4 Great Spots To Push Your New Jeep In Colorado
Nothing satisfies the adventurous spirit quite like conquering a rugged, rocky mountain pass in a quality off-road SUV – and when it comes to finding a quality off-roader, nothing can touch the power and performance of a new Jeep. Whether you opt for a more driver-centered model from a Jeep dealer in Colorado Springs like the 2016 Patriot or something a little more rugged, like the 2016 Renegade, you can ride with confidence that any member of the Jeep family can tackle even the toughest trails.
But as fun as it is to simply cruise your new Jeep down the highway with the style and capability of a well-built motoring machine, few experiences can compare to tackling some of the country’s biggest off-road challenges in your beloved Jeep – and if you’re in or around Colorado, you’ll find no shortage of impressive trails and mountains for you to get out and conquer right in your backyard. That’s because the Centennial State is home to some of the best paths to be found through the Rockies and along historic mining trails – offering some of the best places in the world to truly see what your Jeep can do.
If you’re a dedicated and experienced off-roader looking for some intense trails to take on in your new Jeep, here’s a look at some of Colorado’s best SUV trails – all of which are just waiting for you and your Jeep to come and explore.
Black Bear Pass
If there’s one pass that’s known far and wide as one of the most notoriously difficult Jeep paths in the West, it’s Black Bear Pass – a monstrous trail that descends over a set of infamous switchbacks while traveling from US Highway 550 between Ouray and Silverton all the way to Telluride. This renowned Jeep-only pass – made famous through songs and legends of the American West – winds through some of Colorado’s most well-known and hard-to-reach sites, including Bridal Veil Falls, which is the largest waterfall in Colorado. 12 miles long and taking about two hours to conquer on a good day, Black Bear Pass has inspired decades of dreamers to take on the downhill-only path in their beloved Jeep vehicles – including the annual Jeep Jamboree in the springtime, which offers the year’s only occasion for experienced Jeepers to collectively take on the trail in reverse – meaning uphill the entire way. And if you’re still unsure as to whether you have what it takes to traverse this storied trail, just take one look at the trailhead signpost: ” TELLURIDE ——> CITY OF GOLD 12 MILES – 2 HOURS YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE CRAZY TO DRIVE THIS ROAD – BUT IT HELPS. JEEPS ONLY.”
Also located near Ouray and just off of Highway 550 lies Corkscrew Gulch, a spectacular and historic Jeep trail that follows one of Colorado’s old mining routes along the Red Mountains. Situated between Red Mountains #1 and #2, the Corkscrew Gulch trail runs unpaved up a steep ascent and around several scenic switchbacks and through groves of aspen for over four-and-a-half miles, offering riders everything form breathtaking views of the Red Mountains and valleys to a look at some of the preserved mining towns along the way, including remnants of the historic Guston townsite and parts of a mining railroad. Winding up the “corkscrew”-like terrain, drivers will eventually arrive at the 12,400-foot summit for spectacular views of mountain ranges, as well as easy connections to other famous paths like the Hurricane Pass. Just remember to plan accordingly and outfit yourself with the right gear – in wet weather, these steep ascents can be tricky, if not downright dangerous.
Grand Mesa Scenic and Historic Byway
While a name like “Grand Mesa” might evoke images of wide, flat strips of land, this trail actually encompasses a diverse range of geological and natural features that are sure to delight you and anyone lucky enough to be riding alongside. Stretching over 50 miles from Cedaredge to De Beque, this scenic trail features rides through dense forests and rocky ridges along Highway 65, eventually reaching over 10,000 feet at the summit of the scenic Grand Mesa formation for spectacular views over the valley and a sizable chunk of Grand Mesa National Forest. You’ll cruise past breathtaking trout lakes, historic towns and ski resorts, and eventually come up to the incredible De Beque Canyon with intensely-colored sandstone bluffs and a view that seems to stretch forever. Mostly paved along the way, the Grand Mesa Byway offers a less-intense route packed with incredible vistas along the way for easy enjoyment without the fear of getting stuck.
Stretching between the towns of Eagle and Gypsum, the Hardscrabble Pass offers a fun and challenging ride for any Jeeper looking to catch some of Colorado’s most sought-after vistas in one fell swoop. Passing over the scenic Wet Moutains – famous for their snowfall in the winter and their wide, expansive views in the summer – Hardscrabble brings riders as high as 9,085 feet and allows for breathtaking stops along the way. As you continue along the Hardscrabble you’ll pass through the beloved San Isabel National Forest, an expansive range with 19 peaks stretching over 14,000 feet (inaccessible but easily viewed from the trail) and some of the most beautiful wilderness areas in the West. This well-known path forms part of the Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway and comes complete with the sense of connection to our forefathers who tamed this same wilderness during the westward expansion.
Whether you’re a longtime, dedicated Jeeper looking to really push your beloved off-roader or want to head out on your first major challenge with your Jeep by your side, few places in the United States – and, indeed, in the world – offer more and better places to challenge yourself and your vehicle quite like Colorado. Stocked with hundreds of trails and thousands of miles of Jeep trails ready to take you through mountain passes, across wide valleys, and over some of the best terrain for seeing what your Jeep can do, the Centennial State features no shortage of natural wonders and Jeep paths for your best adventures. So get out there and enjoy your new Jeep – the wilderness is waiting for you.