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RED FEATHER LAKES - CHAMBER LAKES OHV Trip plan

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Howdy, thought I post up a possible planned OHV trip starting near Red feather Lakes in NOCO and ending up southwest near Chambers Lake. 

The provided OHV seasonal trail we would like to take down to Chambers Lake and Lost Lake is FR517  off HWY69 west to FR177 and follow FR177 south to the lakes. 

* I've traced in RED the planned route 517-177 * 

517%20177%201_zpsksj4eps3.png

So one way is roughly 22.9 miles. 

Has anyone done this trail yet or something similar in this area?

Edited by zmurph24

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I did it a few years ago. I believe it was the end of July. It was still pretty muddy even in July

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9 minutes ago, dlee said:

I did it a few years ago. I believe it was the end of July. It was still pretty muddy even in July

you think this year might be different since Colorado has averaged half of the annual snow fall it usually gets?

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I sure hope so, I would like to do this trail as well this year

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what are the trail conditions like? Im wanting to take my wife and let her enjoy a long cruise but if it gets too rocky and steep she wont like it as much

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Dont know yet, the gate is still closed that goes over Killpecker into the deadman road area. I don't think it will open until Memorial weekend or the first week of June

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When I went a couple years ago I think it was in June or July, will have to look at some pics. Couple spots had super deep water on the North end. There are a couple tricky rock spots but nothing too bad. At the time I did it all on a Raptor 700, another guy was on a CRF450x, and one more on a Polaris 800 I believe. Best off waiting some. I would be interested in this ride as well.

i have not done the route to Bellaire lakes but have done darn near all other trails in the area coming off of Killpecker.

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20 hours ago, zmurph24 said:

you think this year might be different since Colorado has averaged half of the annual snow fall it usually gets?

Just an FYI...Nearly everywhere across the state within the mountains was nearly 100% of average snowpack.  Some exceptions are North Platte/Laramie and Yampa/White river basins which were below average....but nothing close to the 50% you are indicating.  I think in areas of the front range, the snowfall was way down such as Denver got about 20" of snowfall (e.g. at airport) vs. normal of about 55"+ and even that was quite variable depending on where in the metro area that you lived.

http://www.denverpost.com/2017/04/07/colorado-snowpack-2017/

Recent storms seem to be bringing plenty of snow above treeline.  Just looking at Mt Evans from the Denver Metro area....has more snow above treeline than they had most of the winter.

I think you will find that anything at tree line or above is going to have a lot of snow until well into June.  Many of the areas you are talking about dont open up until June 15th at the earliest and I recall seeing on some of the Northern Colorado trail maps that some areas dont open until July 1st.  I dont have knowledge of the particular route you are talking about.

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16 minutes ago, SilvFx said:

Just an FYI...Nearly everywhere across the state within the mountains was nearly 100% of average snowpack.  Some exceptions are North Platte/Laramie and Yampa/White river basins which were below average....but nothing close to the 50% you are indicating.  I think in areas of the front range, the snowfall was way down such as Denver got about 20" of snowfall (e.g. at airport) vs. normal of about 55"+ and even that was quite variable depending on where in the metro area that you lived.

 

Ahh gotcha yeah I must have been thinking about the average for the Denver metro area but i thought as a whole the state was just below average.  I understand Ill have to wait until more summer time to ride the specific trail I marked out. 

 

5 hours ago, dlee said:

Dont know yet, the gate is still closed that goes over Killpecker into the deadman road area. I don't think it will open until Memorial weekend or the first week of June

I meant like what are the roads generally like not what are they looking like this year. but now worries someone already answered my question. 

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2 hours ago, morphrider said:

Everything that loops off of Killpecker Road is super easy. My sister rides it up there on her crf230 with no issues. It's all fun....

Perfect thats what I like to here. My wife rides a ttr230 so if shes happy while riding, Im happy 

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Did a scouting trip up there today. Took poudre canyon to Glen Echo then headed North. Not the way I would take my toyhauler, little steep going up on the dirt portion. 7 mile trail had a closed sign on both ends but there was a trailer stationed on the North end, so someone is out riding it. A lot of the trails in that area looked great and few were out riding. Stopped for lunch, then explored some more. I pull a 35'-0" Toyhauler so I need to choose areas wisely. Trail 517 was closed and I think that is where I want to shoehorn in and station for our first trip. Then I can take 517 to connect with multiple trails. Continued North past Belaire campground (also closed) and went into Red Feather, taking that road back to 287. Maybe next weekend I can get a ride in. I bought a new to me WR a month ago and have yet to ride a trail, argh!!

Edited by morphrider

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4 hours ago, morphrider said:

Did a scouting trip up there today. Took poudre canyon to Glen Echo then headed North. Not the way I would take my toyhauler, little steep going up on the dirt portion. 7 mile trail had a closed sign on both ends but there was a trailer stationed on the North end, so someone is out riding it. A lot of the trails in that area looked great and few were out riding. Stopped for lunch, then explored some more. I pull a 35'-0" Toyhauler so I need to choose areas wisely. Trail 517 was closed and I think that is where I want to shoehorn in and station for our first trip. Then I can take 517 to connect with multiple trails. Continued North past Belaire campground (also closed) and went into Red Feather, taking that road back to 287. Maybe next weekend I can get a ride in. I bought a new to me WR a month ago and have yet to ride a trail, argh!!

Dude awesome! Glad someone headed up there to check it out. Ive got a small camper that shouldn't be a problem but I understand your situation. 517 is the trailhread I want to start on as well and hit that huge trail system. Just checked FR517 will not open until 6/15. I went and road my bike south of there off Buckhorn rd near the Buckhorn Ranger station off FR129 and FR154. Thought it would be a quick ride but found many trails and areas to adventure off. It was great. Met some snow way up off of FR129A but none anywhere else. some wet spots and mud but nothing bad. Actually gonna head out there tomorrow for a little grilling and chilling possibly. Wife cant ride till she gets her lasic eye surgery done next week. 

Heres the first area I road last weekend. Just north of seven mile rd. Great area. plenty of pull offs for a large toyhauler. FR 171 

3ACCC847-2655-4681-AB5C-F4CECEC196A4_zps

This where I went yesterday. Awesome Ride! Southern most pin. Not too steep only in a couple areas but had no problem on my bike. Plenty of open areas to camp. 

31CF3F34-5425-4CCF-A9F4-9F0B8F15B671_zps

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I didn't drive down 171, but looking at Google maps it does show some bigger areas to camp in. Will look into that next trip up before bringing TH with me. Most of our camp trips we have stayed off of killpecker. We bring sport ATV's for wife and daughter (mine as well, thing is too fun not to). Glad to just get them out in the woods with me.

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Would like to give an update of our experience on Saturday, June 24th with this Red Feather Lakes riding area.  I welcome any feedback or clarification from people who ride up in this area.  Take all of this with a grain of salt as this was our first foray into the area and we don't know any of the simple workarounds that the local trail riders might know.

Went up Deadman Road - marked as road 86 on the MVUM, marked as road 162 on Map C at this link from Stay the Trail http://www.staythetrail.org/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=266593&module_id=234719

Parked in dispersed camping that is allowed off the short spur road (marked 501 on MVUM also available at the STT Red Feather Lakes link above).  Our intent was to ride the singletrack starting from the north end trailhead (marked trail 956 and trail 970 on MVUM and marked as trail 956 and trail 871 on Map B/Map C at link above).  Unloaded and starting riding west up Deadman Road.  Before we reached what looks like a couple of switchbacks on Deadman and prior to turnoff to road 300 (Kilpecker road), there was a locked forest service gate across the road.  You could easily ride around the gate on a motorcycle, but we chose not to violate the intent of closing the road.   So we proceeded back down Deadman Road (OHVs not allowed but we have plated motorcycles).  We ran into some forest service people (not rangers) and asked them about the closed gate on Deadman and when it normally opens.  They said around 4th of July is normal but that this year they are doing logging so it will remain closed this summer.  Note these were not rangers and I am only passing along what they said.  Like everything else it pays to be skeptical and check out what they are saying.  Interestingly, on the MVUM Kilpecker road (300) says that is opens on 6/15 according to the seasonal closure guide.

So, we decided to see if we could access the single track from the southern end.  Continued back down Deadman road, went south on road 162 (on Map C) also shown as road 69 (MVUM) and I believe in person has a sign that says actually is marked road 68C.  A very heavily trafficked road and no OHVs allowed.  Proceeded until we saw OHV trail 517. and a small parking lot.  There was a locked gate at this OHV trail.  Of course you can sneak around on a motorcycle, but we didn't want to violate the rules.  So, pulled out the MVUM again and see that according to the seasonal closure 517 should be open as of 6/15.  Check the date on my watch.  Yep sure enough....6/24....should be open.  Starting to think that the people that manage OUR national forest simply don't want anybody to use OUR national forest (at least not those people with motorized vehicles).

We continue south a bit further on road 162/69/68C and find road 171/171D and are able to take this road to the southern access point for Trail 970 (MVUM) Trail 871 (Map C).  The southern end is actually marked as Trail 970.  We take the single track 970/871 north to intersection of OHV road 517.  Good single track trail, couple of challenging spots for sure.  At the intersection of OHV road 517, we see the sign for trail 871 for the trail that we just completed  (southern end was marked with trail 970).  Continue going north up OHV road 517/OHV road 300.  Encounter some deadfall blocking the road which requires going over or around.  Encounter a rider from New Zealand riding by himself who is familiar with area.  Ask him about trail conditions ahead.  He indicates that we will see the single track pick up to the right (east) and can ride that for another mile or so before we will encounter large snowdrifts and will need to turn around.  We still proceed north and are unable to even find where the single track picks up again (supposed to be marked trail 956).  For all I know it is in plain sight, but we couldn't find it after searching back and forth multiple times.

I think we end up on OHV road 517B that we take to near treeline and it stops.  We come back down and I think took OHV road 517 and we hit deep snowbanks near the top of a hill and start proceeding downward in what we believe is wrong direction and we again see multiple deadfalls across the road at about waist height and multiple deep snow banks ahead.  We turnaround and try to find OHV road 300.  Never found it.  Headed back down singletrack Trail 871 (aka Trail 970) and then back down to road 171/171D. 

From there we went back to Deadman Road and road 501 where we had parked.  By this time, we had burned about 4 hours and barely dipped our toes into the Red Feather Lakes area.  Did not get to ride singletrack 956 and what looks like miles and miles of OHV roads 517, 300, 318, 319, 177, 173, 260, 303, 306 etc.  We also couldnt access these OHV roads since Deadman Road access is closed and as we experienced lots/lots of deadfall on these roads even if you can reach them via singletrack 970/871 (e.g. the back way in). 

We wanted to ride all of the single track and check out all of these OHV roads (to figure out if they are worth riding).   Any advice for a different approach next time?  Would like to start at northern end of singletrack (956) and ride it in southerly direction, but if the forest service people were correct, it doesn't appear they are going to open Deadman Road due to logging operations this summer. I don't see any indications on the MVUM that Deadman is normally closed until approx July 4th as they stated either (or maybe I missed it on the MVUM).  Can anyone provide insight into when Deadman Road is normally supposed to open (without logging closures)?

 

 

Edited by SilvFx

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My National Geographic map says gate opens mid June. I called USFS last week, they didn't know if it was open yet and I should call Larimer County Sherrif who is responsible. Called Larimer County Sherriff. Dispatcher put me on hold for 5 minutes to check..they weren't sure if it was open or closed, but they thought closed as they didn't have a record of it open yet.

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SilvFx -

I understand your frustration.  I was up at Stillwater on Sunday and the access road to the area we wanted to ride was closed as well.  Lesson learned - do some research before heading out.

I found this on the FS website:

The Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) will help you ensure you are on a road authorized for the public. This free map is available both electronically and at our district office. The map distinguishes between roads and motorized trails open to non-licensed and licensed vehicles and lists dates when seasonal roads many open and close - if conditions allow

Here is a link to the road status in the area you were riding:  https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/arp/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5300963

 

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Kevelar's link is the most up to date. Called the Canyon Lakes Ranger district  a few weeks back they said the dates on the MVUM are the earliest it will open but its up to Ranger discretion.

So snow or what not can delay openings. Sevenmile is still closed so it must be raging water back there. Rode Kelly Flats today dry and dusty, only very small 2 small mud areas.

 

 

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SilvFx

 

Me and the wife went up that way on Sunday the 25th. We road all of FR171 which eats up about an 1.5 hours just exploring. Hopped on 69 and headed north to 517 and came across the same closed gate. I have pretty much covered all of canyon lakes ranger district other than the far north west corner near rawah wilderness area. We have tried to cover all OHV trails open all year. I have found that every seasonal ohv trail that is supposed to be open as of 6/15 is still closed. The only exception has been Kelly flats trail. 7 mile is still closed at one end but is easily accessible from fr171. And I don't know about y'all but every time I call the ranger district no one answers the phone!!!

 

So basically plan for an area, expect it to be closed and always have a back up. I'm done riding canyon lakes ranger district. Boulder ranger district has far more trails that are open all year! Time to go explore somewhere else!

 

I ride once or twice a week so I need to be putting out some more trail reports.

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