Is there any better place in the USA to ride than Colorado?

20 replies to this topic
  • Bryan

Posted May 22, 2000 - 09:19 PM


Yesterday (Sunday) I went for a ride by myself. Everyone I normally ride with had plans for the weekend. But that's OK, I wanted to find an area in Rampart I enjoyed a couple of years ago and haven't been able to find since. One thing I've discovered about riding by myself. Just like on a mountain, I DON'T STOP. I basically rode hard for 4 hours without stopping. Except for frequent map stops (1 or 2 minutes max) and a 15-minute brake for food and orientation (I was a little lost). Man! I'm beat!

Anyway, as I was driving home from Rampart with a stupid grin on my face, three quarters of which was from the elation of my ride, the other one quarter was actually a grimace since I was so tired, I had this thought:

Is there any better place in the USA to ride than Colorado?

Granted, Colorado riding in the winter isn't that great. You can do some MX tracks or travel to Grand Junction in the winter but it's chilly. Other states have good riding all year long. I also realize that there are some awesome riding spots in the US.

But what state has more to offer than Colorado? Plus, Colorado hasn't restricted motorcycles as much as other states (yet). You can easily plate a bike and ride anywhere. You can even get a 2 stroke plated easily.

Here is just a sample of what you can ride in Colorado:

1) Rampart Range/ Woodland Park - OHV single track and 4wd roads. Zillions of miles of trails developed by the forest service for OHV's. 7000 feet to 9500 feet. This area has everything. High speed 4wd trails with big-ass water bars. Yesterday I found a place with water bars 5 or 6 feet high! NO KIDDING! It was like being on a motocross track. Single track galore. Some of the trails are like doing slalom on skis. Right and Left and Right banked turns, 2nd gear, for about as long as you can stand it. It's a total scream! It would probably take a week of full day riding to ride every single track trail in this area. If this was the only place left on earth to ride, I could deal with it.

2) Grand Junction - OHV trails and BLM land. Some of the single track we have ridden is totally buff and skirts canyon rims. Exposure? Yes, but it’s awesome. You can also ride in the bookcliffs area. Only locals know how much riding you can do back there. It goes all the way to Utah. In that area you can find ghost towns and even wild horses.

3) Crested Butte - Is there a better place to trail ride than Crested Butte? It is known to mountain bikers all over the world as the premo #1 riding area. But many and most of the trails were actually developed by motorcycles! We are talking tight, slow, muddy, rooty, nasty, steep, NARROW and more river, not stream but RIVER, crossings than you could ever imagine. Without a good map here, you are screwed. Your bike better be running good too. If you brake down, you might be 40 miles from help in some pretty harsh terrain. The views are un-describable. Better go lean on your jetting. Extra gas is nice too. Oh and by the way, it WILL rain in the afternoon and you WILL get drenched. But you will already be wet from the river crossings anyway. Crested Butte is where I discovered WR400's don't float in rivers. They sink QUICK!

4) Salida – An unknown riding spot for mountain bikers and motorcycles. The Rainbow trail (I haven't done it yet on the motorcycle) is a 120 miles trail that gets pretty remote. Yes, 120 miles of premo single track. I'll bet you don't see too many people on this trail. I don't even know if there is a place half way to get gas.

5) Riding near Denver - within 1 hours drive (or ride on the dual sport bike) we have some amazing 4wd roads. I could take you on a ride that you would swear was right out of The Sound of Music. There are so many 4wd roads from the mining days that many aren't even mapped. Rocky, steep hills aren't uncommon and the views are breathtaking. Go a little further out of Denver and you can take a 4wd road up to 14000 feet (Mt. Bross).

6) Ouray/Telluride - South West Colorado has the most beautiful scenery in the state. 4wd roads galore. Some go to 13,200 feet. This is the best place anywhere for a dual sport bike. You can ride high mountain passes during the day and stay in a different town every night. Did I mention high altitude and river crossings seem to go hand in hand? Be prepared to get wet. I've been to the top of Imogine pass in my 4wd (and mountain bike) and I still say the top of Imogine is the most beautiful place I've ever seen. The San Juan mountains are the most rugged mountain range in Colorado and from the top of Imogine, you can see the world.

7) Steamboat - Single track, single track, single track. OHV trails have been cut near Steamboat Lake for your riding pleasure. The locals know all the good stuff though and it isn't on the map. If you aren't careful, you could get lost in Wyoming and no one would never find your body.

8) Buena Vista area - This area, known as the Collegiate peaks area, has a very high concentration of 4wd roads that used to be mining roads. It also has the highest concentration of 14000 feet peaks in the state. You could ride different 4wd trails here for days. From here you can also access the nastiest, rockiest trail I've been on: The Timberline Trail. 1st gear riding for hours and hours. Jake hated that trail on his XR600.

9) Taylor Park reservoir - Not too far from Crested Butte. Known to be a premo motorcycle area. I've not yet ridden here. Too many trails, not enough time.

These areas only scratch the surface of our Colorado riding. For every area I’ve described there are two or three more that we don’t know about. Some of the areas in Colorado are very remote and no one even goes there to explore. But mining roads litter the state and are just waiting to be explored.

How remote? About once a year a private airplane crashes in some remote Colorado area and it can take years before the plane is found. Some of these areas are where we ride!

The GPS I bought is turning out to be a good investment for me. I’m directionally impaired (get disoriented easily) so it’s nice to be able to pull that sucker out and determine exactly on a map where the hell I am.

I know other states have great riding. But as far as diversity, volume and scenery, is there a better place than here?

I can't make this claim world wide though. I'll bet Fernando in Chili or Alexandre in Brazil can put my remote riding stories to shame.


[This message has been edited by Bryan (edited 05-22-2000).]

  • Guest_Guest_*

Posted May 22, 2000 - 10:32 AM


What are 'water bars'? Is 5 or 6 feet a lot for a water bar?

You make your state sound very nice for offroad use. Are you on the tourism board?


  • Bryan

Posted May 22, 2000 - 10:56 AM


You are right Roy. It does sound like I'm promoting this state. I just want some TTalkers to come ride with us Colorado boys sometime so I'm trying to pump it up.

On many trails and 4wd roads here in Colorado, they create a big pile of dirt in the middle of the trail to divert water around the trail thereby reducing erosion. Sometimes they also use logs, rubber strips, or dig ditches. If they don't put some kind of water bar across the trail, when it rains the water runs straight down the trail and creates a big ugly trench and ruins the trail. Usually they only make a 1 or two foot 'hump'. But, for some reason on this particular 4wd road, the water bars are huge! More fun for me!


  • Bill

Posted May 22, 2000 - 12:08 PM


Sounds great. I'm not very skilled on trails but would be willing to turn the loud handle with you guys.

Think you might be able to set a time for next spring so I can work on a "kitchen pass" and logistics on getting there from North Carolina.

I bet if we work it just right I can get Kevie to share the ride out with me.


  • Dougie

Posted May 22, 2000 - 12:48 PM


No argument here. I've been all over this state and there is nothing better than mountain riding. All I want is for the snows to melt so I can get above 10,000 feet.

I'd have to say Crested Butte is my favorite place to go. Long weekends are a must there. The ride into Marble is a blast, Devil's Punchbowl lives up to it's name. Jake and Dave took Me and Mike from CB to Aspen one time. We had lunch, gassed up and returned. 150 miles round trip. Top five rides of all time for me.

Breckenridge is my second favorite place. It's a days trip from Denver. Again ride all morning, lunch in Breck, ride all afternoon and try to stay awake on the way home. This place has everything. And I mean everything.

Buena Visa would come in a close third. You can ride all the way into Crestted Butte from here if you wanted to. Right through Taylor Resevoir. The three passes, Hancock, Tomichi and Tin Cup will more than challenge any rider. Not to mention the single track if you desire. Me and Mike found a trail that took us up to cabin sitting in a 14,000 bowl. I actually experienced Vertigo on this ride. You can day trip this but plan on leaving at 6am and getting home at 10pm.

Ouray/Telluride/Lake City is always a must every couple of years. Not all that challenging but if you like to ride on top of mountains, this is the place. You can access Cinnamon, Engineer, Black Bear, and Imogene. Spectacular views with easy, moderate and some difficult riding. Stay in either LC or Ouray and ride into Telluride for lunch and come back.

You can never go wrong with Rampart. 45 mins out of Denver. Fast fun woods riding. easy, moderate, difficult and hellish. A great place to go until you can get higher.

I can give you incredable descriptions of each place but it would take forever to do so. You will just have to take our words for it. You won't find a wider variety anywhere. You won't find better views anywhere.

The only sad part is that the mountain riding only lasts from late July through early Oct. And with the possibility of the land protection plan passing, all of what I talked about above will be closed to us. I will be very sad then. But until that happens, and lets pray that it doesn't, I will ride in what I believe is heaven.

Dougie, '99 WR400
Mods: YZ timing, Race Tech Suspension, FMF PC IV, FMF Hi FLo Moto, YZ seat, IMS 3.3 tank, One Industries Graphics, Renthal bars, 14/52 gearing.

  • Mitch_from_Oz

Posted May 22, 2000 - 02:02 PM


Hey Guys,

I need to get to Colorado. I need to get there and I need to figure out hoe to get a bike there and a group of friends....

I am going to start working on it. Getting a few of my friends from Cal together. We could take a week off and drive to Colorado with the bikes in the back of the trucks.

I am there boys. Whether I get there this year or next, I will be there to leave some Aussie blood on the trails...


  • JamesD

Posted May 22, 2000 - 02:47 PM


May I add the Colorado 500? (which I may get an invite to for next year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) )

  • Ron_in_SoCal

Posted May 22, 2000 - 06:48 PM



I am there now (on vacation) and you would not believe the trails and scenery. Wow! Unlike California, your bike does not need to be registered! I went to register my WR yesterday and the guy told me “Why do you want to register your bike? The only place you need it is at the dunes.” I did it anyway and it cost $12 for two years. Wow, I like it here! Compared to California, this is a riders paradise. Bryan – I’ll have some cool pictures to add to your screensaver.

Maybe I should dual sport it while I’m here… (or just move) :)

  • Kenwood

Posted May 22, 2000 - 11:15 PM


Hey Bryan,
I lived in Colorado from '84 thru '97. Unfortunatly I didn't have a dirt bike then. I lived in Vail and did a lot of skiing, hiking and mountain biking. This past Feb I was back in Vail and of course the skiing was fantastic and the mountains more majestic than I even remembered. I've kept a home there in Eagle-vail and hope to get back there some day soon. My job with Marriott keeps me moving every few years to different resort areas. Now I'm in Kauai and am growing to love it as much as Colorado. The riding here is great. Blazing down sugar cane roads, slicing and dicing through all the endless trails that surround each field. Jungle riding, crossing streams, and puddles that can swallow your whole bike. Some of the single track here is brutal. You know, ride a little, fall a little, bleed a little. I'm getting better, I think? Now that I'm into riding dirt bikes, I would really like to explore Colorado. Your stories sounded great. Is there anywhere to pick up or rent a bike the next time I'm out maybe you could show me some of these great trails.

  • TW

Posted May 23, 2000 - 09:06 PM


Bryan, Dougie, thanks for the reports on different places you have ridden. I will be in Colorado from August 16th to the 23rd, starting out in the Divide area. If your free for a ride, drop me message....Tim

99 WR400

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  • Brian_in_Long_Beach

Posted May 23, 2000 - 12:16 PM


OK - sounds like the challenge has been issued by Tim for Aug 16 - 23 ( Wed thru Wed).

Anybody else willing to make the trek?


  • Bryan

Posted May 23, 2000 - 06:05 PM


Divide area? Isn't that west of Colorado Springs? If so, that's by Woodland park which is one of the awesome areas I described.

If you are here in August, not only is that a great spot for a day or two, but even more amazing areas are accessible then.

Are you coming just to ride or with family? If you are coming to ride I would suggest Crested Butte also. And maybe Salida. And Buena Vista, and... and... here I go again.

I'll try and get that weekend open. Woodland Park is close to Denver so I can do early after work rides there too.


  • TW

Posted May 23, 2000 - 06:26 PM


Bryan, it's a weeks worth of riding, no family along :). Wednesday thursday friday I'm on my own, that weekend there will be a mini spodefest in the area that's open to anybody that wants to join in. I've ridden Arizona, Texas and Kansas this year, and off to Black Hills SD end of June, can't wait for Colorado as the topper. I'm completely open for idea's.....Tim

99 WR400

[This message has been edited by TW (edited 05-23-2000).]

  • Vincent

Posted May 24, 2000 - 01:02 PM


Well Bryan, Im originally from the Northwest (Washington State). Good riding up there, beautiful, but very wet and muddy. Got transfered to New Mexico after living in Alaska 6 years. Anyways, after 9 years in the southwest now...I gotta say Im hooked. I too have been all over Colorado and Utah but mostly by Jeep. It is absolutely beautiful. New Mexico is really cool too. I ride the desert in the winter when the mountains are snowy. Then in the summer, 16 miles away I can go to the cool pines in the mountains. Not many places are like that and have good weather to boot. I am still looking forward to inviting myself up to go riding with you guys in Colorado and Moab sometime. Maybe we could make our own version of the Colorado 500 invitational huh??

  • TimBoom

Posted May 25, 2000 - 03:58 AM


So, say you had a very portable skillset (I'm a Web designer/developer) and a burning desire to move to Colorado to take advantage of the mountaineering, mountain biking, and street/dirt motorcycle riding... where would you go?
Carbondale? Boulder?



Tim Beynart
Baltimore, MD

  • Bryan

Posted May 25, 2000 - 05:12 AM


TimBoom, your guide to high tech jobs in Denver:

Boulder: Beautiful place, great place to live if your either rich or a poor hippie. Expensive for us in-between folks. Lots of high tech companies in town and near-by. Many people that work in or near Boulder live in surrounding towns like Lafayette. Much more affordable.

Carbondale: Not many good high tech jobs in the mountains. There are some, but they don't pay all that great because otherwise everyone would move there.

Denver: Biggest concentration of high tech jobs are in the tech center (South East) or downtown. Cost of living is getting higher but is still affordable compared to East Coast and California. If you want a high tech job in Denver, there are zillions to choose from. Tons of mountain bike trails ride on the edge of town. Motorcycle trails are close-by too.

Basically, if you want to move to the Denver/Boulder area and work in the high tech industry in any capacity, it's a done deal. You can pick and choose. The economy is that good here.


  • Team_Oatmeal_Pie

Posted May 26, 2000 - 07:47 AM


You are extremely lucky to live and ride in Colorado. I have dreamed about riding there. As a kid my folks would take us on summer vacation every year to boulder for a few days and then on to ouray for a week or so then on to utah. The parent used to live/went to school in boulder. So we would spend time, 4x4 around gold hill and stuff, then on to ouray for the real stuff. I have been all over the trails in this area in the good old cj5, yankee boy basin and imogene pass are some of the most beautiful areas in the world. Unfortunately a good thing gets more exposure and over the years we noticed more and more users, and more side trails around obstacles and trash in the area. The best though was a mtb trip we took in which we took advantage of the free inertia, being from michigan the altitude killed us. so we would 4x4 to the top of the passes and ride down on the bikes, leaving one person to drive the truck, insane. ANy ways I live in oregon and it has alot of riding opportunities from well maintained woods riding, roots rocks, water bars, mud, hills you name it its there, to high desert riding in central oregon, above 5000ft floor. TO huge dunes on the coast and central oregon. Lots of places. Ive found a great site on washington riding with good pics including some great high alt riding areas, check it out as its similiar to oregon,

  • imported_Scott_H

Posted May 26, 2000 - 08:44 PM



I rode Rampart for a week in August of '85. What a great place! At the time I had been living in Texas and I had never ridden in a better place. Is the old South Platte Hotel still standing? How about the Sprucewood bar & grill? I remember riding down a single track that dumped out on a large rock face. There was a white stripe painted on the slab of granite to mark the trail, which went steeply down the rock face for about 50 yards and back into the forest. There was a lot of plastic debris at the base of this rock and the foot of the trail and there was the wreckage of an old Hodaka there. Anyway, I’ll have to agree with you. CO has a lot to offer, and Rampart has always been my benchmark when comparing trails. I now live in the Mojave Desert, which also has a lot of great trails. However, a lot of them are closing and registering bikes here is getting tougher ever year. I had a deposit on a 2000 WR until I learned about the 3/C VIN issue! Anyway, I hope to get back there in the next year or two I think my 98 WR400 will be a lot more fun to ride there than the 82 YZ490 I had back then.


  • Kevin_in_New_Hampshire

Posted May 26, 2000 - 09:46 PM


Hey Bill and Bryan,
"My bags are packed, I'm ready to go. I'm standing here outside my door"...OK, so I would have to deviate from Peter, Paul and Mary's tune...but count me in to head off to CO. The last time I was there was a ski trip to Ajax. That was a long, long time ago back in '84. the trip would have to be at least one week there in CO. It is a trek from the east coast. I would still consider shipping my bike and either flying or even rail. I have never been on a train. Call me sheltered. I checked the price for a sleeper car for my family and I from Boston to Minnesota. I think it was almost double that of airfare!

99 WR, all YZ mods, de-octopused, OEM YZ tank and seat, jetting by Clark.

  • Guest_Guest_*

Posted May 27, 2000 - 07:39 PM


Great place to ride unless it snow on your ridding trip.Hi bryan


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