Barbour Fork

4.8/5 (33 reviews)
Idaho Springs, Colorado (Clear Creek County)
Last Updated: 12/15/2022

Trail Information


If someone told you they had a day to explore the mountains in their 4WD vehicle within a stone's throw from Denver and wanted a bit of challenge and fantastic scenery, Barbour Fork definitely should be on the shortlist. This trail has just about everything you'd want in a trail. As you traverse this rolling hillside, expect heart-racing obstacles, off-camber sections, deep ruts, and big rocks. If camping is your thing, Barbour Fork provides top-notch sites with established fire pits. Since it wasn't easy to get past these obstacles, you might have the entire place to yourself. Factor in the vast swaths of Aspen trees; this trail might be your go-to high-country fall leaf-peeping zone. Either bring the tent and stay the night or leave in the morning or even afternoon and still be home in time for dinner. Barbour Fork is one of those trails close to Denver that has it all!

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

NOTE: This trail is no longer a loop. Gates have been installed at Waypoint 14 and 15. Barbour Fork is mainly comprised of dirt with a few sections of rough/loose rocks and boulders. This trail steadily ascends, gaining about a 2000-foot increase in elevation. There are a few true obstacles on this trail that will undoubtedly challenge stock rigs, with larger rocks protruding out of the ground and deep ruts that will require either suspension flex or perhaps a locker. Barbour Fork is a great trail for someone looking for relaxing campsites or a nice day trip, given its proximity to Denver. Driver experience will be essential if your rig is in stock.

Trail Reviews

4.8/5 (33)
Official Crew
Seasonal Closure
Visited: 12/15/2022

Gates have been closed for the season.
Visited: 10/01/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Ran with Front Range 4x4 as we were doing our "fall" trail maintenance/cleanup in conjunction with the Forest Service. Stock Gladiator - I turned around at ~waypoint 11. The trail is tight and dug out pretty deep in that area.
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/11/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Like other recent reviews have noted, trail has been graded essentially to WP6. Still an enjoyable trial. We turned around at WP 12 Due to time constraints. It is a bummer that all the early obstacles are gone!
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/04/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Ran out to waypoint 8 and back as a quick afternoon activity (4th gen 4Runner, ~3" lift, ~32" tires). The first two gatekeeper obstacles (wypts 2 and 3) no longer exist, apparently due to some recent grading, so the trail is pretty easy (albeit narrow in places) up to wypt 6. The current gatekeeper obstacle is now wypt 6, the first big rocky climb. The photos on here don't capture it well -- it's a series of rocky ledges with a few ways of getting up, all of which are non-trivial but very doable and fun in a lightly modified vehicle (but not doable in a RAV4). The view from wypt 8 was a bit underwhelming, but will probably be better once the leaves start to change. Five stars for the fun challenging obstacles at wypt 6 and between wypts 7 and 8.
Visited: 08/28/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Easier

Not only is the trail no longer a loop as others have mentioned but it appears they have taken a bulldozer and bladed half the trail, covering some of the fun obstacles with dirt. It was quite the disappointment to find. You could do this trail is a rav 4 now.

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