Paul

Trail Reviews: 4100 points
Questions Answered: 50 points
Off-Road Experience:
6+ years
Off-Road Style:
Dirt Roads/Backroads
My Garage:
  • 2000 Nissan Frontier (3.5" lift, 33" tires)
  • 2004 Toyota 4Runner (1.5" lift, 32" tires)
Born in Wyoming but raised on Colorado mountains and trails. I grew up riding ATV's and dirtbike with my family on trails all over Colorado and throughout Moab, UT. Relatively newer to the 4x4 community (as far as full-size vehicles go) with about 3 years of experience in the truck. I am a mechanical engineer by training, married to an environmental engineer. We ski, mountain bike, and hike. My Nissan Frontier I have is a really great truck. There are definitely some design flaws, but for the price, reliability, and simplicity, it is a perfect truck for what we do. Right now, it has no leaks at 260,000 miles. The truck has a supercharger conversion from a wrecked 2003 Xterra that was factory supercharged. I did the install myself and it does great at the higher elevations in Colorado.

My Garage (2)

2000 Nissan Frontier

Lift Size: 3.5"
Tire Size: 33"
Supercharged Denim Blue 2000 Frontier. 5-speed manual. Suspension: - OME 2" lift leaf pack + adjustable shackles in the rear. - Extended shocks on all 4 corners (Bilstein 5100 series). - Longer travel upper control arms. - Low profile bump stops. - Sway-Away 20% stiffer torsion bars in the front. - Removed swaybars completely (who doesn't love clover leaf on-ramps with no sway bars?) Performance: - Supercharger installed from 03 Xterra S/C (+30-40hp?) - K&N Air filter (+2000hp) Armor/Other: - ARB Bull Bar with 9.5K winch. - Rock sliders custom built by First Choice Fabrication in Denver. - Factory gas tank skid plate. - Twin Viair 100% duty cycle compressors with 5gal. air tank @ 150psi. - Hub conversion to fit 2010 4Runner Trail wheels. - LT 285/70 R17 Goodyear Wrangler UltraTerrains. - Sherpa Equipment company racks (cab and topper). - LED spot, flood, and fog, lights mounted front, rear, and sides for camping, making me feel cool while driving easy trails, and looking for tools that fell off my bumper, usually within 2 blocks of my house.

2004 Toyota 4Runner

Lift Size: 1.5"
Tire Size: 32"
V8 Sport Edition. XREAS delete. Bilstein 5100's in place. Currently has a 1.5" lift on the front and 5th gen 4Runner coils in the rear (sits pretty level). 265/70/17 Hankook Dynapro ATM tires. We primarily use this vehicle when we are going to go on road trips. Although camping/wheeling may not be priority on those trips, it's nice to be able to do some lighter duty wheeling on the side. It has gone over a hand-full of Colorado passes and some other out of state wheeling too.

My Trail Reviews (14)

(within last 6 months)
McClellan Mountain (08/15/2020)
Got up there pretty early using a mix of the FS 248.1 (Leavenworth Creek Road/"Argentine Pass" route on Trails Offroad) and FS 248.1B ("McClellan Mountain" route on Trail Offroad). Be advised that 248.1B is very bumpy and overgrown, so there are limited passing spots and a lot of pin stripes. The smoke up there from the fires out in western Colorado was pretty thick. Road is really dry and dusty right now. Not to crowded - explored a few more of the off-shoots around the Waldorf mine site - also bumpy and narrow. Still always a good route and great views of Grays and Torreys Peaks to the West from the top of McClellan Mountain.
T-33 Plane Crash (07/24/2020)
Go get it! I've run this trail a few times now and it's always a fun challenge to get up to the parking lot for the plane wreckage. We did it this time in a 2000 Frontier, no lockers, 33's, some lift (2-4"? Somewhere in there...) and a 2001 4Runner, no lockers, 33's, about 3" of lift. Good line choices and a good spotter will help you out. But when in doubt, just send it (just kidding, that how stuff breaks...). If you haven't done this trail before, I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend running it on a week day or REALLY EARLY ON A WEEKEND - the rental company runs ATV and UTVs off of Bunce and this trail gets way to crowded to be safe. We started the trail at about 7:15am and were of the trail by 9:25am the Saturday we ran it. And just in time, as about a dozen side-by-sides were headed into the trail as we were running away.
Ironclads (07/18/2020)
2000 Frontier, no lockers, 33's, 2" liftt, Green 1999 4Runner, rear locker, 32's, 4" lift, and Gold 2001 4Runner, no lockers, 33's, 4" lift - I've run this a few times this summer with several different guys. Always a good time. I believe the higher end rating is primarily for "The Step" a WP7. The Step is no joke. Can't quite capture it in photos, but it's pretty large and taking the left line is going to give you some pretty big wheel lift on the driver front wheel. It's a very committing line in an IFS vehicle (insert Jeep guys laughing right here). Take it easy, pick your lines, and use a spotter if you can! GO ON A WEEK DAY! This can't be said enough. I ran it really early in the morning on Saturday both times I've done it this year and was off the trail by 8am at the latest.
Los Pinos - Cebolla Pass (07/06/2020)
It's just a dirt road for most of it. Unless you're already there, I wouldn't recommend driving very far to go to this trail. It's long, not too rough, but there are a lot of fun turn offs to see stuff along the way. We did it as a connector from Lake City back to the highway on our way home from Telluride - I'd take this route again to avoid the highway for as long as possible. GREAT veiws, lots of wildlife out there. Looked like a lot of camp spots too.
Engineer Pass (07/04/2020)
My first time over Engineer - it's a great road with some of the best views in the area. The trail isn't really all that technical, but there are some spots to watch out for and some one-car-width areas with no passing spots. Ran this in a 2000 Nissan Frontier, 2" lift, 33's, no lockers, and a 2004 4Runner, 2" lift, 32's, no lockers.
Alta Lakes (07/04/2020)
SUPER busy (granted, it was July 4th) - this trail is too accessible, so there were a lot of people who had no idea what they were doing. Lots of people who don't know how to use the trails, didn't know how to pass, and were causing problems for trail traffic flow. The lakes are beautiful though, and if you go on a week day or non-holiday weekend, I'm sure it's probably less crazy.
Ophir Pass (07/04/2020)
I personally really like this trail - it's not super hard, and pretty bumpy the whole way, but the view is awesome and the way the geography and rock formations change is something cool to see. I think you could do this trail in a stock subaru outback - it's not hard. Again, just bumpy. The long rocky stretch on the Ophir side has basically no passing spots - keep and eye out for oncoming traffic and wait your turn so that nobody has to back up - could be dangerous to try it.
Imogene Pass (07/03/2020)
Great trail that actually lives up to the hype. There are good obstacles, really steep sections, and killer views. 2000 Frontier, 33's, 2" lift, no lockers, and a 2004 4Runner, 32's, 2" lift, no lockers. No real clearance issues. There are generally easier lines if you can't make a bigger obstacle. That said, there are definitely some spots where you have no other options and you have to commit to a slightly technical line. Ran from Ouray to Telluride.
Silver Jack Reservoir (07/03/2020)
Good camping spots, but it gets busy up there. There are some more remote spots that take a bit of searching to get to... Good dirt road all the way though. Could do it in a sedan or a mini van.
Tincup Pass (07/03/2020)
Ran from St. Elmo to Tincup. Did not do Old Tincup (heard there may be people stuck on it blocking the route). 2004 4Runner, 32's, leveling lift, no lockers, 2000 Frontier, 33's, 3" lift, no locker. Good trail, lots of fun challenges for new to intermediate drivers. The main route has some fun challenges both directions that will really test your vehicle if you're running anything close to stock.
Gateway – Castleton Route (05/24/2020)
Becoming out tradition to run this route every time we go to Utah. Scenery is awesome off road, and once you get into gateway. It beats the heck out of that section of I-70 from Moab to Grand Junction. Be careful on the gravel road between WP3 and WP5 - there was a ford bronco teetering over the edge as we descended the road this year. He was out of the vehicle and happy to be alive as his truck was inches from going off a 500 or 600 foot drop. The road is loose gravel, bad washboard, and no guard rails, so be careful.
North Temple Wash (05/23/2020)
Some of the original photos in the write-up make this trail look a bit challenging, but it's really not. There are a few small obstacles in the wash, but nothing big. You can easily do the trail straight through in 20-30 minutes. There is a vast area to the North of this wash that has a lot to offer. I think that this trail system connects all the way up to I-70. We did a bit of exploring up there. There are a lot of skinnier trails that have washouts in the corners. Line choice is key there. Would be a great area for ATVs and UTVs. Good views. It skirts are wilderness study area, so there isn't much camping available up there, but it's worth adding to this trail.
Temple Mine (05/23/2020)
The shelf section has a bad washout in it between WP10 and 11. It's hard to tell in the picture, but it's very tippy, very slippery (gravel on top of hard pack), and extremely narrow. There is a go-around. The shelf is currently doable, but just barely and it's high risk. We filled a lot of the washout in with rocks and boulders after almost loosing one of the vehicles in our group (ok, fine, it was me). Locals who helped us move rocks said it happened in the last couple weeks. It's pretty heavily off-camber and very slippery due to all the gravel and sand that has sluffed over the trail. I got crossed up in it pretty good and it took a few hours to safely get the truck recovered and get the hole filled in. We brought a bunch of rocks/boulders from around that area and winched some larger ones into place to fill the washout. If you're running this trail, be ready for this section and be careful. There is a possible go-around (see attached image). We did improve this washed-out corner, but it's not pretty and would need some professional effort to make it safer. Just be aware and be safe. OTHERWISE, this trail is pretty fun with good views and several good challenges. Some of the small drainage crossings around the mine ruins are washing out as well and are really deep. Got some good wheel lifts while going through them diagonally.
Lower San Rafael Road (05/22/2020)
Long, dusty, bumpy. But still a scenic route with lots of fun turn-offs to access Canyonlands National Park (not for us, since it was during the covid-19 restrictions and the park was closed). Air down and drive fast enough to smooth out the washboard and you'll enjoy this route. Definitely stop and check out the sand dunes near WP8. South side of the road. Can't miss it.