My Trail Reviews (11)
(within last 6 months)
Right past Welsh Reservoir, it's currently chained up (different from the 4/25/2020 review), and you can't continue up the mountain to the Domantle Area. Sign indicates a closure December to April 15th, so not sure why it's currently closed.
I explored the other areas as well, Poison Road, Picture Point (?) Ridge, etc. and those side roads are open to vehicles, but not necessarily for the distance signs would indicate.
Overall, it's a fine trail and area. If you're in something open air, expect to get muddy and soaked unless you're at a crawling pace. A dozen stream crossings and mud puddles right now, though I'd imagine majority will be gone by July. I was drenched and had mud all over from it, a rarity in CO. Still some snow pack in the road in a couple of minor spots, so please stay the trail. Some folks have been going around snow pack and widening the road informally. Lots of Aspens down, not sure if it was weather, or something else, in a few areas.
If on decent tires and a short wheel base rig, I'd *almost* call this difficulty closer to a 2, but full-size 4x4s on more all seasons will have to be careful about approaches and in wet areas. There are some rocky areas you can snag underneath, some muddy areas you can bog down, some narrow areas you may scratch on branches. Excellent OHV trail, I ran it in a large utility quad and it was an amazing couple of hours exploring.
Note: there are a few dispersed sites for camping, but I counted maybe a half dozen total including Picture Point and Poison Road/Castle Peak side roads. Don't expect many pull off bivouac spots far enough the road for any real privacy.
Note: this is covered/gated by the mud season closure till mid June (not open!), and has some closure barricades in place for a USFS bridge replacement project from September 2019. I hoofed it about 3.5 miles in, and then turned back since I didn't plan on hiking (brought the four-wheeler) so didn't have water, food, etc.
That being said, can see why it's closed for another month. Knee deep snow pack, deep snowmelt streams loads of mud, etc. Even if it was open, would need something with tracks to get through the dense 3'+ snow drifts on parts of the road. Definitely some challenging lines for the best stock rigs, and some of the obstacles don't provide bypasses for full-sized vehicles. Certainly looks like an OHV dream trail.
The trail is technically closed since it's a Platte District forest access trail (Blanket "mud season" closure till June due to C19); however due to private ranch land access, the gate is kept open except Jan - Mar (wildlife recovery time), and is fully accessible.
Dozens of rigs, OHVs, etc. out today. Ran the full loop in an hour on a 2-up utility quad w/ over-sized tires. Definitely some rough areas due to grade in places, a few seasonal snowmelt stream crossings to splash watery mud all over you.
As always, please stick to the trail, don't abuse the access especially when off-road areas are limited due to COVID currently.
Note: USFS fire ban is in effect till May 31st, please keep that in mind if you camp out.
Made it roughly 1.75 miles in to the split off for a steep rocky hill climb to the NE (right) and I think the 3rd stream crossing. 3rd crossing was deep, too murky to assess, and had a ~20" ice shelf that dropped off so it was a no-go on the quad. Ended up camping by the stream about 1.25 miles in from the start where it splits from Larimer CO 69.
Need high clearance rigs to get deep in, or give it a few more weeks of melt to try on lower clearance vehicles (my quad is 13.25" for reference).
Overall, weather was great, some remaining snow drifts in shaded areas, but much of the ground was dry and perfect for tossing down a tent or tarp and camping out for the night. Ample options for hammock camping as well, and road has enough gentle turns and whoops for some baja-style cruising as long as you're careful of other traffic and random hikers and dogs. If you haven't been to the area before, the Poudre Canyon road in is absolutely scenic, though at 25-30 miles long can get tedious with slower traffic.
As of time of review, Larimer doesn't have a burn ban in effect (Boulder does), but that situation is evolving with C19 so always check the current regs if you're camping out for the night!
Made it roughly 2 1/2 miles in on a 2-up quad w/ oversized tires. Saw a stock RZR make it up, and turn around. I went about 1/4 mile further into deep snow following ruts from what looked like a tracked SXS, then drifts got closer to 3' and weren't worth the fight to get any more along. Definitely a few more weeks of melting needed. Beautiful views, a few tight points with boulders in the trail definitely would make it tricky for large full-sized trucks. ATVs and smaller trucks/SUVs should be fine with careful placement.
Closed till mid June due to mud season. As of March 29th, you could make it to campsite 25th with a built rig, or a 4x4 ATV on good tires. Beyond that, turned into off-camper pack close to 3' deep that was dense enough to walk on even without snowshoes. Pack and ruts extremely erratic; some pack would hold the 1,200lbs of my ATV and myself riding, other was soft sugar snow that would leave you buried in two feet of powder. Melting fast with the N/S facing valley exposure, however. Should be accessible to near the Iron Fens by the time it re-opens.
Nearby Bruno Gulch is open, but some of the drifts on the road are extremely deep and rotten, leading to stuck vehicles. If you can clear the open field area to the first turn that goes behind a ridge, a good 4x4 should have easy access to the first few numbered camping sites (see last two photos)
Deep, dense, off-camper snowpack right after you get to the end of private property. I went maybe 50-100' beyond the last tracks/ruts, and the uphill pack nearly 3' deep was pushing me to the downhill edge of the road. Took some work to get turned around without sliding off. Definitely need another month or so of melt to make any real gains up towards Bill Moore. Have done the trail in the summer, short wheelbase stock body on frames should be fine carefully. I went very cautious but still dragged a non-lifted crew cab extended bed f-150 on just a level kit on the running boards both ways.
Webster, Red Cone, and Upper Hall Valley are all 100% impassible back at the edge of NF/Private land boundary as of 1 month ago ago; there's a 8-9' high snow mound the rancher at the end of the private land built with an excavator to keep people out during snow season since they kept getting stuck. Snowmobiles should have the clearance to get around, but as of March there was easily 2-3' of pack on the road way before Handcart Gulch camping area and it was just snowshoe accessible. No idea if it's part of the Platte mud season road closures or not this year.
Can get roughly a mile or so in to the split between the burn area to the north, and the main trail that continues WNW further into the woods. Both directions quickly turn into inconsistent sugar snow that can go from a few inches to a few feet deep without any indication from the surface. Guessing another week or so of mostly sunny weather should open it up to good ATVs and built rigs.
Depending on the rig, may be able to get a mile or so in the actual Jeep trail that starts at the campground. There were lifted 4runners (amateur drivers on all-seasons) getting stuck when they slid off the pack. A stock Gladiator made it almost a mile with careful driving. I opted to just snowshoe in for camping overnight than risk truck/ATV in the deeper stuff. Pack off the road got 5-6' deep in areas, making for incredible snow dugout options for shelter overnight. Not so great for driving.
Built a fire on a tree by the road that was nearly flush with the snow and let it burn, melted to almost 6' down before it reached the ground beneath. Some of the drifts are deceptively deep.
Nearby Missouri Gulch is blocked by a plowed snowberm at Uncle Charlie's.
- Platte District has closed majority of their access roads until June 15th for "mud season" mitigation, most likely COVID19 measures to reduce traffic
Went up end of February on a utility quad, can do about half the loop before it gets too treacherous for even built rigs. Ran into a SXS driver who snapped a 3500lb winch cable trying to get their RZR unstuck and gave them a ride down the mountain. Drifts are easily 1.5'+ in the shade, while sunny areas may be clear all the way down to mud and rock. Gated now to motor vehicles, should be 100% clear in June when it re-opens.