I'm researching the same thing. Only area I've been to before is around Steamboat. There is a real nice gravel / dirt road used for rally car going up to Steamboat lake but I couldn't tell you the route number anymore.
Right now my plan is to trailer to Rifle, CO for day one to do some easy stuff then head to Oray and see some of the real high mountain passes. Still finishing out details but I'm hoping to have 4-5 other Ohio riders going, some trailering and some saying they wanna ride all the way.
I've done "ride all the way", boring ass ride that I won't really miss inside the air conditioned truck.
If you go to Colorado, I would suggest it be in July or August and bring your rain gear. I went last year in July and rode all the mountains around Quray and Silverton and the highway 550. It is some serious off road riding, not for ammatures. You can easily die up there. Also, it still get pretty darn cold at night and expect sleet/ freezing rain up at the tops.
I was at the KOA in Cripple Creek years ago and the night I got there it was 28 degrees. The next day they set heat records of 107 as we were riding through Durango..
Be prepared for both extremes! Luckily it's always been fairly dry when I've been out there (usually late july/early August) so there's been little humidity, making both heat and cold fairly comfortable..
Simple question, as I'm coming all the way from Ohio. Would it be worth while to trailer a 22ft toy hauler all the way out there or would I be better off with a tent and camp stove? Either way I'll be driving out in a pickup possible with bikes just in the bed of the truck.
I did a Jeep Jamboree in Ouray back in Sept. of 2001 and fell in love with the area. Going up to 14,000' peaks on prospector's mule trails was a blast. Abandoned mines and mining towns are great fun to visit. September was the perfect time to go there in my book as all the little kids (and their parents) are back in school which kept trail traffic down and the aspens are turning golden making for some great photography. I camped at the KOA in Ouray and the weather was perfect... but we know that can change in a second in the mountains though. You might want to pick up a copy of "Colorado Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails" by Charles A. Wells. I used the book to explore more after the Jamboree and it was quite accurate for rating the difficulty of the trails. Gave a good description of what to expect, things to see and alternate routes for the return trip. Next summer when I ride the Divide, I plan to spend a couple days in Ouray revisiting some of the trails. Paper was right on the money about Hwy 550! If you end up going in June (16-19), check out the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Have a great time!
The third edition of the book I mentioned has GPS coordinates. I didn't use a GPS on my last visit to Ouray intentionally. Takes the "Adventure" out of it!
From Amazon's website:
The 100 trails in this book may be the best batch ever put together in one place. Whether you are a newcomer to 4-wheeling or an experienced veteran, we guarantee you ll have fun. The trails are grouped into seven key areas in the heart of Colorado s most beautiful high country.
A full-color format makes planning your next adventure simpler than ever. Easy, moderate and difficult routes are color coded, while symbols quickly show kinds of vehicles allowed on each trail. This includes unlicensed UTVs, ATVs and dirt bikes.
A separate mileage log ties numbered locations along the route to a custom map and Aerial Terrain view. GPS coordinates are provided for each numbered location and may also be downloaded free from the FunTreks Web site. Included are reverse mileages for all trails and historical highlights.
Every book includes concealed spiral binding that lays flat for easy use. Heavy-duty plastic laminate cover withstands rough use.
If you can bear the tent camping, I would do that. For several reasons: Pulling that weight will cost you massive in fuel costs and once you get to the mountains, it is very steep and difficult hauling things. Also, you will have to pay for the sight you camp at. If you tent, there are free camping sites at several location, extremely primitive though (no water, power, or bathrooms). I stayed just outside of Silverton, Co. for a week free.
I'm riding from Missouri to Colorado and as far as getting there goes, I'm taking Highway 36 which runs all the way across Missouri and Kansas to Colorado. It's a 65-mph road. I considered the Trans America Trail, but just don't have enough vacation time: maybe another year.
The Rampart Range area between Colorado Springs and Denver has a ton of intersecting/intertwining roads and trails and the ride to the top of Pike's Peak is pretty cool at 14,000+ feet. Part of the Trans America Trail also runs along the front range from Southern Colorado up to Denver and that's a possibility although it seems like you'd just be riding flatland while looking at the mountains, not riding through them.
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