Jeep Trails in Northern Colorado

We asked Ryan Buller, our resident Jeep expert at Fort Collins Dodge Chrysler Jeep, about the best Jeep trails in Northern Colorado. Here are his four favorites for Jeeping, along with directions and a description. (Thanks to FunTreks eGuides for help with the photos and the details.)

 Kelly Flats - Kelly Flats (Forest Service Rd. 168) is a difficult trail that has long been viewed as the premier hard-core Jeep trail in Northern Colorado. It starts from Hwy 14, climbs steeply out of the Poudre Canyon, and winds up to a high ridge that provides beautiful views of the Mummy Range on a clear day. The trail is about 10.5 miles long and takes about half a day. It comes out on the Pingree Hill Rd. (County Rd. 69). Head south on that back to Hwy 14, then east to the trailhead for a loop. Make a weekend adventure out of your trip - there is great camping along the route.

Directions: Take Hwy 14 about 25 miles west of Ted's Place (Hwy 287). Watch for the signs for the Kelly Flats Campground, which is on the south side of the road. The trailhead is across the highway on the north side. The road is seasonal, so we recommend calling the Forest Service at 970.295.6700 for conditions before you plan your trip.

 Sevenmile Creek - The first part of this moderately difficult trail follows a valley floor, winding back and forth across Sevenmile Creek. The second half climbs up out of the valley and through relatively flat forest land. In this portion of the trail, there are many side roads to explore and plenty of places to camp. The start of this trail is near the end of the Kelly Flats trail, so the two would be great in sequence. The trail is a little over 7 miles long and will take about 1-3 hours, depending on conditions.

Directions: Take Hwy 14 about 31 miles west of Ted's Place (Hwy 287). At Rustic, turn right on County Rd. 69 (Pingree Hill/Manhattan Rd.) toward Red Feather Lakes. Go about half a mile; the trail (Forest Rd. 225) turns off to the left. The road is seasonal, so we recommend calling the Forest Service at 970.295.6700 for conditions before you plan your trip.

 Bald Mountain - The Bald Mountain trail climbs gradually on the east side with plenty of twists and turns, but parts are very difficult. There are no major obstacles, but the terrain is very rocky and requires vehicles with very high clearance. The trail ends into the Greenridge Trail (see below), which ends up on the Laramie River Rd. and then Hwy. 14 after a long, slow, rocky trip. Another option is to turn right, which will take you to Deadman Road, and then into Red Feather Lakes.

Directions: The Bald Mountain Trail can be accessed through the Poudre Canyon or through Red Feather Lakes. From Poudre Canyon, take Hwy 14 about 31 miles west of Ted's Place (Hwy 287). At Rustic, turn right on County Rd. 69 (Pingree Hill/Manhattan Rd.) toward Red Feather Lakes. Go about 7.4 miles and turn left on Fire Route 517, which is the start of the trail. (You will see a parking/staging area at the trailhead.) From Red Feather Lakes, turn south on County Rd. 69 (Manhattan Rd.) from County Rd. 74E, across the road from the Pot Belly Restaurant. Go about 2.4 miles; the parking area at the start of the trail will be on your right. The road is seasonal, so we recommend calling the Forest Service at 970.295.6700 for conditions before you plan your trip.

 Greenridge - This difficult trail doesn't have major obstacles, but lots of mud holes and relentless, jarring rock. (A winch is recommended, as is traveling with others and driving a very high clearance Jeep.) Because many parts of the trail are so wet early in the season, the gate typically doesn't open until July 1 (and sometimes later). We recommend calling the Forest Service at 970.295.6700 for conditions before you plan your trip. The trail itself is six miles out, which can be made into a 12-mile out-and-back trip or tacked on with one or more of the trails previously mentioned.

Directions: Take Hwy 14 through the Poudre Canyon west of Ted's Place (Hwy 287) for about 51 miles to the Laramie River Road (County Rd. 103). Turn off and go 1.5 miles to the parking lot for the trail at Lost Lake (marked as Forest Road 177). The first mile is the toughest on the trail, with many ruts and holes that make it easy to get stuck. After passing Lost Lake, stay right on the trail where Forest Road 177A goes straight. The trail will head to Laramie Lake, then continue north. After five miles, you will come to Forest Road 162, which is the Bald Mountain Road. That will take you on the Bald Mountain Trail for more four-wheeling. Forest Road 319 is an easier stretch that will take you to Deadman Road and into Red Feather Lakes.

If you're looking to take your Jeep out on an adventure, these might give you some ideas. If you want more information four-wheeling or Jeeps in general, come in and talk to Ryan. 

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