Best Places to Go Off-Road In Colorado
In recent years, more and more adventurists have opted to seek out new terrain by vehicle, exploring some of the many 4x4 trails that traverse their way through the rugged Colorado mountains. Colorado is home to world class off-road trails where travelers from all over the world come to experience big thrills, big views, and big fun. If you’ve had a calling to explore Colorado’s open landscapes on an off-road trip, be sure to visit these can't-miss mountain passes first.
With mountains as far as the eye can see, public land in every direction, and endless outdoor recreation to explore, adventure seekers can easily find something new and exciting to try in Colorado. Whether you choose to explore the state by foot, boat, bike, horseback, or vehicle — there are dozens of beautiful places you won’t want to miss.
Winding through the rugged San Juan Mountains of Colorado, Ophir Pass takes you from the historic mining town of Silverton over a scenic and steep route to Telluride. Enjoy the amazing high alpine views and mountainous terrain for over an hour on this pass. When you reach the Telluride area, there are dozens of hiking, biking, and off-roading trails in the area to choose from.
Once you’ve made it to Telluride from Silverton, you can return via Imogene Pass for a change of scenery on the way back. This formidable route is just over 17 miles, rising up to an elevation of nearly 13,200 feet. The pass ends in the small, mountain town of Ouray, where you and your crew can finish the day soaking in the town's famous mineral hot springs.
After spending time in Ouray, finish the trip back to Silverton by driving over the infamous Red Mountain Pass — a paved highway crossing through some of the nation's most rugged mountains.
Wagon Wheel Trail System
Located just outside of the small ranching town of Meeker, CO, the Wagon Wheel Trail System is a seldomly traveled web of trails that offers visitors the chance to explore a number of ghost towns and historic sites. Should a visitor feel the need for more exploration, the trail system is home to over 250 miles of old roads and trails, making it the perfect place to go and get lost in nature.
Mosquito Pass is a steep and formidable road that takes travelers from Leadville to nearby Alma. Drivers must face a number of obstacles, including ever changing weather, loose scree fields, and steep terrain but those who make it over this pass are rewarded with stunning views. At around 12 miles long, this is a great day trip for anyone with an adventurous spirit.
Mosquito Pass is the highest elevation pass in the state and is only moderately difficult. However, drivers should not take that statement lightly. This is a technical route that requires proper skill and a high clearance vehicle.
Alpine Loop Scenic Byway
One of the most famous trails in all of Colorado is the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway. This pass will treat you to stunning views of the wild and scenic San Juan Mountains. The route crosses over Black Bear and Engineer passes, two technical, but manageable 4x4 routes, offering enough room for just one car to pass at a time. This 63-mile route is a picturesque off-roading trail, offering once-in-a-lifetime views of high alpine, Colorado landscape.