Van-able Colorado trails

Boathik

Future van builder
We will be finally stretching our 2018 170 4x4’s legs this summer on a trip for Massachusetts to Colorado and beyond. I’m looking for some recommendations for trails in the region that would be fun but not too fun that we would destroy our rig.

Please share the resources that I could find these trails or your personal recommendations.

Thanks!
Josh
@Ofsaltandcedar


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ENMeyer

Member
Tons of forest service roads to explore. SW Colorado is my personal favorite. Durango/Cortez area is great for getting out away from it all. Moab isn't too far from Cortez. Great mountain biking, fishing, hiking, camping. Onefin lives in the prettiest town in the state (Telluride), and not far from there, you have Ouray, Silverton, Ridgway. Trails all over the place.

I once took a forest service road near Ridgway looking for a camp site, and cattle were blocking the road in front of me. The brand was RL on the cattle. Took me a minute to realize it was Ralph Lauren's herd as he has a ranch right nearby. Just go pick a road and get out there. Even in my 2WD, we have lots of access to remote places.
 

Boathik

Future van builder
What part of Colorado?
How far beyond?


Being this is the first western states trip for us, we don’t have much of an agenda developed yet. We are planning to be in the Basalt/Aspen area for an event but otherwise have most of July planned for the state. Beyond that possibly Yellowstone and the Tetons. We’ll be traveling with dogs so avoiding extreme heat is pointing us north.


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Onefin

Active member
You do that in a van?


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Even a 144” is too long for black bear pass.
Both the wheelbase and overall length would make it pretty much impossible in Your 170”

Black bear pass really isn’t technical at all, beyond one small section called the steps at the top.
It’s mostly driving Downhill on a narrow road with some very tight switchbacks and very serious consequences if something goes wrong.

It is nothing scary unless you have a fear of heights, narrow shelf roads, off-camber multi-point turns, or plummeting to your death.
 

Hosh

Navion 2018 24J
We will be finally stretching our 2018 170 4x4’s legs this summer on a trip for Massachusetts to Colorado and beyond. I’m looking for some recommendations for trails in the region that would be fun but not too fun that we would destroy our rig.

Please share the resources that I could find these trails or your personal recommendations.

Thanks!
Josh
@Ofsaltandcedar


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Wells books are well accepted among the 4wd crowd.

https://funtreks.com/product-category/guidebooks/

His rating system is not very granular and tends to over rate trail difficulty. If you stay on greens you should be alright.

Biggest issue with a van will be the break over and departure angles. Many of the trails near Ouray, CButte and Telluride are old mining roads. Today’s JK Jeeps are almost too wide in places since most trails evolved in the TJ/CJ era.

Us a spotter and don’t be afraid to turn around and keep the shiny side up!
 

Hosh

Navion 2018 24J
Assuming you’re new to off roading, the vehicle going uphill has the right of way. Common sense should prevail depending on circumstances.
 

NBB

Active member
I have done most of what's in the Wells books for Colorado, Green through Red, and I would only do Green in the Wells book, in a Sprinter, unless you don't mind an incredibly likely and expensive driveline repair or a possible a mega-expensive tow recovery. 4x4 roads in CO are no BS. Your capability in a Sprinter 4x4 is a relative joke. You'll find out quickly yourself. +1 - you get far down a Blue and find you can't turn that 170 around, it will definitely brighten your day, and everyone else's too unfortunate enough to be on the road with you.

See also https://traildamage.com/ - it's a superset of Wells with way more photos and GPS tracks. It used to be free and I used it all the time. I would pay the $12 in an instant if I were on my way out to a new area.
 

levinro

2016 Sprinter 144" 4x4
We will be finally stretching our 2018 170 4x4’s legs this summer on a trip for Massachusetts to Colorado and beyond. I’m looking for some recommendations for trails in the region that would be fun but not too fun that we would destroy our rig.

Please share the resources that I could find these trails or your personal recommendations.

Thanks!
Josh
@Ofsaltandcedar


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Depending on how far beyond Colorado you are looking to go and how long you are planning to be on the road, I'd recommend hitting up the Moki Dugway near Monument Valley, UT. I documented one of our trips out that way here: https://ridingroadsandtrails.com/biking-southwest/. You may find the website useful for other things to check out in the area as well.
 

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ENMeyer

Member
Levinro - great site and great pics. I travel to Cortez/Hovenweep area once a month for work. So many neat areas to explore. Phil's world, Sand Canyon (Canyon of the Ancients), etc. are such unique biking areas.
 

InspiredVan

New member
Ophir Pass... as long as your rig has Low range and good rubber it's totally doable in a 170. 1 corner up top may need a 1 or 2 pt turn but that's it...this was in our EB Ford E350 5 yrs ago...


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tegan_ca

Build Planning
Not really a trail but Owl creek pass is one of the better drives in the lower 48. Well maintained gravel road that passes right by the ranch mentioned a few posts up.

Have fun, and I'd recommend brushing up on 'oh ****' moments in your driveway with recovery gear before you head out.
 

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