe saw about five other vehicles total, including this awesome old Toyota waiting to pass. Only one car can go at a time.


imgI sat up here soaking up the views. I have never seen mountainous landscapes with these colors before.

imgFiery reds, oranges, yellows mixed in with grays and pines never looked so beautiful.

imgAfter about a 20-minute break we continued along the pass. This was the last major climb.


imgWe made it to the highest point on Ophir Pass at 11,789′ feet!

imgI was so proud of Ron’s driving skills, the Defender making it and me not having a having a nervous breakdown :P!

Learning later, apparently, Ophir Pass is one of the easiest of all the well-known passes in the area. We saw a family with kids on their laps passing by. I blame growing up in flat Michigan being terrified of cliffs :P.



imgI couldn’t get over how beautiful this drive was. It’s just us in the middle of no where with peaks all around us full of color.  imgAfter seeing all the views, would you do it?! I would love to hear from you! Comment below, Pin, Share and subscribe to stay up to date on our latest adventures!



ROUTE Ophir Pass, Telluride Colorado

DIRECTIONS US-550, Silverton, CO 81433

DISTANCE 10 miles one way


TYPICALLY OPEN 6/15 – 9/30

DIFFICULTY Easy (however if you are like me just drive with cation)

WHAT TO EXPECT Must have an off-road vehicle. We took our newly remodeled 1988 Land Rover Defender with a new Cummins R2.8 engine in it was great. Expect to spend nearly one hour one way. Pass through two forests, San Juan Forest and Uncompahgre National Forest.  Most well-known pass in the area. Shelf roads, peaks all around, hundreds of aspen trees, beautiful views the entire way. One car only pass in a couple areas. HIGHLY RECCOMEND driving this iconic trail. Visit mid-end of September to view the fall color. We went Sepember 22nd.






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