Taking an ATV or off-road vehicle deep into the wilderness can be an enlivening experience, and there's nowhere better than near Rocky Mountain National Park. As you get off the beaten path for some real outdoors fun, you'll discover that the Rocky Mountains hold miles of fascinating trails.
Although no ATVs are allowed within the confines of Rocky Mountain National Park, there are plenty of trails all around the park that you can ride to take in the scenery and the forested hills and valleys.
Estes Park, CO
Only one and a half hours outside of Denver, and right on the edge of the National Park is Estes Park, a virtual paradise for the off-road lover. The Roosevelt National Forest is minutes away and holds excitement for an ATV adventure. My favorite part of this area is that you can venture deep into the woods, away from the crowds.
Estes Park, Colorado has plenty of ATV rentals in case you don't have your own. And the kids can rent the smaller ATVs so they can drive their own. A simple place to start is Johnny Park Road. Part of this trail is great for beginners. Spend a wonderful 1.5 hours exploring side roads. Of course other parts are more difficult, and you may come upon some rock ledges to navigate. High-clearance four-wheel-drives can also make it on this trail.
The Pierson Park Road is for the intermediate rider. It runs parallel to Highway 7 from Estes Park. This scenic road takes you into some rough terrain, and gets fairly steep in places. It's eight miles of some thrilling riding.
Another intermediate challenge is Pole Hill, a short drive from Estes Park. Great views await you here with no big obstacles. You'll find a variety of terrain. There's limited parking at the start of the trail, so be sure to get there early.
If you like to stop occasionally and take in the incredible vistas, you'll love Storm Mountain. East of Galuchie Meadow, you'll find a network of roads through the forested landscape. With only one really rough spot, beginners will do well here.
Grand Lake, CO
Only 46 miles from Estes Park is another gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Lake, Colorado. You won't have any trouble finding ATV rentals here, as this is a most popular sport in this area. Take Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park through Rocky Mountain National Park. It's on the west side of the park.
The national forest lands surround you and provide plenty of opportunity to ride to your heart's content. Hundreds of miles of beauty and adventure! If you want to really make a day of it, sign up for a guided tour and learn to explore the right way.
North Supply Creek could end up on the top of your list, as it is on mine. They have separate trails just for the ATVs and dirt bikes, which makes it nice. You get about 11 miles of riding with different options as to skill and aptitude.
Want to take a relaxing drive with lake and mountain views? Try Stillwater Pass for the best ride with a well-graded trail for the most part. It climbs up and up – to over 10,600 feet.
Allenspark is on the southeastern edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. From Estes Park, you head south on Highway 7. There is easy access for all sorts of ATV trails here, and for any level of skill.
I highly recommend taking a ride through the aspens and pine tree forests outside of Allenspark. If you are a beginner, start with the Bunce School trail. This is a simple five-mile drive, including some sightseeing. You can stop and check out the old Bunce School, a historic nineteenth-century schoolhouse.
If you like to do some stream crossings for added adventure, you can take the Middle St. Vrain trail from Camp Dick (Highway 72 through Peaceful Valley). When you reach the end, you'll find great places to hike and some fishing spots where you can throw in a line.
With so many lovely National Forests surrounding, you're sure to find the ATV experience you desire near Rocky Mountain National Park.
How do I plan a trip?