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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and had terrible luck all the way from March - July on trying to get a vacation planned and we finally said it is time to do something before it gets too cold to do anything. We are wanting to head west to Colorado just to get away for a while. We talked about just taking her 2018 JLU (No mods, radial tires) and trying to hit some easy trails. I also have a 2019 Ford Raptor (stock as well) and maybe renting a camper to pull.

Anyone have any recommendations on trails that would be fun trails to go on or insight to camping spots etc? This would really be our first off-road trip and really don't have any recovery gear. Just looking for something fun to do to kill some time.

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Grumpy Old Guy
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Where in Colorado are you looking to go?
When are you going?
Assuming if you take the JL you wont be taking a camper?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We are looking at heading out there Sept. 20-26 (ish). We really don't have a specific place we want to go. I know it is really dry out there right now as well. I have an aunt that lives in Estes so thought about swinging through and saying hi one of the days but not super important.

Correct if we did the Jeep we would probably be looking at staying in a hotel.

Since we are so new to off roading we thought if we could find some really simple trails that were fun that would be perfect for us.

We are really open to any suggestions.
 

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I am heading out to Colorado the week before that, Sept 14th-18th, it will be my first time off-roading in Colorado. We will be staying in the Montrose area and will be wheeling in the Ouray area. I got a book called Guide to Colorago Backroads & 4-wheel-drive Trails. They rate a bunch of trails as Green, Blue or Red and explain the different trails as well. The company is called FunTreks, they have a website that you can visit and look into all sorts of trails and they rate them online just like the book. I prefer having a hard copy as opposed to just having my phone when i am out on the trails but the website would be a great place to start looking. My book is for South of I-70 but i believe they make a book for north of I-70 and some for other states as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You should wait a week or so to hit the Elk Festival in Estes Park. Good times.


I have an aunt that lives in Estes and we have been up there for that, really cool!!!

I am heading out to Colorado the week before that, Sept 14th-18th, it will be my first time off-roading in Colorado. We will be staying in the Montrose area and will be wheeling in the Ouray area. I got a book called Guide to Colorago Backroads & 4-wheel-drive Trails. They rate a bunch of trails as Green, Blue or Red and explain the different trails as well. The company is called FunTreks, they have a website that you can visit and look into all sorts of trails and they rate them online just like the book. I prefer having a hard copy as opposed to just having my phone when i am out on the trails but the website would be a great place to start looking. My book is for South of I-70 but i believe they make a book for north of I-70 and some for other states as well.
Funtreks is a great resource I have been checking them out trying to figure a few things out especially since her Jeep really isn't what I would call trail ready.
 

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From the discriptions they provide I would think a stock JLU would be fine on green trails, and some blue depending on the driver and their comfort level. Without experience and going out without a group I wouldn't push must past green if you arent super confident. Hopefully someone who lives out there or who has wheeled out there could provide some more insite on specific trails to look into.
 

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The Funtreks books are great. They have two books on Colorado, one covers pretty much south of I-70 and the other covers north of I-70. I highly recommend these books.
The ratings in the Funtreks books are pretty conservative. A stock Jeep should have no troubles on any Green or Blue trails. And it should be able to do more than a few of the Red trails. Read the descriptions, it should give you an idea of whether or not you want to try that trail.
The Ouray area is great. Other areas include the ski areas off I-70 (Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge), Buena Vista, and the front range area. I have not done much of the trails north of I-70.
Of note, currently Colorado is having serious issues with wildfires. Right now I believe I-70 is closed both directions in the Glenwood Canyon area. There is also a massive fire just north of Grand Junction. Hopefully things will be under control soon.
 

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Head down to the 4 Corners area. A lot of the 70 corridor is on fire now, so not sure what that will do to trail closures. It isn't near Estes Park though....
 

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Go to Ouray, I go there a few times every year. Just got back a week ago and going back in September.Take Corkscrew to California (see Hurricane pass), then past the Bagley mine to Animas Forks,
Easy trail, exceptional views. Brooklyn is easy as is the Ophir (550 to Ophir > visit Telluride. You can take Imogene back. (slightly more difficult), but beautiful. If you want to really have fun on the trails, rent a Rubicon in Ouray, about $190/day.
 

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I just got back from doing a number of trails around Ouray and passed stock JK/JL, 4Runners, Tacos (and even a Range Rover Sport Up top of Ophir) left and right. I would say that Imogene, Black Bear (steps might be a slight challenge), Last dollar, Red Mountain and Ophir are all fine in a stock JK/JL. I used lockers twice and honestly didn’t really need to do so but once was a little scared of the sloppy shale on a spur off of Imogene and once thought a rock waterfall would be way harder than it was (and there was a bypass anyway). I would not recommend going with true street tires but if you have some amount of off road tread you’d be good IMO. Always better to go with someone but they are all also heavily trafficked so you’d likely see someone pretty fast... as did the occupants of this rental Jeep on street radials on Red Mountain...
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. In this case I was the passer by and we had them out in no time. All of these, though, are no nonsense, you need to pay attention at all times. Sub to San Juan mountain trail group on FB to get real time updates, and also to see what happens when either attention wanders or something is misjudged...
 

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I think the most underrated easy trail is Ophir Pass. Trees, rocks, more rock, skree, stunning views, nearly 12k'. Plus if you go from the SR 550 side, you wind up in Telluride which requires you to go to Brown Dog Pizza. Delicious. In Estes Park you can go to Rocky Mountain SP and take the 12 mile dirt road to the top of the pass and then loop back down on the black top road back to Estes Park. You may need reservations as they are limiting camping and visitors.

RMNP Old Fall River Road - Old Fall River Road - Rocky Mountain National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

Ophir - Ophir Pass - Colorado Offroad Trail

My first trip on Ophir
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So we ended up booking a place in Winter Park area we wanted to try and avoid a full days drive to our location, we will be out there Sept. 21-24. We have been using Offroad Trails in Colorado & FunTreks | Offroading Trails | 4 Wheeling to find some easier trails to run in the area. I have been having the wife look at a few that she would feel comfortable driving to pick some out. Looks to be quite a few nice trails in the area. Will update more once I have a better idea of which ones we are going to head out on.

I think we will definitely hit Rollins Pass West and trying to figure out a couple more.

Still haven't decided if we will take the Raptor or the Jeep.
 

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Rollins pass west is a fun drive. I have a pic of my '91 Tacoma going through the eye of the needle before the road was blocked with a gate. You used to be able to drive all the way from Winter Park to Rollinsville, but alas, no more. That was almost 30 years ago. The road might have changed since then, so always use your best judgement.

Good Luck, L.M.
 

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Dang man, I am missing you by a week. I am coming from VA to go out to Denver/ Moab for a week starting on the 24th.
 
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