Most drivers are quite content to stay on the pavement and well within the safe confines of civilization, but not you. You’re an adventurer who favors adventures that would make others shiver with fear and trepidation. Where you’re going, you don’t need roads, just four-wheel drive. Jeep dealers have long been the facilitators for off-roading adventures that take place on the most spectacular stages. This is the reason why we’re gathered here today. We’ve scoured the maps to bring you the trails in and around Colorado Springs that are too enticing to pass up. If you view off-roading as a lifestyle and not just a hobby, then by all means, keep reading. This is information for the truly daring, and those seeking the ultimate Colorado adventure.
Mount Baldy: Best for Beginners
If you’re still relatively new to the world of off-roading, want an easy trail that’s ideal for gaining some much-needed experience, and one that won’t take too long to traverse, Mount Baldy is one of the best sites for beginners. With a distance of just over six miles, the experience can be undertaken in as little as an hour. While the distance is short, many sights and locations, such as Red Buck Mine and the famous Red Rocks, are always great to visit and make new memories. If you’re looking to make the most out of your day, there are also a variety of hiking trails that you can explore on foot. It’s a great way to get up close and personal with nature while not spending the entire time inside your vehicle.
Alpine Loop: Going the Distance
If you’re someone who has a fair amount of off-roading experience and is looking for a trek that has a considerable amount of length and also has several scenic stops along the way, Alpine Loop is certainly one trail you’ll want to embark on. The Alpine Loop trail is close to 65 miles long, and is by all accounts an all-day activity, as it takes approximately seven hours to complete. If you consider yourself a history buff and want to get a glimpse into the colorful past of Colorado, numerous stops on the trail consist of ghost towns and old mining camps. The pass itself, while considerably long, allows you to experience some of the grandeur and natural beauty of Colorado that’s remained virtually untouched for centuries. While you’re on the trail, you’ll have access to certain sections of the Uncompahgre National Forest. Because of the length of the trail, we strongly recommend having a full tank of gas, plenty of provisions, and a detailed map or navigation system.
Saran Wrap: Short but Sharp
Do not confuse this trail with the kitchen implement that you use to keep food fresh for a couple of days. The Saran Wrap Trail can be found near Eagle Rock. It is not one of the longer off-road trails we’ll be discussing today, as its distance only measures out to just under eight miles. That said, it can be one of the most challenging endeavors, with a lot of sharp twists and turns, and its roadblocks and instructions are more than plentiful. The time you spend on the trail can last up to seven hours, so it’s definitely an all-day event. We also recommend that this trail be utilized by experienced off-roaders only, so use discretion before embarking.
Switzerland Trail: Excellent All Year Long
Because the winters in Colorado can be harsh and unforgiving, particularly if you’re thinking of heading toward the mountains, some trails tend to be closed off during this time of year. Some seasoned off-roaders have described the Switzerland Trail as one of the few exceptions that’s great any time of year. Remember that there are still closures in the event of heavy snowfall, but that’s to be expected in any mountainous area. The Switzerland Trail is an easy outing, and while it spans over 16 miles, the whole experience takes as little as three hours to complete. It’s an enriching experience that allows you to witness both history and nature up close and personal. Aside from the Sugarloaf Mountains and the scenic beauty of the forest, you’ll have the chance to travel along the same roads as many pioneers did when they traveled out West to find their riches during the gold rush. Because of its minimal difficulty, it’s the perfect family outing.
Wheeler Lake: For the Truly Daring
If you’ve been engaged in the world of off-roading for quite some time and feel like you can handle whatever rigors and challenges might come your way, then by all means, we invite you to attempt to navigate Wheeler Lake. Once again, we ask that you exercise discretion before going any further, as Wheeler Lake is considered by many to be one of the most difficult trails. You’ll be at high elevations that extend past 13,000 feet, and you’ll be battling twists and turns, as well as the mud and rocks that seem to be plentiful whenever the trail is open to the off-roading public. The challenges accompanying Wheeler Lake are certainly present, but the experience is one of the most unique you’ll ever come across. The jagged rock formations might present a varying degree of difficulty. Still, you’ll be able to gaze upon Magnolia Mill, a remnant from the past whose dilapidated structure is a passport into history.
Some Things to Remember Before Planning an Off-Road Trek
The trails and destinations we’ve discussed today are among some of the most exciting, and many are primed and ready for various skill levels. However, we feel we should review some essential items for you to consider before planning your trek into the wild frontier.
We mention this several times because it’s that important. You don’t have anything to prove to anyone, and if you feel like a trail might be too difficult for your current skill level, don’t challenge fate.
Pack Plenty of Provisions and Supplies
Some trails are longer than others. In fact, some are an all-day affair. Food, medical supplies, and other necessities are highly recommended.
Let Someone Know Where You’re Going
Many of the trails we’ve discussed today are far away from civilization. Even if you have a reliable GPS, there’s a chance you might get lost or have a breakdown. If you’re traveling by yourself, let someone know where you’ll be and how long you expect to be gone. This ensures that emergency services can be notified if necessary.
Inspect Your Vehicle Thoroughly
No matter what you might be driving, it’s always a good idea to take a look at your vehicle’s condition before leaving. Make sure you bring spare fluids and road safety equipment. If you’re going to be tackling a difficult trail, you might want to consider having it properly checked by a professional mechanic.
Off-Roading Near Colorado Springs
The most important aspect of any off-roading expedition is to be safe. Of course, you should always go out of your way to have a memorable time that’s also enjoyable and thrilling. The areas in and around Colorado Springs have many perfectly suited areas for an adventure, and they’re waiting for you.