My Trail Reviews (5)
(within last 6 months)
IMO the Gatekeeper on Middle St. Vrain is primarily for Waypoint 2 on this trail, which was heavily rutted and even the large rocks were loose. Several vehicles had problems with this obstacle and needed to take a number of tries at it. Rock stacking was common. A spotter was almost required. That being said... an older Stock JKU with street tires and low tread made it through in front of us. It was apparent he had little regard however for the damage occurring to his vehicle. Several people from the group in front of us said it gets worse every year. Who knows what next year will hold.
The water crossing at Waypoint 4 had a large area to park and was a popular spot to stop for lunch, and watch everyone else cross the water. Pack accordingly! :)
I would suggest that Mild Off Camber (for the rocks at Waypoint 2), High Water Crossing (possibility at Waypoint 4), and Pinstriping (in general) be added to the ARS above.
After (if) you make it over the Gatekeeper obstacle at the start, the rest of this trail is quite pretty down in the trees and fairly chill. Still plenty of rock-and-rolling, but not bad in comparison to some other trails. We completed it in the rain with no issues. A Jeep in front of us did lose his drive shaft, so still be aware. (It was modified for the street, with no lift, and he took the hard line on one of the bigger rock outcroppings, so... idk.) Slow and steady won the day.
At least a small lift and a little bit bigger tires would probably be preferable, but not necessarily required.
Every bit of the 5 Difficult rating, especially in a JKU with a Roof Top Tent. Got tricky a couple times, but no rock stacking or winching was necessary.
Very Heavy SXS traffic and very few areas to pass for the larger groups. Many are rentals with inexperienced drivers. Suggest running on a week day if possible.
Personally believe that Pinstriping and at least Mild Off Camber should be added to the ARS above.
Started out early Saturday, camped at Lake Como overnight, and descended on Sunday.
Jaws 1 & 2 looked pretty eroded in comparison to the photos from the official trail detail above. Some rock stacking was required to get several in our group over these obstacles, including myself. Tippy Spot and Jaws 2.5 were in good condition. Bypass to Jaws 3 is tight in spots, but not hard. Problem is it's wet, and you can't bypass the second half of Jaws 3, which left us with wet tires for that ascent. Slow and steady won the day...
Word to the wise; If camping, be prepared for anything. Weather report for us was 10% chance of rain. That's it. Clear skies that you can see in the pics turned to light rain quickly, then to sleet, then hail, then downpour with heavy winds. This persisted for a couple hours. Several in our group did not have the gear to hold up to that and got soaked. They had to descend immediately, with very little daylight left, on wet terrain. It was that or potential hypothermia. A couple hikers were caught unprepared as well that our group helped. Be prepared!
The trip down was pretty uneventful, until Jaws 1, which was quite different going down than up. The low side was giving way under the weight of our heavier-than-most Jeep with a Roof Top Tent. We had to back up and go the high side, which was more stable, but the only way to not roll was 6 men on 2 tow straps attached to our Gobi cage holding us up. If we do this again, I'd consider shedding all weight possible, and especially that which is up high.
I will add that we're in a '14 JKU Rubicon, with a 3" lift and 35" tires. We also have lockers front and rear, but our rear locker gave out on the way up. A much lighter XJ with 2.5" lift and 35"s did just fine, too. Actually better than fine, he lead our group.
I would not even consider this trip solo unless you really have 110% confidence in your ability and your rig, and are prepared to the teeth. Clear and present warning aside, this is a "Bucket List" trail, and I highly suggest it.
Heavily traveled, fairly maintained dirt road. Good escape route from the trail head after hiking Seven Bridges or St. Mary's, which is always busy, rather than heading back down North Cheyenne Canyon. Show up early. Tunnels are fun.
As previously mentioned, lots of foot and bicycle traffic. Also, standard street vehicles going through WAY too fast, even around blind corners and tight one-way sections. Be wary!
Great views of downtown Colorado Springs, though. If you can find an open pull-off it's a great place to stop and eat.