Aspen Ridge

Johnson Village, Colorado (Chaffee County)

Last Updated: 06/03/2021
4.5 / 5 ( 13 reviews )
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Highlights

Highlight: Aspen Ridge
Aspen Ridge features open ranges, dense forests, and wide views. As the name implies, the 10,000ft elevation ridge is covered in Aspen trees. The Forest Service Road is generally a graded dirt road that travels in a north-south track. The road crosses broad meadows providing expansive views of the Collegiate Peaks. Despite rougher conditions at elevation, the entire road is easily navigable by a stock 4WD vehicle. Aspen Ridge is popular among ATV and motorcycle riders, mountain bikers, and equestrians who enjoy the wide open spaces. There's dispersed camping available along all segments of the road, and nearby towns of Nathrop, Johnson Village, Buena Vista, and Salida offer commercial campgrounds, motel lodging, and outdoor supplies.

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Route Information

Technical Rating

( MODERATE )

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Waypoints

1. Aspen Ridge Trailhead (0 mi)
Turn right onto FS Road 185 from Bassam Park Road (FS Road 187). The intersection is extremely well marked.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Fairplay

From Fairplay, take U.S. Highway 285 south and turn left on Chaffee County Road (CR) 307. Travel one mile and then turn left on FS Road 187, Bassam Park Road. Follow Bassam Park Road approximately six miles to the intersection for Aspen Ridge on the right. From Salida, as an alternative, Aspen Ridge Road can be traveled south-to-north. From U.S. Highway 50, turn north on "F" Street and drive slowly through the historic downtown area. Turn left on "West 1st" Street for just under one mile and watch for County Road 175 on the right (it is across from the new medical center). Follow CR 175 for about nine miles to the intersection of FS Road 185. There is a brown USFS sign that indicates Aspen Ridge/Turret Road. Note on Permit Requirement: Effective July 1, 2020, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife added a requirement for access to State Wildlife Areas (SWA) and State Trust Lands (STL). One must possess a current/valid Colorado hunting OR fishing license to access SWA and STL properties. Since Forest Road 185/Aspen Ridge traverses the STL (Waypoints 11-12) this rule applies.

Camping

Dispersed

Land Use Issues

Aspen Ridge 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 are suing the U.S. Forest Service over what they say is the illegal addition of 500 miles of motorized roads and trails. A settlement was reached in late 2015 which requires the U.S. Forest Service to re-evaluate the roads and create a new travel management plan. Over the next year, some roads will be partially or completely closed while this evaluation proceeds over the next 5 years. It is imperative that the OHV community voices their interests on this issue. If we do nothing, those 500 miles will be shutdown. Contact the local Ranger District offices and let them know why the area is important to you.

Trail Reviews (22)

Questions & Answers (4)

Q: How many trails are available during the end of April? I'd hate to drive all the way out there and have no trails to enjoy.
–Daniel Sawvell (04/14/2021)
–Tracy Barker (04/15/2021)
–Tracy Barker (04/15/2021)
Q: Tracy, ever done this in January? I'm hoping to do it in a couple weeks, but didn't know if that might be overly ambitious.
–Neal A. Tew (01/01/2021)
–Bob Vaughn (02/11/2022)
–Tracy Barker (01/05/2021)
–Ryan Boudreau (01/04/2021)
Q: Listed as being open year around but peaks at over 10k in elevation. Whats the scoop? Doesnt seem likely in Colorado.
–Tyler Snider (04/08/2019)
–Tracy Barker (04/09/2019)
Q: I heard that the Four Mile Area and Aspen Ridge near Buena Vista, Colorado has been closed to camping. Is this true?
–Judy (06/05/2017)
–Neal A. Tew (10/03/2018)
–Larry (06/23/2017)
–Tracy Barker (06/05/2017)

Writer Information

Tracy Barker

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Tracy is an outdoor enthusiast originally from north Alabama. His family moved to central Utah when Tracy was a child, and subsequently to southern Utah, where he fell in love with the Rocky Mountains. His favorite activities are family trail rides and camping with small groups. He started many years ago in his dad's F-150 pickup truck, and subsequently his own 4x4 acquisition, a 1975 Ford Bronco (in 1991).
For individual use only, not to be shared.