Home10 Best ATV Trails In Colorado10 Best ATV Trails In Colorado

10 Best ATV Trails In Colorado

ATV Trails In Colorado

Black Bear Pass

  • Location: Silverton CO
  • Skill Level: Difficult
  • Distance: 8.5 miles
  • Usage: Heavy
  • Season: Late July – fall
  • Vehicles Allowed: 4×4, ATV, SxS, motorcycles. High clearance & short wheel base recommended
Waterfall on Black Bear Pass by LuceroPhotos | Flickr

Trail starts off the US Hwy 550 (the Million Dollar Highway) between Ouray and Silverton.

Black Bear Pass off road map

After a short ascent, this trail peaks at Black Bear Pass with an elevation of 12,840 ft. It’s at this point where the excitement begins. The stunning descent includes switchbacks, technical “rock steps” and steep drop offs.

Amazing views in all directions including a close up view of Bridal Veil Fall, the highest waterfall in Colorado.

Adventure on Black Bear trail LuceroPhotos | Flickr
Club ride to Black Bear Pass by LuceroPhotos | Flickr

Black Bear Pass Doesn’t Open Until Late July

Due to it’s high elevation, this high mountain Forest Service Road has a very short window for riding – from late summer – fall, depending on snowfall. Typically it opens in late July.

As this trail descends into Telluride, it becomes a one way only road. Telluride does not allow ATVs on city streets, so if you intend to do this entire ride you will have to arrange a trailer shuttle.

This is not a trail for inexperienced riders or people with a fear of heights.

ATV Trails In Colorado - Black Bear Pass
On the South side of Black Bear Pass on the Red Mountain between Ouray and Silverton, CO. markdvk | Flickr
Rocky shelf on Black Bear Pass by LuceroPhotos | Flickr


Webster Pass/Red Cone – Montezuma Colorado

  • Location: Montezuma CO
  • Skill Level: Difficult
  • Distance: 20 miles
  • Usage: Moderate
  • Season: Late July – fall. Closed to motorized traffic Nov. 23 thru May 20
  • Vehicles Allowed: 4×4, ATV, SxS, motorcycles.
ATV Trails In Colorado - Webster Pass to Red Cone
Trail up to Red Cone

Trail starts just .5 miles past the small town of Montezuma CO at the Deer Creek trailhead.

Keystone / Montezuma Colorado Trailhead – Although you can’t see it on this map, Red Cone connects to Webster Pass after driving one way over the cone. See embedded map below for a better view of the actual cone trail.

Slow Challenging Route

This trail is not for beginners or the feint of heart, there are steep scary drop offs.

At about 20 miles total, this is a short route, but it’s slow going, so it will take several hours. This intense ride traverses the spine of Red Cone with sheer drops on both sides.

The one way road over Red Cone by auntie rain | Flickr

Even though it’s located right outside the popular ski town of Keystone Colorado, this trail isn’t over run with tourists like some of the more popular ones.

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This is a combined route for both Webster Pass and Red Cone, but you can do Webster Pass on it’s own. If you do just Webster Pass it’s 3.7 miles (one way) from Montezuma.

Red Cone is one way.

Traveling over Red Cone is one way traffic only. This is a very narrow shelf road that must be driven east to west.

Red Cone is one way as it descends to Webster Pass by auntie rain | Flickr
Red Cone Trail traverses the ridgeline in the distance by auntie rain | Flickr
ATV Trails In Colorado - Webster Pass To Red Cone
Webster Pass

You’ll be driving well above the tree line with mountain views stretching for miles in all directions.

You might even get lucky and see some of the many mountain goats who roam this range.



Tellurium Creek

  • Location: Taylor Park CO
  • Skill Level: Difficult
  • Distance: 12.4 miles
  • Usage: Moderate
  • Season: Late July – fall.
  • Vehicles Allowed: 4×4, ATV, SxS, motorcycles. Recommend short wheel base / high clearance if 4 x 4.

Pick up the Taylor River Road (Forest Service Rd 742) at the reservoir and travel north to the start of the Tellurium Creek Trail 584.

ATV Trails In Colorado - Tellurium Creek ATV trail map
Tellurium Creek @ Taylor Park ATV trail map

This is one of the premier rides of Taylor Park, a popular ATV riding area near Crested Butte.

This region includes Gunnison National Forest, Maroon Bells Snowmass Wilderness, Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, Fossil Ridge Wilderness, West Elk Wilderness and Raggeds Wilderness. To say this area is surrounded by natural beauty is a bit of an understatement.

Unlimited Adventure In Taylor Creek

This is a popular off roading destination with some of the best ATV trails in Colorado. But, in addition to all the great trails, you’ll also find many other outdoor recreation opportunities such as fishing, camping, hiking, wildlife viewing and photography.

You’ll get wet on this ride as you cross through Tellurium creek several times at the beginning of this trail. For the most part, the crossings are shallow and manageable, but you should use extra caution after rain storms.

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At the lower elevation, you’re riding through the trees while passing though lovely meadows as you gradually make your way above the tree line for 360 degree views.

This trail is wide and easy to navigate, but there are some steep sections with drop offs, loose rocks and tight switchbacks.

ATV Trails Website: Taylor Park



Best Guidebook For ATV Trails In Colorado

Almost all of these trails are in this guide book.

This is by far the best guide book for ATV trails in Colorado!

Guides include detailed maps, trail descriptions, detailed turn-by-turn mileage, GPS waypoints and pictures of some of the more difficult trail obstacles.


Hancock Pass, Cumberland Pass and Tincup Pass

  • Location: St. Elmo CO
  • Skill Level: Difficult
  • Distance: 44 miles
  • Usage: Moderate
  • Season: Late July – fall.
  • Vehicles Allowed: 4×4, ATV, SxS, motorcycles. Short wheel base & high clearance.

Combine 3 well known trails in the Taylor Park area into one epic ride -a local riding club referrers to this ride as the Miner’s Loop.

If you’re starting in Taylor Park, Tincup would be the natural starting point, but on the map I designate St. Elmo as the start / finish. Since it’s a loop, it really doesn’t matter.

ATV Trails In Colorado - St. Elmo ATV loop trail map
St. Elmo ATV loop trail

This ride combines Hancock Pass Road 295, Cumberland Pass Road 765 and Tincup Pass Road 267.

Visit Four Ghost Towns On This High Alpine Route

Travel three mountain passes over 12,000 feet high on this high alpine loop trail. You’ll be driving through Colorado’s history as you visit several ghost towns including: St. Elmo, Tincup, Woodstock and Hancock.

ATV Trails In Colorado - St. Elmo Ghost Town mountain loop ride
St. Elmo ghost town

You get a lot of bang for your buck with this ride. Stunning views as you pass through green lush meadows, rolling hills, plentiful pines, sharp mountain peaks, high alpine tundra and the small, but lovely Mirror Lake. 

FunTreks has some of the best ATV guides and maps available and this map covers the Taylor Park region which has some of the best ATV trails in Colorado.



Schofield Pass / Devil’s Punchbowl / Crystal Mill

  • Location: Crested Butte CO
  • Skill Level: Extreme
  • Distance: 6 miles (one way)
  • Usage: Heavy
  • Season: Late July – fall. In heavy snow years, trail may not fully open.
  • Vehicles Allowed: 4×4, ATV, SxS, motorcycles.
ATV Trails In Colorado - Schofield Pass
Easy section of Schofield Pass Larry Lamsa | Flickr

I’m of two minds for including Schofield Pass in this ‘Best ATV Trails In Colorado’ collection.

On the one hand, it’s an extremely dangerous trail. It should not be attempted on a whim or by anyone without a lot of previous experience. But on the other hand, it’s frequently traveled safely without incident. Plus, it’s the most ultimate type of trail in every sense – dangerous, technical and extremely beautiful, so I’m including it.

Schofield Pass Trail starts as E. Silver street which turns into County Rd. #3 just outside the small town of Marble Colorado, located half way between Carbondale and Crested Butte. Just after Crystal, you take a right onto FR #317 to travel from Marble to Crested Butte over Schofield Pass.

10 Best ATV Trails In Colorado: Schofield Pass Trail FS #317 map
Schofield Pass ATV trail map

Avoid this trail on weekends and holidays to avoid the worst of the crowds.

Crystal Ghost Town & Crystal Mill

Right before the turn onto FR #317, just under 6 miles from Marble, you’ll see one of the most photographed buildings in Colorado – Crystal Mill. Past the mill are the remains of Crystal Ghost Town where there are still a few well preserved buildings.

10 Best ATV Trails In Colorado: Schofield Pass Trail FS #317 to Crystal Mill
Crystal Mill by Patrick McKay | Flickr

As you ride though narrow, steep canyons, you’ll view several small lovely waterfalls that end at a deep pool of water – this area is referred to as The Devil’s Punch Bowl. Along the way you’re surrounded by the soaring peaks of the Elk Range.

ATV Trails In Colorado - Schofield Pass offroading accident
ATV Trails In Colorado - Schofield Pass
Schofield Pass Larry Lamsa | Flickr – Don’t be fooled by this picture. It’s a very difficult trail, this is just an easy section.


ATV Trails In Colorado



Alpine Loop

  • Location: Silverton CO
  • Skill Level: Easy/Moderate (rock shelves, drop offs)
  • Distance: 65 mile loop
  • Usage: Heavy
  • Season: Mid summer – fall.
  • Vehicles Allowed: 4×4, ATV, SxS, motorcycles.
ATV Trails In Colorado - Alpine Loop
Alpine Loop – If you look closely you can see a 4×4 on the trail dwarfed by the mountains

This is probably one of the most popular ATV Tours In Colorado, which also makes it one of the busiest. To avoid the worst of the crowds don’t ride on weekends or holidays. Even better, go late October if you don’t mind a bit of chill in the air and the potential for an early snow.

ATV Trails In Colorado - Alpine Loop trail map
Alpine Loop trail map

Two Epic Mountain Passes Over 12,000′ High

Widely regarded as one of the most beautiful drives in the US, this road takes you through the Rocky Mountains over two mountain passes – Engineer Pass and Cinnamon Pass, both 12,000+ feet high.

ATV Trails In Colorado - Alpine Loop Cinnamon Pass
Top of Cinnamon Pass

In addition to the stunning natural beauty that extends in all directions, rider’s also get to explore Animas Forks Ghost Town – it’s located right on the loop. This is one of the best preserved ghost towns in Colorado.

Animas Forks Ghost Town by underactive | Flickr

This is a dirt road well traveled by Jeeps, ATVs, SUVs and motorbikes. Even though a couple small sections of this ride are on roads, ATVs and other unlicensed vehicles will still be able to complete the entire route. Lake City has passed laws that allow unlicensed vehicles on certain sections of town roads to provide access to the loop.

In addition to the Alpine Loop, there are also many other trails and smaller loops in this area that you can connect giving you lots of riding options. With some of the best ATV trails in Colorado, this is a great area for an ATV riding vacation.

ATV Trails In Colorado - Alpine Loop
Cinnamon Pass on the Alpine Loop. robert thigpen | Flickr
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Lake City is ATV friendly and allows ATVs/SUVs on their streets. Silverton used to be ATV friendly, but not any more. “October 12, 2021, the Town of Silverton Citizens voted NO to allowing OHV, ATV, or unlicensed dirt bikes in the Town limits.” OHV & ATV Info



Yankee Boy Basin

  • Location: Ouray CO
  • Skill Level: Difficult
  • Distance: 9.4 miles (out and back)
  • Usage: Heavy
  • Season: Road open May 1 to Nov. 11. The upper portion doesn’t fully open until the snow clears and it’s blocked by a gate. 
  • Vehicles Allowed: 4×4, ATV, SxS, motorcycles.  
Dramatic backdrop on Yankee Boy Basin by dana.m.wilson | Flickr

Ouray bills itself as the Switzerland of America. Surrounded by mountains on all sides, this region is rich in natural beauty. Lucky for off roaders, there are also many areas that allow ATVs and SUVs.

ATV Trails In Colorado - Yankee Boy Basin off roading map
Yankee Boy Basin offroading map

Due to it’s proximity to the touristy town of Ouray and it’s pure natural beauty, Yankee Boy Basin sees a good amount of traffic, so you won’t have it all to yourself. It’s also a popular tour option with the local commercial Jeep tours.

ATV Trails In Colorado - Yankee Boy Basin
High clearance trail warning sign at start of Yankee Basin

This trail starts out fairly easy, but becomes increasingly difficult as it progresses. As the road continues, it becomes rocky and narrow with steep drop offs. Very scary and not for the feint of heart.

You’ll ride past steep canyons with waterfalls flowing over their sides deep into a high alpine basin surrounded by the Sneffels Mountain Range with several peaks over 13,000 feet.

Wild flowers at small alpine lake in Yankee Boy Basin by dana.m.wilson | Flickr
Hairpin turn in Yankee Boy Basin by dana.m.wilson | Flickr

Stunning Wild Flowers Everywhere

Go when the mountain flowers are in bloom and prepare to be wowed. You’ll see Bluebells, Larkspur, Wild Iris, Columbine, Paintbrush and many more native wild flowers. The best time to experience the bloom is mid-July through early August.

See why this is one of the most photographed areas of Colorado.


For more off road adventure, head to the sand:

North Sand Hills OHV Area (Cowdrey, Colorado)


Flat Tops – Wagon Wheel Trails

  • Location: Meeker CO
  • Skill Level: Difficult
  • Distance: 50 miles
  • Usage: Light
  • Season: late spring – fall. Some sections may remain closed into June for elk calving.
  • Vehicles Allowed: 4×4, ATV, SxS, motorcycles.

Colorado is all about the mountains, but that’s not all it has to offer in the way of natural beauty. Meeker Colorado is a large valley bordered by a long jagged cliff wall called the China Wall and surrounded by rolling hills and mountains. At just over 6,240 feet this high desert area is rich in natural beauty with plenty of great ATVing. It also lays claim to one of the largest elk herds in the US, so keep an eye out.

ATV Friendly Towns

Meeker is an ATV friendly town and home of The Wagon Wheel Trails, offering some of the best ATV trails in Colorado. This off roading area has over 250 miles in Meeker with another 360+ miles in Rangely CO, also an ATV friendly town. This Colorado ATV trail system made it onto our 10 Best ATV Trails.

ATV Trails In Colorado - Flat Tops OHV trail map
Flat Tops OHV route map

Pack a lunch. Flat Top is an all day advanced ride with some technical sections. Awesome views, wild life, lakes and wild flowers await you on this lollipop loop ride. You’ll be crossing a few small streams, so be careful after heavy rains.

The fact that this trail is advanced keeps a lot of people away. Combine that with a gruelling 1.5 hour trip to the trailhead and you’re getting a true wilderness experience.

ATV Trails In Colorado - Flat Tops
Flat Tops

This ride used to be part of the local ATV Jamboree, unfortunately, they no longer host the Annual Wagon Wheel OHV Rendezvous. They’ve changed the format to accommodate more riders.

Now, it’s not an event, it’s just self guided rides or you can sign up to get a local guide which could be a good option for this ride.

ATV Trails In Colorado - Flat Tops trail description


Rollins Pass East

  • Location: Nederland CO
  • Skill Level: Easy
  • Distance: 12.3 miles
  • Usage: Heavy
  • Season: late July – fall. Depends on snow.
  • Vehicles Allowed: 4×4, ATV, SxS, motorcycles.

I really wanted to include an easy route on this list to give everyone a chance at an epic ride. It’s true that most of the best rides are intermediate/difficult, but there are great beginner rides out there!

In days past, you used to be able to drive up one side of the mountain and down the other side, but this is no longer possible. Today the road is split up into east and west. Rollins Pass East is easier. Rollins Pass West out of Winter Park CO is easy/intermediate.

This ATV trail is very rocky with lots of potholes, but not technical. There are some drop offs, but the road is wide enough, that it doesn’t feel scary or difficult.

ATV Trails In Colorado - Rollins Pass East trail map
Rollins Pass East trail map

Colorado Railroad History

This Colorado ATV trail will be of special interest for railroad enthusiasts. Rich in history, this road is a former railroad route.

The original train tracks were built as part of the big push to open up the west and eventually make it easy to travel to California. Building this railroad route up and over the Rockies was a huge engineering feat.

At 11, 660 feet, at the top of Rollins Pass, it used to be a happening place with a railroad station, restaurant, hotel and workers quarters.

Hard to believe all this was going on at the top of a mountain pass in the middle of nowhere. (This higher section of the pass can be reached on the Rollins Pass West trail, while this eastern route takes you up to just over 11,200 feet.)

ATV Trails In Colorado - Rollins Pass East
Rollins Pass

Ride through forest and past two lovely small lakes as you make your way above the timberline where you are rewarded with views of Winter Park and the surrounding mountains.

Pick up a brochure from the visitors center on your way out of town, it will have points of interest and tell you about the area.

Rollins Pass is in the FunTreks Northern Colorado Backroads 4 Wheel Drive Guidebook (this a different book than the one listed above)

FunTreks Northern Colorado ATV Trail Book



Elwood Pass

  • Location: Pagosa Springs CO
  • Skill Level: Difficult
  • Distance: 65 miles
  • Usage: Moderate
  • Season: Late July – fall.
  • Vehicles Allowed: 4×4, ATV, SxS, motorcycles.
ATV Trails In Colorado - Elwood Pass
Elwood Pass

This ride can be done as an all day trip with an early start. Better yet, plan it as an overnighter with a lodge stay – sleep in a comfortable bed and eat a hot restaurant meal.

Trail starts north of Pagosa Spring off Hwy 160. Keep an eye out for East Fork Road #667, this road takes you all the way to Elwood Pass. Just after Elwood Pass, #667 becomes trail #380. Stay on #380 until you take a right on #250 to Platerno.

ATV Trails In Colorado - Elwood Pass motorized trail map
Elwood Pass motorized trail map

Overall, this is a difficult route although parts of it are on fairly nice roads. There are several water crossings of the East Fork River early in the ride. Do not attempt these crossing in the spring or during heavy rains, they don’t become passable until the summer.

You’ll face a lot of rough riding as you navigate the rocky sections on your way to the summit. You’ll pass a makeshift barrier erected at the site of an 2016 UTV fatality. This informal barrier is to keep people from choosing the same path that resulted in the accident.

ATV Trails In Colorado - Elwood Pass to Platerno Co
View of the Platoro reservoir just outside of town

Do It As A Relaxing Overnight Trip

Soak up the amazing views as you slow burn your way up 8,000 feet from Pagosa Springs to the summit. Once at the summit, hang a right to the remote mountain town of Platerno CO.

What could be better after a great day of riding than a hot shower, a comfortable bed and a home cooked meal (cooked by someone else!)

Check out: Sky Line Lodge

To find more great places to ride in the US, check out 10 Best ATV Trails.


Featured photo by Brendan Bombaci | Flickr

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