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Off-Road Activities

Take an off-road jeep tour into remote areas you could only imagine.  Go with a guide or drive your own vehicle.  ATV's are available as well.

Off-Road Activities

Take an off-road jeep tour into remote areas you could only imagine.  Go with a guide or drive your own vehicle.  ATV's are available as well.

Off-Road Activities 02

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Activities: Off-Road Activities,
NEAR Southeast Colorado

From $343.00

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ACTIVITIES AND TOURS

Off Road Activities Along the San Juan Skyway

Some of the most beautiful scenery on the 'Skyway' can only be seen when you get into the backcountry.

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4WD Roads Along the San Juan Skyway

Located on the way from Ouray to Telluride and nestled in the San Juan Mountains, Imogene Pass is the second highest drivable pass in Colorado (13,114-ft.). Accessible by 4WD vehicles, the 16-mile Imogene Pass Road requires 100% concentration and a rugged off-road 4×4 with plenty of clearance and high sidewall tires. The speed limit is 15 mph. The road is rocky, steep and narrow in places and passing can be dangerous. The drive definitely is one of the most thrilling in the state but not for novice drivers. At Savage Basin, you’ll pass a ghost town, Tomboy Townsite, once one of the most active mining towns in Colorado. A great deal of mining debris is still scattered about. Most of this debris is on private property. Explore with great caution. Although the road is open from mid-May to Nov. 30, it usually is blocked by snow until early July. The weather can become cold and windy even in the middle of summer. Adverse weather conditions are common. Always check the weather forecast before starting the journey. Especially watch out for summer thunderstorms. Have an unforgettable trip!

In the late 1800’s, miners started digging for gold, silver, lead and other ore in the San Juan Mountains. They needed a way to get people and ore to nearby towns. The roads left by these long-abandoned mines are now off-road trails. Imogene Pass Road is one of them. Engineer Pass road is another. Part of a trail now known as the Alpine Loop, Engineer Pass road starts near Ouray on US 550 and goes almost 30 miles to Lake City. From Lake City it returns to Ouray via Cinnamon Pass through Animus Forks. Along the way there are multiple mine ruins to view and explore, some clearly marked and others not. Mile after mile provides amazing views of the San Juan mountains. Oh Point and the official summit have breath-taking panoramas of the mountains. The trail goes well above the timberline at just over 12,900’. To the north are the Uncompahgre, Coxcomb, Wetterhorn and Wildhorse mountain peaks.

While not as technically difficult as Imogene (or as nerve-wracking as Black Bear), Engineer Pass (12,800-ft.) definitely has its challenges, but not really for experienced 4-wheelers. One of Colorado's most scenic off-road drives, it’s mostly a first gear ride and not for driving in the dark. This trail combined with Cinnamon Pass constitutes the Alpine Loop. Cinnamon Pass Road (12,640-ft.), a moderately easy 4WD road (19.5 miles), is one of Colorado's most scenic off-road drives. Located within the San Juan National Forest, start from Lake City, travel south on Hwy 149, to County Road 30, Cinnamon Pass and Lake San Cristobal. It requires a high-clearance 4-wheel-drive vehicle. It’s usually open from late May through October depending on snow depths and damage from spring run-off. In summers, this popular trail can be very busy.

Most of the Engineer Pass route is easy, but there are still a few narrow, steep places on the west side of the pass that are tricky. Otto Mears, famous for construction of the Million Dollar Highway connecting Silverton to Ouray, also is credited with building the Engineer Pass road as one of his toll roads. Completed after 1877 this former toll road was a major route connecting Silverton, Animas Forks, Ouray and Lake City. Beginning four miles south of Ouray off Hwy 550, the first few miles are rugged, difficult and rocky. Novice 4-wheelers should proceed cautiously. Avalanches, heavy snowfalls (think blizzards) and landslides can occur anytime. With all of these cautions and caveats, the drive is definitely worth it, especially the summit and its 360-degree panoramic views of 14er peaks.

Located in San Juan County, Corkscrew Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 12,244-ft. Tucked within the Uncompahgre National Forest, 5-mile long Corkscrew Gulch Road runs from the Million Dollar Highway to County Road 10, cutting through the heart of old mining country. Once at the top of the pass, the views are fantastic. The drive offers an incredible bird’s eye view of Como Lake. The original route through Corkscrew Gulch was a rough trail built in 1882-1883 to provide access between Silverton and the towns and mines on Red Mountain. Jaw-dropping views show up around every corner. be sure to bring a camera and plenty of juice to keep it alive. The drive is especially beautiful in the fall when it reveals spectacular stands of aspen in the Ironton valley. Narrow and steep on some switchbacks, the road is suitable only for 4-wheel drive vehicles with high clearance. An easy drive when dry, if wet it becomes much more difficult due to slippery clay soil. Wide and graded most of the way, one section of narrow switchbacks at the top may be intimidating to novice drivers. Any wrong move could be a driver’s last. Driving at night, or in poor visibility, is not recommended.

Ophir Pass is a high mountain pass (11,789ft) in San Miguel County.!0 miles long, Ophir Pass Road to the summit actually is Forest Road #630. This road runs west-east from CO-145 Road via the mining town of Ophir towards US-550, the Million Dollar Highway north of Silverton. The drive offers marvellous alpine views of the upper Ophir Valley and neighbouring peaks. Accessible from June until November, it can be closed anytime when not cleared of snow. As a long loop, the road is often driven in combination with either the Black Bear Pass Road (very challenging!) or the Tomboy-Imogene Pass roads. Although the road is open to all motorized vehicles, it is recommended for high clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicles.

Originally constructed as a wagon road between the mines around Ophir and both Telluride and Silverton, the Ophir Pass Road has a reputation for being one the easiest high trails in the San Juans. Its summit of the pass, formed by Lookout Peak to the north and south, provides spectacular views. The valley to the west was formed by the Howard Fork of the San Miguel River. Past the valley are views of Lizard Head and also three fourteeners (Mount Wilson, Wilson Peak and El Diente). The drive down into the valley still has some very narrow and rocky spots.

Just a short side trip off Colorado 145 near Ophir goes to Alta. Formerly just a mining camp, the reason for the 4-wheeling visit is not the remainder of buildings but rather the beautiful views from Alta. The remains include boarding houses, a company store, mill and others. From Alta the jeep trail leads of Gold King Basin and the Alta Lakes. Here again are the remain of a crushing plant and mill. Continuing up the road to Gold King Basin and Alta Lakes, more mining remains are found around several ponds. Every visitor to Alta Lakes and the surrounding are agree that its absolutely beautiful. However, even though a high clearance 4x4 is required to reach this area, it still can get very crowded with visitors and campers.

Southwest of Ouray, Yankee Boy Basin Road is only 4.7 miles long but this 4x4 trail up to alpine Yankee Boy Basin (12,526-ft,) is extremely popular because of its stunning beauty, mining history, wildflowers, waterfalls, and the incredible Mount Sneffels. In late spring and early summer, the wild flowers turn into a riot of colours. Accessible from June until October, the trail is closed until the snow melts, usually in late June or early July. Portions of the trail can get a bit scary. Medium-to-high-clearance vehicles are required to reach the Basin and 4-wheel drive is recommended beyond the basin to Mt. Sneffels trailhead. The road is winding, in some places only wide enough for one vehicle. In many places the road is bordered by a drop of hundreds of feet unprotected by guardrails.

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