Due to unprecedented and historic fire conditions, U.S. Forest Service-Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland is temporarily closing all National Forest land in Clear Creek, Jefferson, Gilpin, Boulder, and Larimer counties. The decision to be re-evaluated daily. SEE CLOSURE ORDER

Pole Hill

Estes Park, Colorado (Larimer County)

Last Updated: 10/01/2020
4.9 / 5 ( 9 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Temporary Closure
Typically Open: 06/15 - 11/30
Length: 1.7 miles
Highest Elevation: 8654 feet
Duration: About 1 hour, 30 minutes
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Estes Park
Nearest Town w/ Services: Estes Park
Official Road Name: 122
Management Agency: Roosevelt National Forest
District: Canyon Lakes Ranger District
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Pole Hill
Pole Hill is situated in Roosevelt National Forest just east of Estes Park. For how close it is to civilization, it sure does offer a ton of fun, moderate obstacles, and absolutely stunning views of Longs Peak as well as Rocky Mountain National Park. Whether you are new to offroading looking to advance your skills and challenge your rig, or a seasoned veteran looking for a close day trip to go play out on the rocks, Pole Hill is one of those trails that doesn’t disappoint. With the ability to mix in the Panorama Peak loop to the South and Solitude Creek loop to the North, you can have a full day of exploration. In the early summer, you will be greeted with meadows of wildflowers, and in the fall, the vast stretches of Aspen trees will offer a golden shimmer in the sun. This is truly a gem in the area that shouldn’t be missed!

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for Pole Hill

Route Information

Technical Rating:
(MODERATE - DIFFICULT)

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Waypoints

1. Pole Hill - Trailhead (0 mi)
Pole Hill begins at the USFS seasonal gate. There is a small parking area where you can air down. The trailhead can get congested with vehicle parking, especially when vehicles with a trailer are left parked. The trailhead is surrounded by private property with some full-time residents living in nearby homes.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 40.361682, -105.449445

Starting Point: Estes Park, CO

Take Highway 36 east out of Estes Park approximately 2.5 miles. Turn left onto CR 122, Pole Hill Road. Follow the winding Pole Hill Road uphill for 1 mile. The trailhead is on your left at the small parking area.

Camping

Dispersed

Trail Reviews (20)

Author: Official Crew
Status: Temporary Closure
Offroaded on:
Due to the Cameron Peak forest fire, The USFS has closed the entire Canyon Lakes Ranger District in the Roosevelt National Forest. This trail will likely be closed for the remainder of the 2020 season. A copy of the map for the closure area can be found here.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This was a great trail, with a couple loops that connect. All trails offered a decent challenge for my stock Jeep TJ and great views. Each trail had great little obstacles. Trail was mostly dry with a few patches of mud. Great find, since most if not all trails up north are closed due to the Cameron Peak Fire. Only thing I would say is that there were quite a few tours, but nothing crazy and easy to get around.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
great fun trail. I started probably around 3:00 so I had to wait for a few of the tours to come back down the hill but it was a great challenge for my lifted Subaru crosstrek. plenty of options for people wanting to test their rigs

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Surprisingly, the trail was only lightly used today and most of the dispersed campsites were unused. Because the Cameron Peak forest fire has much of the Roosevelt National Forest closed, a trail in the Estes Park area was in order. Pole Hill has always been one of my favorite routes. If you don't mind driving down in the dusk or if you are camping, the sunset will be worth waiting for.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Great trail! Ran the north loop only this time, but will be heading back to take on the south. Stock Cherokee Trailhawk did great with good line choice, but still found the skid plates once or twice... Great trail to test limits of the vehicle without worrying about getting truly in trouble. Trail etiquette is crucial for the big hill coming in and out of the area.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Great awesome trail, ran this and the two loops in a stock 02 suburban z71. As long as you know how to pick your lines you will make it all the way. Only thing I’ve done to the truck is removed sway bars. Your stock side steps will take some hits and scrapes but that’s it.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Super fun trail, especially for my first time!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
According to the MVUM, Pole Hill is now open.

Author:
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Still closed

Author:
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Still closed as of today.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Great day wheeling. Trail was challenging with a little bit of snow and ice in the shadows. Only a few others on the trail.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Always one of my favorite trails. Earlier this year I put a 3.5" lift on my JL Rubicon. This was the first time I have run Pole Hill since the lift. The ride was spectacular! No bottoms, no rubs, no scrapes. The area received a little bit of rain the night before so no dust on the trail was an added bonus. Nothing better than running around the mountains topless.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Oh this trail is great. It's got some technical spots and some smooth spots. The views are good and the flowers were abundant. Traction wasn't an issue for me at any point. Some higher clearance spots that had to be spotted, however any vehicle with a lift will easily handle it.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Trail was great with a nice lack of people. It appears the snowfall for the year has made the beginning section a bit rougher. As well as the section between Waypoints 4 and 5 have gotten washed out a little and ruts are starting to form.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
This trail is open for the season as of 6/15! https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/arp/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5300963

Author:
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
Gate is closed right after the junction of Pole Hill Road and Alpine Drive. Looks like the trail is not open yet. Was looking forward to this trail as I haven't ever done it.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Trail was dry on a beautiful sunny day. Saw half a dozen other rigs. We just bought our 02 TJ with a small lift on 33's and this was the second trail we've had it on. It was intimidating at first sight, be we put it in low and crawled up everything. We had a blast! My sister and her husband had their stock JKL Rubicon and has zero issues. We all agreed we wanted to come back and do it again. There's some great views, and this will probably be a good spot for seeing the leaves turn in a few weeks,

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Trail was dry and open, it was a gorgeous day to be out on the trail! Surprisingly I only passed 2 vehicles and 2 campers, despite it being a beautiful weekend in the middle of summer.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Seasonal Closure
Offroaded on:
After vandalism of the gate at Pole Hill, the USFS requested assistance from a local 4X4 group to repair the gate. After the repairs were done, we conducted a trail inspection of both loops of Pole Hill with the Forest Service. Several downed trees were cleared from the trail during the inspection. The local forest ranger decided that the trail needed to remain closed for a few more days to allow for the final snow melt and the opportunity for the trail to dry. Waiting for the right conditions helps to mitigate resource damage. The trail is expected to open this first week of June 2017.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
While this is an easy trail it is still one that is a must see for those that enjoy great scenery. While out today I decided to go for a quick run before heading home, and Pole Hill was close by. The trail itself is in good condition, with exception of on short section that has been temporarily closed due to a giant sinkhole that formed after the 2013 floods that hit the area. The small Board Walk that is along the Notch is deteriorating more each year but the area still offers great views of the Estes Park Valley. During the run there were no issues, other then some wildlife running across the trail infant of me, but that is what is great about hitting trails during the week, A LOT less traffic and the ability to see more wildlife.

Questions & Answers (5)

Q: Can this be done in a Cheverolet 1500 Z71 with a 6" lift and 35's? Pic in my profile.
–Kevin Latham (07/23/2020)
–John (07/23/2020)
Q: Per the MVUM, your seasonal dates in this guide are off by 2 weeks. Trail is open 6/15-11/30
–Ryan Boudreau (06/03/2020)
–Bradley & Rhea Mikkelson (06/03/2020)
Q: This is more of a general question for all trails in Colorado. I was unsure on how to ask a question to the who community for help without going into trail I plan I using. I am new to off roading and currently planning a trip to head to Colorado for a week in late July 2020. I have a mostly stock 2012 Chevy Colorado with a topper my fiance and I are planning on camping in for most of the trip on different trails. General areas we will be at are Estes Park, Idaho Springs, and Telluride. Going to stick to easy to moderate trails. Questions I have are listed below. Do you need any special permits or passes to drive trails in Colorado? What are some common off road rules a beginner should follow? (Ex: On an in/out trial who has the right of way?) Are trails open at all times of the day? Trails with dispersed camping can you camp next the trail if you get there towards night and all made campsites are full? (Trying to avoid having to come back down a trail in the dead of night) Any other tips and tricks?? Thanks
–Wyatt Davidson (01/24/2020)
–J Ranello (01/27/2020)
Q: Can you park at the gate and camp inside on forest service land?
–Jill (07/28/2017)
–Nik Verbeck (08/10/2017)
Q: Where do you park your trailer?
–Jeff (07/15/2017)
–Bradley & Rhea Mikkelson (07/15/2017)

Writer Information

Tim Palmer

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Tim lives and works in Northern Colorado. He has owned and driven 4X4 vehicles his entire adult life including Jeeps, pick ups, ATVs and UTVs. After high school, Tim's first 4X4 was a 47 Willy's CJ-2A with a flat 4 and a 6-volt electrical system. Typically wheeling in Northern Colorado or Southern Wyoming, Tim loves being in the mountains and the back country. Because of a desire to enjoy and promote responsible off-roading and to keep it available for the future, he belongs to a local 4X4 off-road club. Being part of the Trailsoffroad.com community furthers that goal as well. A love for off-road adventures, camping, fishing, and hunting keeps Tim away from pavement and always exploring. While his wife likes the comfort of a Jeep Grand Cherokee, Tim prefers the ruggedness of the Jeep Wrangler. Although most off-road time is spent in Colorado and Wyoming, an occasional trip to the Moab area is common. Tim will spend the summer going topless and enjoying the value of the great outdoors. Amateur Radio Technician license call sign: ke0npg
For individual use only, not to be shared.