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East Coaster visiting Colorado Mid-August (9th-21st), is this a good time? (long drive)

Discussion in 'Colorado' started by YOTA 4X4, Feb 4, 2018.

  1. Feb 4, 2018 at 11:54 PM
    #1
    YOTA 4X4

    YOTA 4X4 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Greetings Colorado Tacoma Lovers,

    I just put in my vacation time for this summer and I selected Aug 9th through August 21st to take off and go on a Western Adventure. I'd *like* to drive from NY (Syracuse Area) to Telluride and surrounding areas, I'm figuring 3.5 days travel each way to be safe that would give me a week to explore this area of Colorado.

    I do have a few questions....

    1st: is this a good time of year to visit? I'm looking to maximize my adventure potential and see as much as I can. That being said I'd rather not be stuck in the snow, or get rained on more than I have too? I know Colorado isn't exactly upstate NY (you guys get sunshine) but I also realize that due to elevation there's always the potential for snow still on the ground.

    2nd: A list of recommended trails? I am a relative noob to ANY western off-roading, the stuff we have on the east coast isn't at all narrow skinny trails with 500 foot drop offs, I'm not honestly looking to push the limits, just get out into the back country and explore and soak up the western air. Also I'd prefer to camp up in the back country for as long as possible so please keep that in mind.

    3rd: Best vehicle mods before I go? I'm VERY new to the Tacoma family, but I just purchased a 2017 DCSB OR with an Auto transmission, I'm looking to set it up for adventure travel however Funds may not allow a lift, tires, wheels, and a winch BEFORE I go, of course excitement might get the better part of me and I might have to anyway. I plan on getting a rear cover of sorts, a RTT, some better lighting, an electrical upgrade and likely a fridge. Is there anything else I should absolutely put on the list before I go? Armor? Sliders? Winch? Lift w/o tires? Lift w/ tires? Spare fuel? Air? Again not looking to conquer all the trails just see as much of the relatively simple stuff as I can.

    4th: And finally, I'm likely going to do this SOLO, my wife just doesn't get the time off that I do... and I don't really have any other overlanding type friends that can take that kind of time off either, so if anyone else from the North East would like to join in on this perhaps we can make a go of it, if not I'm sure there will be plenty of people on the trials to link up as I go.

    Thanks for reading.

    -Yota
     
    Blandino likes this.
  2. Feb 5, 2018 at 1:02 AM
    #2
    YOTA 4X4

    YOTA 4X4 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    After browsing some other CO trail posts I came across TrailsOffRoad.com super cool website with a lot of good info, In fact now I think I'm going to swing through the North Eastern part also/ first and explore a whole bunch of cool stuff up there. Still love to have advice though.

    -Yota
     
  3. Feb 5, 2018 at 1:52 AM
    #3
    Blandino

    Blandino Well-Known Member

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    I've been living in Colorado Springs for about nine months now. The end of August is a really nice nice time to visit, as well as most of September. The aspens are turning around this time and you can select a trip based on elevation if you want to see all the fall colors. If you enjoy back country and solitude, I'd suggest steering clear of of anything you can find on the internet and just exploring jeep trails. One place that has some incredible views and I've never seen more than one or two people is the North Rim area of Black Canyon. You can get a permit and hike it as well. It takes a bit of driving to get there, but there are tons of detours and trails to get lost on. Lots of mom & pop type restaurants along the way to try as well.

    Rampart Range would be a good starting point as well if you end up between Denver/Co Springs. There are a lot of nice little jeep trails and scenic areas that are great to drive. That's where I first started exploring Colorado, and it's not bad. I go out there all the time for rappelling/climbing still. Can start south and take it all the way up towards Denver and get on CO 67, then take trails/backroads west to Keystone/Breckenridge resort area for the incredible mountain views, then jeep trail up Mt Elbert (highest point in CO) and head over to Aspen. Mt Elbert only has one real rock crawl section, but a lot of scenic views on the way up. Between Aspen & Grand Junction there is way too much to explore everything.

    As far as mods, when I moved here I had 33's, Bilstein 3" lift, full skid, front/rear locked, warn 9.5xps, high clearance front/rear bumper and everything went fine except for the most part. If you're trying to keep your truck nice, I'd just get a good skid plate & sliders. With 33's I didn't have many issues except for some really gnarly stuff, which you probably shouldn't be doing alone anyways. You'll probably put some dents in your bumpers, and if you still have that silly trailer light connector that'll disappear. But that's just a good reason to get high clearance plate bumpers. The only mandatory thing I'd say is a quality E rated tire. I punctured so many side walls until I switched to these 35" Nitto Trail Grapplers it's not even funny. Usually just drove back with 4 or 5 plugs in it rather than changing on the trail. Before I locked my truck and mounted an ARB, I'd just carry a $10 walmart compressor with me and it always got the job done. It was a bit melted and half the parts rattled when I threw it out, but she never let me down.

    I'd be down to do some sections with you if you'd still like some company when you get here. I recommend getting the books I linked below and giving it a look. I always take them with me so I can hit any decent trails in whatever area I happen to be in.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1934838047/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    https://www.amazon.com/Northern-Col...rd_wg=fCDZS&psc=1&refRID=Z8CMRKQ1RD6772FV1DER
     
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  4. Feb 5, 2018 at 2:30 AM
    #4
    YOTA 4X4

    YOTA 4X4 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Great INFO, those books look fantastic, just what I need. I'm thinking about bringing a mounted IPAD for offroad/ gps maps anyway so down loading these to my IPAD seems like a no brainer. Definitely not looking to break my truck just yet. Suggestions on a lift kit/ tires/ wheels that won't break the bank? I'll be honest my quick math for a Lift (Icon Stage 3), Wheels, Tires, Tonneau, RTT, sliders, and the other "needed" gear has me over 12K alone.... Kinda steep to drop on a truck with 700 miles. But we will see.

    Again THANK YOU great INFO.

    -Yota
     
  5. Feb 5, 2018 at 2:43 AM
    #5
    Blandino

    Blandino Well-Known Member

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    I have Bilstein 5100 coilovers & Camburg UCA's sitting in my garage right now. If either will fit I'll sell each for $100 + shipping. Dunno anything about 2017's, but I think most are advertised for 2005-2015. Not sure if you can use spacers or any adapters to modify them.

    Have five SCS Stealth 6's with 285/75/16 Duratrac's that only have like 2k miles on them as well. I'd let them go for cheap if you wanted to pick them up when you come through. Could always swap them and try them out on your trip to see if they work out. If not can throw your stock setup back on when ya head home. Let me see if I can find a pic.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
  6. Feb 5, 2018 at 2:52 AM
    #6
    Blandino

    Blandino Well-Known Member

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    ChadsPride likes this.
  7. Feb 5, 2018 at 7:00 AM
    #7
    YamaDirtrider

    YamaDirtrider 1 Down, 5 Up

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    To keep costs down look into bilstine 5100’s all the way around, there get you a good ride and lift a little to help. Later on you can dedicate more funds and get adjustable coilovers. Sliders and skids would be a must as you get on harder trails. Honestly skip the wheels, but a get a good tire, and sell the takeoffs.
     
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  8. Feb 5, 2018 at 7:16 AM
    #8
    CO MTN Steve

    CO MTN Steve Well-Known Member

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    Lifted, Armored, needs more lights.
    Probably the most well known 4x4 trails in Colorado are in the SW part of State: Alpine Loop and Ouray/ Telluride/ Silverton stuff. Tons of stuff online on those locations, keep in mind this is ~6 hours from Denver Area. Although it is always crowed with Texans in summer so there is that too.

    So best to choose a destination and explore what you can.
     
  9. Feb 7, 2018 at 8:40 PM
    #9
    eurowner

    eurowner Duke Sky

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    You can do a lot with the truck stock, it is impressive.

    Check out Hayden Pass out of Freemont County.
     
  10. Feb 7, 2018 at 9:57 PM
    #10
    YOTA 4X4

    YOTA 4X4 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Awesome!! eurowner, that trail looks amazing, and if I'm on the right one it's over 90 Miles that is exactly what I'm looking for. I'm looking for long moderate trails that I honestly won't see any vehicle damage from, but that will get me well away from civilization. Thanks for the tip I'm going to add that one to my list. I'm also thinking I'm going to extend my trip by one day on either side to help facilitate such a long trip, so potentially i'll have 14 days off, 3 of which i'll be driving out west, 3 back home which will give me 8 days in Colorado to explore. Still REALLY hoping the wife can find the time off, I'd really like it if she could fall in love with the west like I am.

    -Yota
     
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  11. Feb 7, 2018 at 10:23 PM
    #11
    Blandino

    Blandino Well-Known Member

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    If you plan on taking CO-115 off US 25 to get down to Hayden Pass, you'll be driving right past me. Perfect time to get those wheels, lol.
     
  12. Feb 7, 2018 at 11:07 PM
    #12
    YOTA 4X4

    YOTA 4X4 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Actually not a terrible Idea if we can set something up ahead of time.
     
  13. Feb 8, 2018 at 9:11 AM
    #13
    eurowner

    eurowner Duke Sky

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    @YOTA 4X4 I live just west of Hayden Pass. There is a bunch to do on the south side of the pass; Gator farm, Hooper Pool, and the wicked awesome Great Sand Dunes!

     
  14. Feb 8, 2018 at 9:11 AM
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    eurowner

    eurowner Duke Sky

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  15. Feb 8, 2018 at 2:41 PM
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    eurowner

    eurowner Duke Sky

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  16. Feb 11, 2018 at 5:49 PM
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    Cokid

    Cokid Well-Known Member

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    I live in the area you are talking about. Great trails . Black bear pass ,imogene pass, engineer pass, alpine loop. The town of Ouray is right in the middle. And you don't need any special mods to enjoy these trails . But bear in mind although black bear pass is not that technical it is not for the faint of heart .August is great time.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  17. Mar 19, 2018 at 10:53 AM
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    CODOTUS

    CODOTUS I know how to get places

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    1: Yes - that is actually probably one of the best times you could visit as all of the roads are going to be open or should be unless we get some crazy snow between now and this summer that leaves the snowpack melting well into August. This is highly unlikely with the amount of snow we get these days.

    2: If you are looking at visiting the San Juans (Telluride, Ouray, Silverton, Lake City - which I highly recommend) start looking into the "Alpine Loop" and passes like Imogene, Ophir, Engineer, Black Bear, Cinnamon, etc. You can spend your whole trip in that area exploring and it will be well worth it. Lots of camping in this area. You can also look at Last Dollar Road and Alto Lakes for camping.

    Rampant Range Road (Front range south of Denver) was mentioned earlier. I don't recommend this for a trip like you are talking. Its crowded with ATV/Dirt Bikers/City People and really doesn't give you the Rocky Mountain experience. I would head straight for the San Juans with the timeline you stated. If you would like to most scenic route from Denver to the San Juans shoot me a DM and I will walk you through it. Anywhere in the front range is going to be over crowded that time of the year.

    3: For reference - I've done all the trails mentioned above and a lot of the trails in the country with a 2014 stock DC OR Tacoma. I would focus on some decent recovery gear and camping gear that will make your trip more enjoyable. A good set of tires, a tire plug kit, lots of water, etc. Unfortunately, especially that time of year, you wont get many places that if you get in a bind somebody wont be along to help you out. If you can swing it some armor would be good for a couple of the trails in the Alpine Loop. I'd do sliders, under armor, and rear bumper. BUT if you just pay attention and are careful you will be fine. There are some very deceiving drop offs on some of the routes through the San Juans that you could bang up your under carriage and/or rear bumper.

    4: Hit me up when the time gets closer. I work for myself and can generally go out and play as wanted. Trading in my truck for a 18' OR DC Taco today and will be picking up a new BMW ADV bike before summer I might want to take out there and play around with. I also have a trip planned to the San Juans in June and I can give you a report on snow pack levels and where it is at.

    Lastly - feel free to hit me up with any questions about CO and the trails anywhere. I've been just about everywhere in this state and try to hit every road I can. You are going to have a blast!!!
     
  18. Mar 22, 2018 at 12:43 PM
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    MedlinAround

    MedlinAround Failure is the result of letting setbacks stop you

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    I'll be out there in September myself! Doing the same thing you are.
     
  19. Mar 22, 2018 at 1:34 PM
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    MedlinAround

    MedlinAround Failure is the result of letting setbacks stop you

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    I've been looking at maybe hitting his road (Grizzly Gultch) to see Handies Peak. Looks like a great scenic view. Worth taking if you're from the East Coast and working your way West to AZ?

    Coordinatesto trailhead
    37°56'13.3"N 107°27'39.3"W
    37.937028, -107.460929
     
  20. Oct 25, 2018 at 7:22 AM
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    yorkshiredoughboy

    yorkshiredoughboy Well-Known Member

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    Taking a similar trip next year on my way to New Mexico, how'd your trip go?
     

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