Friday, May 11, 2007

Rampart Range To Open Saturday 5/12!

Rampart Range has been either snow blocked or recently closed due to trail damage over the last couple of months. Finally, the forest service has given the go ahead to lift the closure and reopen the trails as of Saturday May 12th!

Full Details:

Videos of Rampart Range Trails: Here

Edit: We visited Rampart Range on Sunday 5/13 and found the trails to be easily rideable for a good 10 miles North of the main parking lot at the top of Rampart Range Road. Both the intermediate and beginner trails were rideable. There was some snow, albeit minimal (at the 10 mile mark), it didn't really effect the trails. The snow melt had caused some trails to become "mud boggy" and one trails had actually turned into a creek - both of these types of trails should be avoided to not wear down the trails any more. Plus, it isn't fun getting stuck in 2 feet of mud!

The trails were busy, so keep an eye out for oncoming riders. Stay off the road, stay on the trails, wear your safety gear and have fun!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Empire Trail System

Empire is located 37 miles West of Denver, about 25 miles South East of Winter Park. The town of Empire is small, but the trail system is surprisingly large.

Here's a map: Click to View

1. Take I-70 West and exit at 232 (Empire / Granby)
2. Bear right and merge onto CR-255
3. Follow that road until you get to Empire (easy to spot!)
4. Turn right on North Main Street - this leads up to the beginning of the trail system. It's easy to miss North Main Street and really doesn't look like it should lead to a trail system, but it does. The road is paved for a few hundred yards, then turns to a dirt road. Here's a marker showing North Main Street.

If you see this as you go along North Main Street, you're on the right road!

(A huge snow cat, used for Winter tours by the looks of's quite hard to miss)

Drive to the top of North Main Street, up a windy dirt road. Watch for falling/fallen rocks. There were plenty on the road when last visited, big enough to cause damage if not avoided. You will arrive at a large flat area as shown below.

The road to the right of the truck is where you will come up from (you'll be driving toward where the photograph was taken from). You may have to be creative with your parking as it can get full. There's enough room for several vehicles though.

This photo was taken from the parking lot shown above, but turned 90 degrees counter clockwise. You can see the trail leading straight and then a right hand turn up the first hill. The terrain is quite rocky, with a few hardened muddy spots. Here's a photo of what most of the trail looked like as far as it was possible to travel on the day the photo was taken (there was still snow).

The rocks are big enough to make the trail difficult for beginner dirt bike riders, since dodging the larger rocks is a must! There are some deep holes in the trail too, which can make things tricky. ATVs and 4x4's probably won't have much of an issue with the rocks, although still be cautious.

This is how the first hill looks like, the rocks are only very mild at this point.

Further on up the trail - it was still early in the season when these photographs were taken, so there was still snow (too much snow!)

You'll find some beautiful views of the mountains on the trail. This photo as taken from the same location as the one above.

The trail has a lot of switchbacks on it, try and bring a map if you have one as it's easy to take the wrong route. Going straight ahead (through the gate - shown in the photo above) would bring you to a old mine, which is not only off trail but dangerous!

Here's an old mine structure, the photo taken from the trail. The trail then leads right on a switchback...

To the left is the gate and mind entrance shown in the last photo, to the right (up the hill) is the continuation of the trail. To the right (downwards) eventually leads back to the parking lot.

This photo is taken from the switchback. The trail goes up a short, steep hill and doubles back on its self. It wasn't possible to travel much further on the trail after the switchback at the mine gate, the snow was too deep for dirtbikes and ATVs. 4x4 vehicles may be able to travel up the trail, but there was a steep drop off on one side of the trail that didn't look like it would be too vehicle friendly if you were to slip. This trail looks to be a great spot to ride in the coming few months - but definitely after the snow has melted. If you want to ride early, give it a shot, but be prepared to get bored in about an hour (the time to get to the top and bottom of rideable areas).

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Apex Valley Road

Apex Valley Road is North West of the Central City trails that was covered previously. Not much to report on this trail as it was still covered with heavy snowfall. Once the snow melts, it looks promising though. Take the right most road (Upper Apex Road) at the three fork intersection (Bald Mountain Road, Columbine Campground Road, Upper Apex Road). The drive straight until you reach Elk Park Road.

Here's a map: Top of Apex Valley Road

Elk Park Rd and Apex Valley Rd intersections.

Elk Park Rd to the right, Apex Valley Road ahead, which will eventually take you back to the Central City trail system (keep bearing right though).

One trail (as far as it's possible to tell) leads down Elk Park Road. It wasn't possible to go more than a few hundred yards before the snow was too deep.

Elk Park Rd winding up into the forest. Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly?) there's some people that live up in the area.

A closer shot of Elk Park Rd. Make sure your vehicle is atleast AWD if you explore this area when it's still snowy.

If you continue up Apex Valley Road (instead of turning right onto Elk Park Rd), you'll find a steep right hand switchback. Another few hundred yards after you'll find this.

It was early in the season when this photograph was taken, but you can see the amount of snow still on the ground. The snow was melting quickly, but since the area has had some snowfall after the date these photographs were taken it won't have helped the trails being drivable!

One thing to take into account is the amount of spent paint balls and ammunition laying on the ground. People do take their guns up into the area and (hopefully) just target practise, but keep an eye out if you do go into the woods...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Trail Creek Road

Trail Creek Road is just West of Idaho Springs on the South side of I-70. It's a little further West than the Blackhawk / Central City trail system, but only by a few miles. Here's a map of where Trail Creek Road is:

Map: Trail Creek Road

Since it was early in the season, there was still plenty of snow about. You can see on the map how far up the trail it was possible to travel (as of April 10th) before there was far too deep snow to make moving possible. It looked like someone had plowed the trail up to the point

Some photos:

This is near the bottom of the trail, facing North where Trail Creek Road begins. The road was muddy and a little slick.

This is facing Southward, it was snowing at the time this photo was taken which didn't really help the trail conditions!

At this point the trail was impossible to travel on using only wheeled vehicles, the snow was probably a foot deep. It wasn't obvious that the trail had been plowed until you actually reached the spot where the plow turned around. One to two inches of snow where the plow had been, a foot or so where it had stopped.

The snow was difficult to ride on, but despite that - it was enjoyable to ride up the trail. In Summer the trail will obviously be snow free, making riding and exploring Trail Creek Road easier.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Central City / Black Hawk Trails

The Central City / Black Hawk trail system is one of the closest (and most popular) trail systems near Metro Denver. First of all, how to get there...

1. Take I-70 West
2. Exit 314, Central City Parkway
3. Take Central City Parkway all the way into Central City. When you get to the hill (with a strategically placed speed bump near the bottom) keep going straight until you get to a T junction with a stop sign.
4. Lawrence St. is on your right, Eureka St. is on your left. Turn left on this road (it's a one way).
5. Drive up Eureka St. You will pass some new apartment buildings on your left. Keep going until you see Boodle Mine, also on your left.
6. At this point you should see a three fork split in the road. Left (Bald Mountain Road) takes you to Nevadaville, directly ahead (Columbine Campground Road) is the OHV legal trail you'll be riding on and right is Upper Apex Road which eventually leads to more trails which will be covered on another post.
7. Park on the large flat area sitting in between the beginnings of Bald Mountain Road and Columbine Campground Road, it's easy to spot. Here's a photo of the parking area.

Here's a map: Link

Keep in mind the directions shown on the map differ than the ones above, Academy Street isn't as well maintained as
Nevada Street (steep dirt road), but either way will work.

The parking area, taken from Upper Apex Road. You can see Columbine Campground Road and Bald Mountain Roads. ATV's/Dirt Bikes (OHV Vehicles) are not allowed on Upper Apex Road or Bald Mountain Road. Both are patrolled by police, in Hummers!

This is Columbine Campground Road, at the beginning of the trails. It is an easy ride for about 0.75 - 1 mile, since RV's/Campers have to make it to the camp ground in the Summer.

Just incase you were wondering, the trails are on Arapaho National Forest lands. There aren't lots of signs on the trail - some, but not many - when you do find a sign, they are straight forward to read.

Columbine Campground Road continues for a fair distance as an easy ride. It was muddy in places due to snow melt. Be careful for oncomming OHV (off highway vehicle) traffic, everything from small children on dirt bikes to full blown jeeps use the trail.

The road OHV's are allowed on continues bearing to the right of this photograph, the snowy trail isn't open to OHV use, but judging by the many tracks visable, some people have driven on it. Please stay on trail!

A dirt biker in the distance, which is roughly where the Columbine Campground actually is (closed in the Winter)

Columbine Campground. A good place to turn around if you are in a stock SUV! The road from here on up is where the real trail starts.

The rocks increase as you go around the corner (on the left). Since the trail was too snowy for most wheeled vehicles, there was no point in continuing further up the trail.

If anyone has photos of the Central City trail system or comments to make, please feel free to comment below.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Colorado Trails - ATV, Dirt Bike and 4x4 Vehicles

Welcome to Colorado Trails. This site will be a resource listing as many ATV, dirt bike and 4x4 trails (with useful information - like photos!) as possible. Obviously photos have to actually be taken, so updates will occur when the various trails around the state are visited.

If you have any questions, information, or reviews (preferably with photos). Please feel free to leave a comment or request an editor position.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the site. Happy riding!