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Top 10 Most Popular Colorado Off-Roading Trails

There are thousands upon thousands of great off-roading trails in the US. Whether you are a rock crawler, love speed in the open desert or like cruising on an ATV or Polaris this land has a little bit of everything. We here at Big Bear have the luxury to live right the foot of the Rocky Mountains and of some of the best views in the World. We have ranked some of the best trails in Colorado.

1. Red Feather Lakes

Red Feather Lakes Off RoadingRed Feather Lakes is located west of Fort Collins, Colorado. The area is located in the Roosevelt Forest and has some pretty amazing valleys with the Red Feather Lakes surrounding the area. Perfect for moderate trail riders to take in the wildflowers or traverse some dirt trails. There are roughly 100 different small OHV trails in the area. The most popular is Deadman’s Road. This is the main OHV trail into the Red Feather Lakes area. It is 22.9 miles is wide, dusty, and rocky in places. Deadman’s Road is fairly easy to traverse but late summer is the best time to visit after the Summer Heat has hardened the trail. Seven Mile Creek Road is a 7.1-mile trail that follows an open valley, crosses a creek, and then ends with a moderate climb to a forested area. The main trail can be combined with offshoots of the Kelly Flats and Bald Mountain. In recent years the Red Feather Lakes trails have been washed out and damaged by flooding. The trails can be muddy and rocky at times but nothing to keep you away.
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2. Engineer Pass / Cinnamon Pass

Alpine Loop Trail Off RoadingTruly a hidden gem in Colorado is the town of Ordway and Silverton. Absolutely breathtaking views and the true essence of mountain living. Engineer Pass along with Cinnamon Pass, like other places in the San Juan Mountains, is dotted with old mines, cabins, and historical remnants from 100+ years ago. Driving along with the famous Alpine Look you get and you truly get a sense of being at elevation (12,000+ ft) with crisp mountain air and sporadic snow patches that dot the landscape. Engineer Pass is 20.5 miles for use of OHV, hiking, and other activities. The trail crosses Henderson Creek which is a great little fishing hole or spot to stop and take a rest. The trail has a few difficult switchbacks but isn’t terribly difficult with a return through Cinnamon Pass. The Alpine Loop starts in Silverton and winds 63 miles through the San Juan Mountains. The entire trail takes roughly 6 hours to complete and is only accessible for 4 x 4 vehicles with adequate ground clearance.
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3. Grand Mesa Trails

Grand Mesa Trail Off-RoadingThe grand mesa trails are just outside of Grand Junction, Colorado on the Western Slope roughly 5 hours from Denver. This area is filled with both high desert red cliffs found in Utah along with lakes, rivers and dense forests. There trail steep inclines and long paths through gorgeous meadows. One of the coolest rides is through the Rabbit Valley Trail System which encompasses Mygatt-Moore Quarry which is 140 million-year-old sandstone. This is a hot spot for dinosaur fossils. Keep a lookout on this easy to moderate 1.5-mile loop near the town of Fruita. The Thunder Mountain Trail System in the Norwood Ranger District and offers favorite local tails Kimball Creek, Silver Spruce, and Buzzard Park. Take note that entrances and trailheads are somewhat far from the main parking lots. It's is advised to download a map of the area before heading out.
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4. San Juan Mountains Trails

San Juan Mountain Trails Off-RoadingThe San Juan Mountains are some of the most rugged mountains in Colorado. This is a classic old mining country with many passes and steep cliff faces. Black Bear Road at Red Mountain pass is the most insane trail and definitely not for weekend warriors. The sights are spectacular. This is where you get a glimpse of what it must have been like 150 years ago for those grizzly miners. Some of the best OHV Trails include Boggy Draw, Bear Creek, Sand Creek, and Little Bull Creek. Most OHV trails in the San Juan Mountains have a clearance of 50 inches or less.
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5. Bangs Canyon

Bangs Canyon Off-Roading TrailsThis canyon southwest of Grand Junction, CO and offers a little bit of everything from easy to extreme off-roading trails. The trail system winds through Colorado National Monument and offers amazing views of the backcountry. Some of the steepest parts will offer a view stretching 50 miles or more. The main 4 x 4 off-road trail is known as Billings Trail. The trail is no joke and will challenge the most experienced driver. The trail is extremely rocky with many large boulders to traverse. This is a slow-going tail but very rewarding to those who love the adrenaline rush of almost being upside down. Bangs Canyon / Glade Park is also a great spot to do some hiking, camping or ATV, or single-track dirt bike or mountain biking.
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6. Hardscrabble Park

Trees and SeasonsIf Santa Claus could gift one area to every 4 x 4 enthusiasts it would be Hardscrabble. Christmas comes every Summer in the mountains near the town of Gypsum, Colorado. The area is operated by the BLM and is a massive playground that offers an open OHV area where you can go essentially wherever you want. This is only 1 of 2 areas within a few hours of the Front Range of Denver; the other being Wolford Mountain. There are quite a few single-track trails as well as wider ATV/UTV trails. The scenery is the typical high desert landscape found in the mountains of Colorado. There is a mixture of large open landscapes in valleys surrounded by canyons and cliff faces. This is not a densely forested area but is dotted with juniper bushes and pinon pines trees. This is a “choose your own adventure” type of place to just gun it or do some climbing. You won’t be disappointed.
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7. Kelly Flats

Kelly Flats Colorado Off-RoadingYou know you are in for a wild time when the main incline is called “Heart Attack Hill”. Kelley Flats is located near the town of Fort Collins 25 miles west of Poudre Canyon. The area. This is not a trail system for those just beginning off-roading. These are extremely steep climbs. Heat Attack Hill is the first massive incline right at the beginning of the trail. This challenging part has known to cause roll-overs. There is an alternate route around Heat Attack Hill but it is only slightly easier with many steep and narrow sections. After the beginning steep parts, the trail is moderate to easy rated with a nice scenic ending through the flats. Be advised that Kelly Flats isn't for beginners or those with vehicles without proper ground clearance. Going out in a group of multiple vehicles is recommended as well as having a spotter around some of the more difficult areas.
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8. St. Mary’s Glacier

Ever traversed a glacier before?! This is the place to do it! St. Mary’s Glacier is St. Mary's Glacier Off Roading Trailswonderful trail for beginners but won’t disappoint more hardcore enthusiasts due to the picturesque views. This OHV trail system is located North of Idaho Springs near the historic gambling town of Central City. The most popular route is Yankee Hill to Central City and is about 10 miles. You can go straight to Central City from Yankee Hill or explore 16 different OHV trails intersecting with Yankee Hill. St. Mary’s Glacier is a site to see and still where the City of Boulder gets its water from.
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9. Lizard Head Pass

Lizard Pass Off Road TrailsWhen you think of Colorado you think of snowcapped peaks, mountain goats, and blizzards. You would be correct with all three up on Lizard Head Pass. Lizard Head Pass is named after Lizard Head Mountain 13,113 ft., named because it looks like the head of a lizard. The views are unreal, rivaling the Swiss Alps. The pass is located in San Juan Mountains in the Uncompahgre National Forest. There are plenty of OHV tails ranging from easy to extreme. The terrain is rocky, with dense high forest but well maintained. This is a popular spot for hikers and campers and those looking to experience ATV and UTV off-roading. Be well prepared as the weather can change in an instance up at this elevation.
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10. Wagon Wheel Trail System

Wagon Wheel Gap Off-Roading TrailsWagon Wheel is another massive playground for OHV and ATV adventurers. The Wagon Wheel trail complex has roughly 250 miles of roads and trails. The system of trails is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains and is a combined jurisdiction between Rio Blanco County, Towns of Meeker and Rangely, the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and private local and state donors. There are 13 main trails with offshoots deep into the forest. This terrain is a mixture of rocky cliffs, flatlands, meadows, streams, and dense forest land. Most trails are easy to moderately rated. This is a perfect place to just sit back and take it all in. However, if you are looking for a challenge this place also has it with the Fawn Creek to Dead Horse Loop which offers steep cliffs, rocky roads, and narrow trails. Trails are easily marked and well maintained. The locals who frequent this place care for it greatly. Excellent spot for a day trip or for a couple of days of off-roading.
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Other Colorado Off-Roading Resources:

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