Boulder Ranger District/Clear Creek Ranger District
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This offroad 4x4 route is one of the main spines of the extensive network of trails around Dakota Hill and Oregon Hill southwest of Rollinsville. Along its course you will find spectacular mountain vistas, interesting mining relics and connections to many more trails to explore. On the way to the trailhead you will pass through the town of Apex which has a few residents but is really a well-preserved ghost town. This whole network is a remnant of a bygone era where some made fortunes and others died with shattered dreams.
Pass through the open gate at the top of Apex Road onto the trail. There is room to park on the left just past the gate. After the parking area the trail narrows and descends steeply giving you a spectacular view of the Indian Peaks to the north.
From Black Hawk go north on CO 119 about 2 miles and turn left onto Apex Valley Road (County Road 4S) or, from Rollinsville, go south on CO 119 about 11.9 miles and turn right on Apex Valley Road. Go west and somewhat north on Apex Valley Road. The road will eventually curve around to go almost due north. At about 5.6 miles, stay straight and enter the old mining town of Apex. The road will climb for about 1.7 miles from Apex up a series of switchbacks and past the Utah Hill trailhead. At the top of the hill you will pass through a gate and onto the trail.
If you have a big tire, well equipped rig, the trail is still passable. If not, you won't make it very far.
The snow is deep and soft but hasn't yet gotten too off camber to lean you off the trail. After coming in from another trail, we were able to run the entire trail start to finish. 42" tires on the buggy, 40s on the others.
The views of the snow cover divide were awesome!
Ran this trail right after the few first few snows hit the area - it was beautiful! Super nice to get above the otherwise dreary weather in Denver. It was definitely cold, but the trail was very fun and didn't present any challenges, though, there wasn't much snow to worry about!
Calvary 4-Wheelers ran Dakota Hill as part of a mapping mission to Dakota Hill North and Dakota Hill Spur on Saturday, June 16, 2018. After gathering GPS data, pictures and video on those two trails we continued around Dakota Hill and attempted to exit to Gamble Gulch via Dakota Hill East. Finding that trail blocked by a large, fallen tree, we returned to the Dakota Hill trail and took it over to Gamble Gulch Connector where we made a successful exit. We did not run the last segment of the Dakota Hill trail to the end.
The weather was decent but perhaps not ideal with partly to mostly cloudy skies and scattered showers and thunderstorms. It would rain for a little bit, then the sun would come back out for a while. The trail was clear and mostly dry (except while it was raining) and there were no obstructions. Surprisingly, we met very little traffic that day.
We were snow wheeling other trails around Central City and went up Apex Road above Apex. We were able to reach the trailhead for Utah Hill but could not make it all the way to the trailhead for Dakota Hill do to three to four-foot drifts. A built buggy on 37s or 40s could probably make it but anything smaller will have a hard time of it.
Bill is an off-road enthusiast with nearly 30 years of 'wheeling experience. At one time he had a streak of about 20 years of 4-wheeling at least once a month. He likes anything from easy, dirt roads to difficult trails but stops short of extreme. Over the years he has traveled over 700 different trails, mostly in Colorado and Utah. He loves finding and exploring new areas and sharing his knowledge with others. He has been the coordinator of Calvary 4-Wheelers for many years.