My Trail Reviews (22)
(within last 6 months)
Myself and a small group from Colorado Land Cruisers used CR 69 to get into the Seep Springs area and camp overnight. The road is in good condition, but there are a few short areas that have significant washboard. Aside from that, smooth and easy access to the Seep Springs OHV area.
This was my first time to drive up Mt. Princeton, and it was totally worthwhile. The road is narrow, too narrow for passing traffic in most spots, but there are switchbacks and other spots where one can pull out. These spots seemed more numerous at lower elevations--fewer up high. The stone chalet is a gem--remarkably good condition (please help keep it that way!) Views from the top are spectacular, especially to the SW towards Mount Antero. Just an incredible view!
I drove Schofield Pass from Crystal up to Gothic and Mt. Crested Butte on Sunday, September 19. The autumn colors are just beginning and I expect them to peak by the first week of October. There are two challenging spots in the "Devil's Punchbowl" section--Waypoint 5 and a point that is approximately 100 yards uphill from the Bridge at Waypoint 6. WP-5 is the rock-slide area and it has two boulders, one larger at the shelf edge (this one is embedded or fixed in position), and the other, smaller, is loose. The loose boulder makes this tricky--one can put a tire directly on it to drive over it (with adequate clearance and sliders) or one can drive over the fixed rock to "straddle" the loose boulder. The second challenging spot is where the road makes a S-turn on jagged, exposed bedrock. At the lower end of this segment is an exposed pointed rock that will grab a diff or snag an IFS rig if one slips off the rocks attempting to straddle it. An alternate line is to hug the uphill wall, but this is more off-camber and more difficult to back-up/reverse if you choose to change your line.
I drove Lead King on Sunday, September 18, 2022. Drove clockwise direction. I found the avalanche debris field remarkably dry and relatively a clear path. On the eastern portion, the USFS has been using a dozer to modify the surface. Exposed rocks on three segments of the "switchbacks" exceed 12" (but less than 18") and justify a difficulty rating change to "4".
I drove Weston Pass on Sunday, 8-21-2022. A few of us had camped near Leadville, and took Weston Pass back to US 285 via County Road 22. (US 285 is closed 100-yards north of CR 22, where the bridge over South Fork South Platte River is being rebuilt). Weston Pass is in good condition, relatively, but be aware of potential erosion and cautious of water puddles due to rain.
I drove Mosquito Pass from east to west on Saturday, 8-20-2022. Conditions were low clouds, intermittent rain, and wind. The road is wet in most places (likely due to intermittent rain). The road has been "braided" (widened) in several places due to SXS and 4x4 trying to "find an easier path". Please stay on the road and drive OVER the rocks!
Obtained a report that Crystal Mill is TEMPORARILY CLOSED due to landslide or rockslide due to recent heavy rain. Scheduled to re-open on MONDAY August 8 per Aspen Sopris Ranger District.
Thank you, Mile Hi Jeep Club (Patrol 2) for your stewardship on Brown's Pass and Breakneck Pass. It is evident that winter's deadfall and encroaching Aspen trees have been cut away/trimmed and removed (especially on the east side) to provide clear access to these roads. I drove Brown's Pass on Sunday morning, July 10th (west to east). The road is generally dry, and in good condition, though there are water puddles at the lower elevation on the east side.
Open, BUT take a shovel and recovery gear (traction boards, strap, D-ring or soft shackle) to be prepared! I drove Mosquito Pass on Saturday, July 9th. I started on the Alma side (drove east to west). There are large water pools in the vicinity of the London Mill. The rocky climb to North London Mine is bumpy and braided in spots due to vehicles attempting to find a "smoother path"--please don't widen the road, drive over the rocks! There is a large snow bank at the North London Mine, likely to endure into August. This snow bank does not block the road. The snow bank which has kept the road "impassible" is above WP 8. As I approached it, another vehicle was coming down. We both stopped at the snowbank and walked across it to assess depth, consistency, etc. He offered to stay uphill in order to pull me if necessary. I made it 2/3 the distance before getting stuck. I backed up and we shoveled to reduce the snow where my front axle was plowing/piling snow. Next attempt I made it over the "hump" and stalled 8-10 feet from the uphill side. We shoveled again, hooked the strap, and he pulled me through. He went down and continued downhill, and the Tacoma behind me came up, and stalled at the same spot I did. I hooked the strap and pulled him through. A side-by-side came next and cleared the snow bank. Finally, a Wrangler JKU came up and stalled at the same "hump"; he backed out and made it on his second attempt.
I drove up Breakneck Pass on Saturday, July 9th (east to west). The road is wet on the low elevation segment on the east side. The climb at WP 3 is rough, and unfortunately, it is braided by vehicles attempting to find a "smoother" line--please stay the trail/drive over the rocks, and don't widen the road! From the "summit" down into the creek valley is in good condition. Once in the valley, I crossed the creek onto FS Road 173 (WP 7) where I camped overnight. I drove the remainder of Breakneck Pass (north to WP 10) on Sunday morning.
I drove the segment from WP1 to WP2 on Saturday, July 9th. The road is generally dry but does have some water potholes. The area near WP2 is wet due to runoff.
I drove Weston Pass from Leadville to Alma (west to east) on Saturday, July 9th. The road is mostly dry and in good condition; be very cautious (drive slowly) on the blind curves because the vegetation blocks your vision. The parking area on the east side at Rich Creek Trailhead (hiking trail) was packed with a dozen or more cars and SUVs. Be cautious in this area for children and pets potentially in the road.
Hotel Gulch is in good condition overall and it makes a good "bail out" to rapidly get to Highway 67 to either Woodland Park or Deckers. Otherwise, it is a short trip from Rampart Range Road (FS 300) and the stone buildings at the west end (Manitou Experimental Forest Station) are worth viewing.
No changes since I ran this road last September; We've had lots of afternoon rain showers recently so the area is green and very appealing.
The road is rougher than the last time I drove it; near WP 5 (pond) there are ruts and exposed rocks that will grab your axle/differential if you don't pick a good line. The campsite at the top is in good shape (clear of deadfall and very little trash). Overall, with recent afternoon rains, this area is much more lush and green.
Balanced Rock Road (FS 322) is my favorite road on the Rampart Range. The road condition is degraded compared to the last time I drove it. There are more and deeper ruts, more exposed rocks (loose and shelf type), and there are more spots with exposed tree roots. Of course, all of this only adds to the adventure!
I drove up Mount Herman Road (FS 320) to access roads on the Rampart Range to make some updates. The road is in good condition overall, much less rutted than secondary roads. FS320 is very wash-boarded on the low section (between WP 1 and WP 2). There are some small rock slides between WP 2 and WP 3 (see photo of the 30"diameter rock in road).
I drove FS Road 300U to check current conditions and make an update. Overall, the road is in good condition but there are some erosion ruts and exposed tree roots that demand your attention, especially on the steep segments.
I drove this loop to assess current conditions and provide an update. The roads (FS 323 and FS 324) are in good condition, generally. There are some ruts and exposed tree roots but nothing beyond the capability of a stock 4x4.
My opinion is that this road is more difficult than the rating (3). There are many segments that are off-camber, and there are ruts and exposed rocks (20-24 inch diameter) on some off-camber segments that make it crucial to stay "on your line". I would discourage beginners from driving this road unless they're with experienced friends.
I drove Medano Pass with Colorado Land Cruisers (Colorado Springs) on June 25-26. Road conditions are good, there has been some dozer work on the east side where one can see that it was extremely muddy prior to the USFS and NPS declaring the road "open" in mid June. Also, there appears to have been a lot of sawyer work at the summit and west side due to wind damage--there were MANY trees blown over. Water levels in the creek are average, the deepest crossing I would estimate having been 14-16 inches.
I ran Coal Canyon with a group from Rock Junction (annual 4x4 event hosted by Grand Mesa Jeep Club) on Sunday, June 5, 2022. This road was a fantastic half-day trip and our group really enjoyed hanging out at the overlook.