NOTICE: Trails may be closed due to local orders related to stopping
the spread of COVID-19. The towns and counties you drive through to
get to specific trails may be closed due to local orders. Please
follow all local health authority directives before venturing off.
Manchester Off-Road Trail is situated in Pike National Forest. It provides you with scenic views of Manchester Creek with plenty of photo opportunities along the way. As a stark reminder to always pay attention to forest fire danger, this trail starts off in a lush forested area and ends in the burn area of the infamous Hayman Burn which scorched over 138,000 acres in 2002. The area burned so hot that nothing grew for many years and it's just now starting to show signs of the forest coming back. This growth means that over the next several years, you can expect that nearly every time you go out, the views on this trail will change.
Head north on Manchester Creek Road (Don't let this street name confuse you, it changes into the trail and its name). After 4.4 Miles of housing, the road turns into forest and it becomes Rule Ridge. Follow Rule Ridge (FS 357) to Waypoint 17 and turn left at the sign to get on the trail.
Land Use Issues
This area is part of Pike-San Isabel National Forest, and as such is part of the 2011 Lawsuit where a coalition of conservation and recreation groups were suing the U.S. Forest Service over what they say is an illegal addition of 500 miles of motorized roads and trails. A settlement was reached in late 2015 that is requiring the U.S. Forest Service to re-evaluate the roads and create a new travel management plan. 30 roads have been partially or completely closed while this evaluation takes place over the next few years. Those trails affected have been noted here at trailsoffroad.com.
It is imperative that the OHV community makes their voices be heard on this issue. If we do nothing, those 500 miles will be shut down, some already have. Contact the local ranger districts and let them know why the area is important to you and the history you have there. Contact your Congressperson and Senator as well. They know how important the OHV community is to the economy of the state.
Trail is technically opened, but we could only complete 8 of the 10 miles on this trail. We traveled north to south. We bogged down and had to use our recovery gear at the intersection of FS 362 and 364. Snow was easily 20-24" deep and Toyota Tundra was too heavy to get thru it. We also ran into deep snow once you past the house on the private property as the trail was not maintained after that. Plenty of ATVs and side by sides running it, but our heavy vehicles struggled in spots.
Trail remains in good shape and doesn't have much snow. The creek has frozen but is broken near the northern end of the trail. We made it through with a lift and big tires rather than turn around.
Note, there is private property on this trail and we encountered more than just the signs on this trip. There were children on the road near the house and when we slowed down to make sure they were moving, two dogs rushed the Jeep, barking, baring teeth and growling. One dog jumped at my window at least once before the owner got them to finally back off. We will be filing a complaint and I fear what would have happened if I had no doors on the Jeep. Be careful when traveling this section of trail.
Jen & JD moved to Colorado from Chicago in May of 2015 for work and brought with them a 2001 stock Jeep Wrangler that had been garage bound for two years. Within a month of arrival, all rusty 170,000 miles of it was shaking on Colorado trails and they've never stopped. As time as gone on, their 2001 TJ has been upgraded and a 2015 Jeep JK has been added to the family.
JD works as a Systems Engineer for a cable company and Jen runs a business from their home during the week to pay the bills. When the weekend hits, they're almost always hitting the trail. When Sunday night rolls around, the question turns to, 'so what's next week?!'.