If you’re looking to do some adventurous Colorado jeeping near Denver, then turn your sights west to Vail Pass and Vail. The Vail area is known for its scenic mountain vistas, wildlife, and wildflowers bursting with summer color. Jeeping in the Vail area also provides many opportunities for moose viewing and for exploring historic sites. Vail jeep trails range from established mountain roads to trails strewn with rocks and even those that require modified suspension, oversized tires, and highly skilled drivers.
If you want to get out jeeping near Denver and would rather take a guided jeep tour than drive yourself, let Timberline Tours guide you. We pick up guests from Beaver Creek and Vail accommodations during the summer months for a variety of mountain jeep tours led by our expert guides. Check out our Vail jeep tour overview here to find out more about guided opportunities for jeeping near Denver: www.timberlinetours.com/jeep-tours
And read on for more details about some of our favorite trails for Vail jeeping:
Seasonality and Overview: Jeeping Near Denver
Summer is the time for Colorado jeeping, and the seasonality of trails depends on a few factors including snowpack and wildlife closures. The US Forest Service Motor Vehicle Use Maps outline when Vail Pass jeeping trails, technically Forest Service roads, are officially open. Vail Pass jeep trails and other trails accessible from Vail Pass—our top picks for jeeping near Denver—have opening dates that range from late-May to late-June. Of course, each winter season is different, and factors such as snowpack and spring temperatures influence trail conditions. Be prepared to encounter snow at high elevations throughout the summer season, especially on north-facing slopes.
Seasonal trail closures: Each spring, many Vail jeep trails have mandatory seasonal closures to protect habitat, calving, and migration of wildlife including mule deer and elk. Some trails are also closed in the spring season to protect them from getting rutted out when it’s likely to be muddy. Check on trail conditions and closures before going jeeping in the Vail area; contact the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District office at (970) 827-5715, and be sure to check the Holy Cross (Vail-area) Forest Service Motor Vehicle Use Map.
Tread Lightly: Practice techniques for responsible recreation to help ensure that jeep trails remain available and in good condition for future use. Review “Quick Tips for Responsible Four Wheeling” from www.treadlightly.org.
Vail Pass: Prime Jeeping Near Denver
Vail Pass jeep trails and other trails accessible from Vail Pass are among our top picks for jeeping near Denver. These jeep trails are technically US Forest Service roads and are regulated by the Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District. The Vail Pass area and many surrounding trails are within the White River National Forest. This area is known for its scenic views, exciting alpine terrain, historic landmarks, and a diversity of flora and fauna.
TOP VAIL PASS JEEPING TRAILS
Shrine Pass Road: From the top of Vail Pass, Shrine Pass Road is the access road to other Vail Pass jeep trails of increasing difficulty. Shrine Pass Road, itself, is a mild, well-maintained dirt road that goes from the top of Vail Pass to the historic mountain town of Red Cliff, where you can stop for a meal at Mango’s Mountain Grill, famous for its fish tacos and classic bar food. Highlights along the way include a lookout deck that opens up to views of the Mount of the Holy Cross. And Shrine Mountain Inn, a collection of three cabins in the 10th Mountain Division huts network, is also along the way and available for overnight bookings in the summer and winter seasons.
Resolution Road: From Vail Pass, follow Shrine Pass Road to Red Cliff, and continue south on Highway 24 to the north end of historic Camp Hale to gain access to Resolution Road. Like Shrine Pass Road, Resolution Road is a mild, well-maintained road. But as it climbs higher, you’ll take in sweeping mountain views and pass several structures along the way, relics of turn-of-the-century life in the Rocky Mountains.
Wearyman Road: From Resolution Road, it’s possible to access Wearyman Road and McAllister Gulch, trails of increasing difficulty. Wearyman Road can also be accessed from Shrine Pass Road. This trail is more difficult than Shrine Pass or Resolution Road; it includes some exciting rocky sections and creek crossings. Highlights include sighting Vail’s famed Gore Range peaks and topping out on Ptarmigan Pass for even more panoramic mountain views.
McAllister Gulch Road: Accessible from Vail Pass or from the Camp Hale area, McAllister Gulch is by far one of the most exciting and adventurous jeep trails near Vail. This trail is rocky, narrow, and steep in sections. Jeeping here requires expert driver skill as well as a vehicle with modified suspension and oversized tires. Don’t want to drive McAllister Gulch? Choose to enjoy this thrilling adventure on a McAllister Gulch jeep tour with Timberline Tours, as our highly experienced guides have the skills and gear required.
RESOURCES FOR JEEPING NEAR DENVER
The Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District and its publications are the best local sources for current information: (970) 827-5715; the local Holy Cross Ranger District office is located at 24747 US Highway 24, Minturn, Colorado. It is ESSENTIAL to know the details and regulations outlined on these area trail maps and the US Forest Service Motor Vehicle Use Maps:
—US Forest Service White River National Forest Maps & Publications
—US Forest Service Motor Vehicle Use Maps for Holy Cross (Vail area)
—US Forest Service Motor Vehicle Use Maps for other areas
Find Eagle-Holy Cross Recreation Quicksheets here. This collection of resources highlights many of the best trails in the Vail area for jeeping near Denver. The page also lists alerts and warnings. Individual trail pages offer details including trip overviews, access, highlights, regulations, elevation profiles, and maps.
We’re ready to share the adventure of these trails with you on a jeep tour. So if you want to sit back and enjoy the ride, book a jeep tour with Timberline Tours. Details and booking information available here: www.timberlinetours.com/jeep-tours
OUR EXPERT GUIDES WILL WORK WITH YOU ON THE DAY OF YOUR TRIP TO DETERMINE THE BEST TOUR AVAILABLE DEPENDING ON SEASON, TRAIL CONDITIONS, WEATHER, AND GROUP DYNAMICS.
CONTACT TIMBERLINE TOURS TODAY
Timberline Tours is the Vail-area’s premier whitewater rafting and backcountry jeep tours outfitter, also offering stand up paddle board (SUP) and duckie river trips on Colorado’s Eagle, Colorado, and Arkansas Rivers. All of our guided trips are open to Vail, Colorado visitors, locals, families, and corporate groups.
To book your Vail, Colorado adventure, call Timberline Tours at (970) 476-1414, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.