Jump to content
Antigravity Batteries Giveaways: Winners Announced! Read more... ×
Sign in to follow this  

Colorado Packing for a trip to Colorado, where to camp/ride?

Recommended Posts

Driving out from Chicago with my camping gear and bike tomorrow night. I'm breaking out the tent, camp shower, and fishing poles. Getting ready to do some adventuring through Colorado before school starts again this coming week.

Anyone up for some ridding or want to give me some advice on where I can find some enduro/technical trails? Where should I stay away from this time of year? I have 5-6 days to see all there is to see. Any advice would be appreciated. :thumbsup:

rneN3l.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

XUGG....my understanding is the high mountains are clogged with snow (i.e. everything at Continental Divide and west) and you aren't going to be able to ride. The foothills and mountains just to the west of Denver got anywhere from 12-18" of snow this past Wed/Thu. Hopefully that will start to melt quickly and be rideable

The only place I have ridden so far this year is Rampart Range area southwest of Denver. There is camping there and lots of riding trails. Rampart Range is part of the Pike National Forest. It can get pretty busy, but at least I know its open to riding

Another place that might be good is the Rainbow Trail system on the east side of the Sangre De Cristo Range (west of Canon City and South of Salida). They had a pretty dry winter this year and I saw pictures from a regular rider of that area that didnt look too snow clogged. Not sure if the campgrounds are open yet, but I have camped at the Coaldale and Hayden campgrounds south of Salida a couple times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm afraid that last storm SilvFx mentioned is going to really limit your options. The best stuff is still snowed in. Other ideas are Buena Vista or something along the Arkansas River (you can use your fishing poles there, too). Check the Texas Creek riding area which is right along the river. The Royal Gorge Bridge is nearby too if you want to check it out.

Have fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1: Avoid Rampart. It F'n sucks at best.

2: Avoid Texas Creek, it also F'n sucks.

3: Make your way to Salida, or points S/SW in Colorado.

Many will say both 1&2 don't suck, trust me, they do. Big time. If you ride either of them you'll think Colorado's riding is "meh" at best.

717 sucks too, but it's better than Rampart if you know where to ride there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

check out this thread.

http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=978490

Rick Ramsey (goes by ramz) has quite a bit of information on the Rainbow trail and links to threads in advrider about 2011 conditions.

Rainbow trail is south of Salida. West of Salida/Buena Vista is awesome trail riding, but totally snowed in at this point. You want to stay east of continental divide and generally south for the least amount of snow (hence my suggestion for Rainbow Trail).

RMSpeed6...I hear you about Rampart. It can get crowded and I certainly take it for granted, but for someone from Chicago/Michigan, they might be pretty damn impressed and its a lot more scenic than the midwest. If you have ever been to the Black Hills area in South Dakota....Rampart is very very similar scenery wise (except for the Mt. Rushmore thing).

And believe it or not....I started riding Rampart in 1976....and it is less crowded now than it used to be in the '70's (at least to my recollection).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Or just drive 5 hours further to Grand Junction, Montrose, Moab areas. Lots of riding there right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

RMSpeed6...I hear you about Rampart. It can get crowded and I certainly take it for granted, but for someone from Chicago/Michigan, they might be pretty damn impressed and its a lot more scenic than the midwest. If you have ever been to the Black Hills area in South Dakota....Rampart is very very similar scenery wise (except for the Mt. Rushmore thing).

Ok, when I stop being self centered and look at it your way, your 100% correct. :thumbsup:

Though if he's ridden any of the UP or Northern MI he's seen some great trails to compare to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't mind driving a little further for more ridding access. Already driving 1,000 miles, another couple hundred wouldn't hurt.

Maybe I should bring my snowboard instead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

make sure you stop in Gunnison & hit up the Gunny / CB GOATs for insider info while you're there. most blower riding for sure but the crested butte / taylor park region are still snowed in. hartman rox area in gunnison is a blast.

gunnycbgoats@gmail.com

doug

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you're serious about wanting to ride - keep going to Moab/Green River. Front range stuff (e.g. Rampart, Woodland Park, Texas Creek, et. al.) is all that's open in Colorado right now - it's not bad, but it's hardly a unique riding experience. Alternatively, you can drive 6+ hours to northern New Mexico and find some good riding near Farmington (Aztec, Pinion Mesa, Barker Dome etc.), or you can drive right on through Colorado to the Colorado/Utah border area (Grand Junction, Rabbit Valley, Moab, Green River and/or the San Rafael Swell) and get in some really great riding. I live here and I'm going to Utah again (6th trip this year) next weekend, because it's all that's practical right now. FWIW - the better Colorado Mountain stuff is rarely open before June and the best/highest stuff isn't usually ridable until nearly July.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If you're serious about wanting to ride - keep going to Moab/Green River. Front range stuff (e.g. Rampart, Woodland Park, Texas Creek, et. al.) is all that's open in Colorado right now - it's not bad, but it's hardly a unique riding experience. Alternatively, you can drive 6+ hours to northern New Mexico and find some good riding near Farmington (Aztec, Pinion Mesa, Barker Dome etc.), or you can drive right on through Colorado to the Colorado/Utah border area (Grand Junction, Rabbit Valley, Moab, Green River and/or the San Rafael Swell) and get in some really great riding. I live here and I'm going to Utah again (6th trip this year) next weekend, because it's all that's practical right now. FWIW - the better Colorado Mountain stuff is rarely open before June and the best/highest stuff isn't usually ridable until nearly July.

Thanks for all the info everyone! :thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I posted this for a rider wanting to come a bit later in the year than you, but some of it may be useful to you.

The Rainbow Trail is NOT open the entire distance now - the far west end has snow and the south end has down trees, but what is open to ride is very good.

Tomichi Creek Trading Post is not open for the season yet.

The high country still has snow!

============================

The drive up Highway 50 along the Arkansas River is scenic and cool in the morning and evenings. There are fee-camping spots along the way, but don't bother. Push ahead to Salida, then drive out to Shirley Site and camp for free in primitive campsites all along Silver Cr Rd and also along Poncha Cr Rd. Fishing in either creek is allowed - you need a fishing license. Ride the dirt roads and trails in the area, including riding up to Marshall Pass on the Continental Divide and down to Sargents for a burger at lunch. Also visit the Bonanza mining area south of camp.

You can access the Rainbow Tr west terminus by riding about 5 miles along Silver Cr Rd. One option is to ride the trail east, as far as you want, then return back the way you came. Another option is to ride the trail east to Hayden CG, then over Hayden Pass to Villa Grove in the San Luis Valley (food), then west to Bonanza, then north to Silver Cr Rd and return to camp. In this latter loop (about 100 miles long), the only single-track is the RBT, the rest is dirt roads.

If you ride up Poncha Cr Rd to Marshall Pass, you can ride the Crest Tr going north or the Summit Tr going south. These are both sections of the Continental Divide Tr, which is open to motorcycles in this area. The Crest Tr goes north about 10 miles to Monarch Pass and then motorcycle access ends. The Summit Tr goes south, then west. You can take any one of several side trails that branch off to the north to Sargents for food and gas. You can also continue west and south on the Cont Div Tr about 30 miles to Highway 114 and then to Saguache Park and the mountains down by Del Norte and South Fork. An overnight in South Fork and return are described here:

South Fork Loop: http://rickramsey.net/SoFkLoop.htm

--------------------

Directions to Shirley Site area

* From Salida, drive west on Highway 50 to Poncha Springs (about 5 miles).

* Turn left (south) onto Highway 285 and drive to Mears Junction (about 5 miles).

* Turn right (west) onto FR 200 and drive to the parking lot (about 2 miles). The lot is on Silver Cr Rd, just past the Marshall Pass Rd intersection, around the curve to the left.

If you continue on Silver Cr Rd, look for camping on the left side.

If you turn west onto Poncha Cr Rd, look for camping on the right, and after crossing the bridge, go left, and camping will be on the left side of the road.

Camping is primitive - pack it in, pack it out, no potable water, no toilets (except at the Shirley Site parking lot).

There is also camping at nearby O'Haver Lake; see the signs to get there.

NOTE: Many high elevation trails in this area are still snow blocked, and will remain so until mid-June or so. The RBT is snow free and cleared of downfall.

==================================================

Tomichi Creek Trading Post in Sargents

You can stay in a cabin at the Tomichi Creek Trading Post in Sargents. They have a restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner so you don't even need to cook. The Continental Divide Trail is south of Sargents and is open to motorcycles in this area. Many side trails are also open to motorcycle use. You can ride north to Pitkin, Tincup, and Taylor Park on dirt roads and/or trails.

Links:

http://rickramsey.net/TomichiCrTradingPost.htm

http://rickramsey.net/SGT.htm

Maps and further info:

Places to ride: http://rickramsey.net/Places.htm

Places to ride - maps: http://rickramsey.net/Places.htm#maps

Check out the Bonanza map.

When passing through Salida, stop at the USFS office on Highway 50 and get other maps of the local area (some free, others cost).

==================================================

Here is a terrific thread from ThumperTalk that has lots of info about trails in the Sargents area:

http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/thread/544122/

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1: Avoid Rampart. It F'n sucks at best.

2: Avoid Texas Creek, it also F'n sucks.

3: Make your way to Salida, or points S/SW in Colorado.

Many will say both 1&2 don't suck, trust me, they do. Big time. If you ride either of them you'll think Colorado's riding is "meh" at best.

717 sucks too, but it's better than Rampart if you know where to ride there.

And if it wasn't for Rampart/717 there would be pretty slim pickin's for riding right now.

Sure they are not the "prime rib" of CO, but all that is under snow.

If it wasn't for the "sucky" places, all the mouth breathers on the quads would be tearing into the Non-sucky places.

We take CO for granted, people drive from all over just to ride Rampart/717 because they have nothing even close. Our "lame" areas are better than most have, period.

RMSpeed...I better not see you on the new singletrack we're building (I spent another 8 hours and 3.6 miles of hiking pin-flagging trail on Saturday)

Wouldn't want that suck to rub off on you!:smirk:

Rod

RRMMC President.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And if it wasn't for Rampart/717 there would be pretty slim pickin's for riding right now.

Sure they are not the "prime rib" of CO, but all that is under snow.

If it wasn't for the "sucky" places, all the mouth breathers on the quads would be tearing into the Non-sucky places.

We take CO for granted, people drive from all over just to ride Rampart/717 because they have nothing even close. Our "lame" areas are better than most have, period.

RMSpeed...I better not see you on the new singletrack we're building (I spent another 8 hours and 3.6 miles of hiking pin-flagging trail on Saturday)

Wouldn't want that suck to rub off on you!:smirk:

Rod

RRMMC President.

+++1 Thanks for all your efforts Rod :smirk:

Cut the workday short today and went and burned 59 miles in 4 hrs. Rolled back to the truck just at dark and headed over to O'Malley's for a Buffalo burger! The rest of the riding world should have it so good!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And if it wasn't for Rampart/717 there would be pretty slim pickin's for riding right now.

Sure they are not the "prime rib" of CO, but all that is under snow.

If it wasn't for the "sucky" places, all the mouth breathers on the quads would be tearing into the Non-sucky places.

We take CO for granted, people drive from all over just to ride Rampart/717 because they have nothing even close. Our "lame" areas are better than most have, period.

RMSpeed...I better not see you on the new singletrack we're building (I spent another 8 hours and 3.6 miles of hiking pin-flagging trail on Saturday)

Wouldn't want that suck to rub off on you!:smirk:

Rod

RRMMC President.

+1 on that:thumbsup:

I rode Rampart for the first time in 1978 on a borrowed bike and at that time I thought I died and went to dirt bike heaven! I haven't been back since, as I discovered the "Prime Rib" and surrounding areas but just wanted to say that compared to what us flatlanders have here in Okla, even Rampart is the berries!:smirk:

Which brings me to a question: I won't be up to T.P. area until early sept this year. What is the weather like as compared to july/august? Is it wetter, colder or any snowfall yet? Actually we will Probably be in Pitkin or T.P. Leaving fri before laborday.

Thanks,

Robert

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

VetRacer1. In my opinion, Sept is the absolute best time of year in the high mountains. Usually, clear and dry, sunny days and cool nights. And, beyond Labor day the crowds are gone (shhhh....that's a secret for us locals).

We rode in Taylor Park last year about the 3rd week of Sept and it was beautiful. But, it can be very close to freezing if not below at night in those mountain valleys. Even with down sleeping bags there were some complaints about cold from my kids when we were tent camping. And there was 2-3 inches of snow above treeline overnight that melted quickly during the day.

I like to target the 3rd week of Sept since the aspens are usually changing and close to peak about that time. Surprisingly, we were a little late last year to see the peak by 3rd week of Sept. But I saw more orange/red aspens that I think I have ever seen in my 49 years in Colorado.

You still need to watch the weather, you can get snow anywhere in the high mountains after labor day (heck you can get it in August depending on the conditions and elevation).

Rampart in late Sept and early October can be clear and cool with leaves changing on aspens/cottonwoods/scrub oak at that time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

+1 for September at Taylor. Nice cool riding weather. Light riding jacket, most often with sleeves off. Covers you for temps in the woods or up top. Not nearly as much sweating when in the woods and then freezing up top like you do in August.

The only downside is that it gets to be in bow and muzzle loader hunting season. Most of the guys we see flag us down and ask if we have seen any game. All have been friendly so far.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I ended camping up north in da U.P.(Marqeutte, MI), where the snow was all gone. :smirk:

Rode over 150 miles of single track left over from AMA races. Bike held up well. New Gnarly pipe performed beautify.

Weather was great, clear skis warmed up the solar shower real well, and slept under the stars in the hammock.

Video from some of the trail last year

229058_730359367217_40600728_37405621_2144531_n.jpg

250873_733056946247_40600728_37419496_7870687_n.jpg

222727_729991863697_40600728_37400153_6445831_n.jpg

Thanks for all your input, ill be sure to make it out to CO. later in the summer.

Edited by XUGG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Reply with:

Sign in to follow this  

×