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Black Bear Road

Black Bear Road is also the name of the C.W. McCall album which contains the song that made the road famous.  Black Bear Road is a notorious jeep trail that starts from 11,018 foot summit of Red Mountain Pass on U.S. Highway 550 (between Ouray and Silverton) to Telluride, Colorado. The Black Bear Road crests at Black Bear Pass, elevation 12,840. The road descends over a set of infamous switchbacks as it navigates the heights above Telluride. The road passes Bridal Veil Falls (Colorado), the highest waterfall in Colorado. The road was made famous in a spoken word song by C.W. McCall of the same name.

 

 

Black Bear Road is only open a few months out of the year, in the late summer and early fall. Black Bear Road usually doesn't open until the last week of July. The road is traveled one way only, downhill (except for the annual Jeeper's Jamboree in which the path is reversed for one day only), from the Red Mountain Pass side. The start of the trail is marked along U.S. 550 with the famous sign that reads:
 

 

TELLURIDE >
CITY OF GOLD
12 MILES - 2 HOURS
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE
CRAZY TO DRIVE THIS
ROAD - BUT IT HELPS
JEEPS ONLY

Black Bear Road is a difficult, dangerous trail even for four-wheel drive vehicles. If you have to be rescued, expect a towing bill in four figures. In 2004 a jeep slipped off the slope near the beginning of the switchbacks and fell several thousand feet, killing two of the passengers and severely injuring two others. Do not attempt this trail if you are not a highly experienced jeeper. Guided tours are available.

 

 

 
C.W. McCall's Black Bear Road Lyrics
(c.w. mccall, bill fries, chip davis)

Me an' rj an' the kids was on a camp-out in the mountains, and we had us one'a them u-drive-'em army jeep cars which we rented from a fella by the name of kubozke for thirty bucks a day, buy you gas along the way, take a rabbit's foot and leave a pint of blood for a dee-posit.

And he 'splained it all to us how we was supposed to get to telluride, which is fifty miles away by way of the regular highway, however, there was a shortcut but unless we had drove the black bear road before, we'd better be off to stay, stay in bed an sleep late. (pay no attention to the gitar there.)

Well, we took up off'n the highway and we come upon a sign says "black bear road. you don't have to be crazy to drive this road, but it helps." i says, "rj, this must the shortcut
Kubozke was talkin' about." she didn't pay no mind, 'cause she was makin' peanut butter sandwiches for the kids in the back seat throwin' rocks and drinkin' kool-aid and playin' count-the-li-Se-plates. but they wasn't havin' too much fun a-countin' license plate or cars, 'cause there weren't no other cars.

We went about a mile-and-a-half in about four hours, busted off the right front fender, tore a hole in the oil pan on a rock as big as a hall closet. went over a bump and spilt the kool-aid and roy gene stuck his bolo knife right through the convertible top and the dog threw up all over the back seat. peanut butter don't agree with him, you see.

So we had to stop and take off the top and air everything out and clean it up. the dog run off and rj says she felt her asthma comin' on. i was sittin' there wonderin' what to do when the en-tir-see-Nic san joo-wan u-drive-'em army jeep car sank in the mud. at thirteen thousand feet above sea level.

Well, we shoveled it out and ate our lunch, the dog made a yellow hole in the snow and roy gene got out his instamatic and took a snapshot of it. mary elizabeth drawed a picture of the road; it looked like a whole bunch a' zs and ws all strung together. and rj took one look at it and said that the only way that jeep car is goin' down that road is over her dead body. then a rock slipped out from under the wheel and the u-drive-'em army jeep car went right over the edge of the cliff. yahoo-oo-oo-oo!

"doggone-it, roy gene! how many times do i have to 'splain it to you? when i tell you to put a rock under the wheel, i mean rock! now look at that, what you have there is no bigger'n a grape-fruit.

 

 

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.
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Vehicle
Type
1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s
5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
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1947-1949
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1949-1953
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1953-1968
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1976-1986
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1987-1996
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1997-present
     
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                    CJ-5 - 1955-1983                                             Wrangler JK
                    CJ-6 - (stretched CJ-5) - 1955-1981                                                   JK Unlimited
                    Jeep DJ Postal / Dispatch Jeep / Surrey Gala Package                                                  
                                                                        CJ-10                                                
Mid SUV       VJ
Jeepster
                              C101 C104                                                       Liberty KJ
Large SUV                                     Wagoneer / Cherokee SJ Grand Wagoneer   Gr. Cherokee ZJ Gr. Cherokee WJ Gr. Cherokee WK
                                                                              Cherokee XJ         Commander
Pickup                                     Gladiator Honcho
SJ
Comanche
MJ
                                 
                                    J-Series Pickups                                            
Truck                       Forward Control
FC-150, FC-170
                                                                                       
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Crossover                                                                                                                             Compass
                                                                                                                            Patriot
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