Location: San Juan Mountains
Directions: Outside Ouray, turnoff just out of town on Hwy. 550
Time: 2-5 hours, depending on how often you stop! About 10 miles.
Camp Bird Road begins immediately as you leave Ouray on Highway 550 heading toward Silverton. The sign is easy to see, and it’s the same turnoff as the Ouray Ice Park. Follow the road approximately 3 miles to one of the the coolest places on the road: “Drinking Cup.” There is a natural spring here and the miners used to hang a drinking cup on a string over the side of the cliff for dipping into the water.
Photo Opp: Drive your vehicle to the pull off at Drinking Cup, and point it across the canyon (the best photo happens when you pull up precariously close to the edge of the cliff, so be careful!). Have someone in your party run back down the road and take your photo perched on the edge, with the canyon hundreds of feet below.
At around 4.6 miles you’ll see the remains of Camp Bird Mine on your left. After the mine you will pass under Hanging Rock.
At around 6 miles you’ll pass the turnoff for Imogene Pass, which goes up and over to Telluride. You will begin to notice some old homesteads and mines in the trees now, and this is the old townsite of Sneffels. Soon you will see the turnoff for Governor Basin. Now it starts to get fun! On the left, the views open up and you can see Twin Falls, which were featured in the old Coors commericals of the 1970s.
You can take road all the way to the top of the Basin, where you’ll find a parking lot for the trailhead to Blue Lakes hiking trail, which will take you to the summit of Mount Sneffles if you are in good enough shape!
This is an up-and-back road (unless you take Imogene Pass to Telluride), so turn around and go back the way you came!