Ophir Pass

4.6/5 (86 reviews)
Ophir, Colorado (San Miguel County)
Last Updated: 12/01/2022
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Trail Information

Highlights

Climbing to 11,789 feet and passing through both the Uncompahgre National Forest and the San Juan National Forest, Ophir Pass is a spectacular mountain pass that offers alpine views of the upper Ophir Valley and neighboring peaks. This pass has been traversed for hundreds of years for many different reasons. The pass was originally used by the Navajo natives on hunting trips between the San Miguel and Animas Valleys. In 1878, the tiny mining town of Ophir was established, and by 1881 the new Ophir Pass Toll Road began to carry goods between early mountain settlements. The arrival of the railroad decreased the use of the pass in the early 1890s, and the road became a rarely used wagon road. Finally, in 1953, the modern Ophir Pass that we know today was first opened to Jeeps and other off-road vehicles. While the shelf roads may test your fortitude, the views off of this iconic trail are well worth an afternoon. For Jeep owners, this road is 1 of 6 trails in Colorado recognized as a Badge of Honor Trail. Don't forget to use the Badge of Honor app to check in and get a special badge showing trail completion.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Ophir Pass is a high alpine 10-mile mountain pass from Highway 145 to Highway 550, connecting Ophir and Silverton. The pass is naturally closed by snowfall each year and plowed open by county road crews late each Spring. The road is bumpy, packed dirt that is well traveled as you leave the town of Ophir and begin ascending 2,000 vertical feet to the summit. There are several small stream crossings but no significant obstacles until you reach the treeline. The final push to the summit is extremely rocky and rough along a loose, narrow shelf road covered with tallus rock that can test the nerves. There are limited passing opportunities above the treeline on the west side, but visibility is very good. Once cresting the summit, the road widens and begins a gradual descent down a hard-packed, dirt road. East of the summit, the road number changes as you travel into the San Juan National Forest. Since this trail is fairly easy on vehicles, any stock high-clearance vehicle with 4WD should easily get through here in good conditions. Airing down will make your ride a bit smoother. Lingering snow, water, or bad weather can make this trail treacherous.
This trail is popular. Expect heavy 4x4 and dirt-bike traffic.

Trail Reviews

4.8/5 (87 reviews)
JD Marshall
Official Crew
110300
Status: Impassable
Visited: 12/01/2022

This trail travels above the timberline and is considered impassable due to snow until spring. See you next season!
JD Marshall
Official Crew
110300
Status: Impassable
Visited: 11/03/2022

These trails are at high altitude and have gotten snow this season as of this notice. Travel on these trails is now considered dangerous and they will announce official seasonal closures of these trails soon.
This trail guide's difficulty was changed on 09/22/2022
John
Official Crew
35250
Status: Open
Rated 3/5
Visited: 09/11/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

A bit conflicted on this trail. Amazing views, boring trail. A transfer case is highly advisable. I would personally not do this trail in an AWD or 2WD rig, but I am sure it's been done. This would be a great beginner trail or stock vehicle-friendly trail, otherwise, I put this on the bottom of the bucket as far as the San Juans go. Ophir is a trail I am glad I did once, but will probably bypass it in favor of the more interesting trails in the area.
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/10/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Very scenic and easy trail, that I used as a shortcut to Silverton from my campsite at Alto Lakes. I highly recommend this trail.
Trail Review: Ophir Pass - Terry More
Trail Review: Ophir Pass - Terry More
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