|Typically Open:||Year Round|
|Highest Elevation:||10269 feet|
|Duration:||About 1 hour 30 minutes|
|Shape of Trail:||Straight Through|
|Best Direction to Travel:||South|
|Nearest Town:||Johnson Village|
|Nearest Town w/ Services:||Johnson Village|
|Official Road Name:||185|
|Management Agency:||San Isabel National Forest|
|District:||Salida Ranger District|
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.
Dirt road. Rutted, washes, or gulches. Water crossings up to 6" depth. Passable mud. Grades up to 10 degrees. Small rocks or holes. 4WD recommended but 2WD possible under good conditions and with adequate ground clearance and skill. No width problems for any normal vehicle. Vehicle passing spots frequently available if less than two vehicles wide.Read more about our rating system
|Spring:||Aspen Ridge is wet and muddy due to snowmelt|
|Summer:||Usually dry but may have potholes/mud puddles|
|Fall:||Exceptional autumn colors, road is usually dry|
|Winter:||May have snow present but it tends to melt within days of a snowstorm|
Turn right onto FS Road 185 from Bassam Park Road (FS Road 187). The intersection is extremely well marked.
Stay straight and pass the intersection to FS Road 185E.
Continue straight past the intersection with FS Road 185D. This road is a connector with Bald Mountain Gulch.
Follow the curve to the right to stay on FS Road 185.
Turn right to continue on FS Road 185. The improved surface becomes FS 185B at this point. It continues to Elk Mountain Ranch (one mile) and dead-ends.
Stay straight past the two-track camping spur.
Continue straight past the unauthorized road to the right. Note the spectacular view in the third photo.
Proceed over the cattle guard.
Follow the main road as it curves to the left around the meadow. Topographic maps indicate that there was once a trail here that concluded a loop from the ridge at higher elevation.
Stay on the main road; the spur to the right is the remnant of the trail (now closed) that formed a loop back to the meadow at WP 9.
Proceed straight across the cattle guard which marks the USFS Boundary. This is the top of the ridge, south end. From here you are traversing State Trust Land.
Drive straight through the gate. This is the boundary re-entering National Forest land. The road going uphill to the left is not marked.
Turn left (east) at the T-intersection. FS Road 185 is signed in both directions, however the other road is not marked. It does appear on topographic maps as "4WD".
Stay right and downhill on FS Road 185.
Continue straight past the intersection. FS Road 184 goes east to the abandoned town of Turret.
The road curves to the right and forms a Y intersection with FS Road 175. This is the end of FS Road 185.
Trailhead Coordinates: 38.773380, -105.968240