ATV The Alpine Loop
- Length: 65 mile loop
- Difficulty: Moderate (rock outcroppings, drop offs)
- Access: Easy
- ATV Friendly Towns: Lake City, Silverton
- Ideal Riding Season: Mid Summer – September
Notes: This is a loop that ATVs and other unlicensed vehicles can ride even though sections of it are “on road”. Both Silverton and Lake City have passed laws that allow access to the entire loop without a street legal vehicle.
Although Colorado does not allow for street legal ATVs throughout the entire state, it does allow towns and governments to make their own laws regarding ATVs on local roads.
See the Forest Service Brochure button below for a good overview map.
One of The Most Stunning Drives In The US
This ride should definitely be on your bucket list. Although not technically an “ATV trail”, this remote dirt road loop is open to ATVs/SUVs. It’s so amazing that we’ve included it in our 10 best ATV trails in Colorado: ATV Colorado: 10 Best ATV Trails In Colorado.
The Alpine Loop passes through the sweeping Rocky Mountains through two mountain passes – Engineer Pass and Cinnamon Pass, both 12,000+ feet high.
In between the mountain passes you’ll experience some of the most amazing views – mountains, meadows, waterfalls, lakes and wildlife. This 63 mile dirt road loop takes you from Ouray or Silverton to Lake City.
This is a very popular dirt road – Jeeps, 4x4s and ATVs all use this road so don’t expect to have it all to yourself. To avoid the big crowds go in late September when the kids are heading back to school and summer vacations are mostly over.
The speed limit is 15 miles an hour, so allow 5 – 7 hours for a leisurely ride. In addition to the Alpine Loop, there are also plenty of miles of other smaller ATV loops and detours connected to the main loop. Plan for a couple nights in the area for a more relaxed ride with time to soak up the scenery and explore the history of Colorado.
Silverton and Lake City are both ATV friendly and allow ATVs/SUVs on their streets. Ouray is not ATV friendly, it does not allow ATVs within the city limits.
In Silverton you’ll find OHV open roads clearly marked with blue OHV route signs. This allows you to easily navigate the business district and access the Alpine Loop.
To find more great rides in Colorado check out:
- Silverton is the best town to stay in for riding the Alpine Loop.
- Vacation homes / Airbnb rentals may not be on the designated ATV route, so plan accordingly.
- Most campgrounds, RV parks, motels and hotels are on the ATV route.
Links To Help You Plan Your Trip
Forest Service Brochure: Alpine Loop (with a nice overview map)
Colorado Scenic Byway: Alpine Loop
Colorado has lots to offer when it comes to off roading. There is an off roading sand dune area, North Sand Hills in Cowdrey, Colorado. Plus many great riding areas including Pagosa Springs and the Wagon Wheel Trail System in Meeker and Rangely Colorado which made our 10 Best ATV Trails.
There are several popular ATV Jamborees:
- ROAR – OHV Rally and Ride Rangely Colorado
- Wagon Wheel OHV Rendezvous Meeker Colorado
- OHV Rally & Festival Lake City Colorado
- OHV Color Tour Buena Vista Colorado