Whether you are leading your own excursion or on a guided tour, there is nothing quite like experiencing the alpine meadows and rugged ridges surrounding Aspen from the seat of a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
- In the wild lands surrounding Aspen, there are nearly as many miles of trails for OHVs as there are for hiking and biking (many trails allow all three)!
- Aspen Summer Road on Aspen Mountain grants access to Richmond Ridge Road and Midnight Mine Road.
- Taylor Pass, a spectacularly rugged traverse, recommended for experienced riders, is a popular 4WD route to Crested Butte.
- As always with adventures in the woods, be prepared for emergencies and extreme changes in weather.
The greater-Aspen area, reknowned for approximately 2000 miles of maintained hiking and biking trails, also offers 1700 miles of fire, logging and OHV access roads that provide opportunity for fun with a 4WD vehicle. Be sure to travel on marked trails that are OK to ride or drive on. For every 2 miles of public trails there is one mile of "bandit" or "outlaw" trail that has been illegally created. Know which is which and obey signage. While the Forest Service has been working for years to integrate, rehabilitate and mark these roads, it is a driver's responsibilty to know which roads are legally accessible for public recreation. White River National Forest Ranger District office in Aspen [phone (970) 925-3445] can provide useful, necessary information about weather and road conditions. Also, many private businesses provide tours and rentals for visitors interested in off-road travel. So plan your own trip or let a professional do it for you. Either way, do not overlook the opportunity to see the area's breath-taking wilderness lands off-road and off-your-feet!
Where To Go
- Kobey Park via Lenado: Kobey Park, an historic logging area, offers access to spectacular views of Elk and Williams Mountains. Forest Service Road #508 is a popular, fairly well-maintained road that takes you into the Kobey Park area (just be sure not to venture onto one of the many spur roads along the way). From Aspen: Head west on I-82 to the right-hand turn-off for Woody Creek. Follow signs left to Woody Creek Tavern. Pass the tavern, then make sharp right onto Road #18. The road turns from pavement to gravel. Follow approximately 8 miles to the town of Lenado.
- Aspen Mountain: Aspen Ski Resort offers ATV/OHV access to the front-side of Aspen Mountain via Aspen Summer Road. Both Richmond Ridge Road and Midnight Mine Road intersect Aspen Summer Road. Contact the resort at (970) 925-1220 or 923-8715 for more information.
- Express Creek Road to Taylor Pass and Crested Butte: According to White River National Forest, the Taylor Pass route to Crested Butte is quite popular with 4WD enthusiasts. From Aspen, head west on I-82 taking Castle Creek Road at the rotary. Drive 11 miles and look for Express Creek Road sign. From here, it about 5 miles to Taylor Pass, a rugged, steep traverse. Your descent will have you following Dirt Creek Trail along Taylor Creek. Either Italian or Cement Creek Road will bring you to the town of Crested Butte.
Rentals & Fees
For information on rental and guide services, there's a host of reputable outdoor outfitters in the town of Aspen who can offer expertise and services. For those interested in a basic introduction to off-road riding or those out-of-town experts who need the best equipment, explore the options local companies can provide for an adventure on the trails of the picturesque ridges and valleys surrounding Aspen.
Hire a Guide
Unequivocally, the best way to travel the trails is with the local-knowledge and expertise of a private guide. Contact area outfitters to get the best rates and services.