A four-wheel drive vehicle, ATV or motorcycle opens even more of the SLV’s great outdoors for exploration. Be sure to have the appropriate rescue equipment to get your vehicle unstuck and out of the backcountry if it has problems.
Alder Creek Guard Station Trails
Alder Bench #799 (motorcycles only as its steep, narrow and rocky) and Middle Alder Creek #797 start at the Alder Creek Guard Station. These are moderate trails are motorcycle friendly. The Middle Alder Creek trail leads from the Guard Station to an abandoned cabin and saw mill site at about 4 miles.
ATVing/4 Wheeling with the Silverthreader Outdoor Recreation Club
During the spring, summer, and fall months the Silverthreaders organize rides once or twice a week weather permitting. In the winter they also have weekly snowmobile rides.
With a population of 16, Bonanza is Colorado’s smallest incorporated town nestled at the base of the southern Sawatch Mountains. Founded in 1880 and once a thriving mining community, Bonanza is a popular today for its ATV trails. Visitors to Bonanza may explore its historic cemeteries and take in views of the aspen covered peaks named for the Ute tribal leaders, Chipeta and Ouray. For maps of the Bonanza OHV Tour and more information visit: http://staythetrail.org/maps/viewtrail.php?trail_id=89
Bristol Head Peak
The top of this tall bald topped peak is accessible by a 4×4. On a clear day at the top of Bristol Head peak, the San Luis Valley and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, over 100 miles away, can be seen. Two nearby campgrounds, Silver Thread and Bristol Head, provide additional developed camping and awesome views of 12,712-foot Bristol Head Peak.
Cathedral Campground Trails
The Cathedral Trail (#794) starts at the campground and climbs to Groundhog Park over 3 miles. It starts out easy and gets progressively steep and rocky. Also in the area, the Embargo Creek Trail (#792) is recommended for motorcycles and winds through spruce and aspen for 6 miles.
The remote, northwest route out of the SLV is an incredibly scenic mountain drive into the Gunnison Valley. Take Colorado 114 west out of Saguache. The route leads to Sargents where there is a network of rocky, high mountain single tracks popular with motorized users as well as mountain bikers and hikers. For more information on the trails on the far side of Cochetopa Pass in the Sargents area check out: http://www.staythetrail.org/maps/viewtrail.php?trail_id=68&sv=0
This system of primarily ATV and singletrack trails offers a mix of more advanced riding opportunities. Groundhog Park links La Garita trail systems to the north with the Del Norte area to the south. For maps and more information visit: http://www.staythetrail.org/maps/viewtrail.php?trail_id=86&sv=0
La Garita Natural Arch
Located in Penitente Canyon within the Rio Grande National Forest, the arch is a striking natural feature. A 400-foot scramble up to the arch rewards with amazing Valley views. The arch is southwest of La Garita, from county road 38A turn west on forest road 660, then north on forest road 659. The roads are 2-wheel drive.
La Garita Stock Driveway
This route and surrounding ATV and singletrack trails are located in the eastern end of the Rio Grande National Forest and offer a range of difficulty. This area over long, scenic off-road rides. For maps and more information visit: http://www.staythetrail.org/maps/viewtrail.php?trail_id=108&sv=0
Lake Como Road
A challenging route, the Lake Como Road scales the slopes of Blanca Peak and is officially an Alamosa County road (County Road 975). It is a beautiful, albeit bold drive that offers the opportunity to campout on the edge of Lake Como. The lake, on the upper flanks of Blanca Peak, is one of the more spectacular settings available for an overnight 4WD outing. The campsites are nestled amongst the pines just below the tree line with the towering, jagged summits of Ellingwood Point, Blanca Peak, and Little Bear Peak surrounding the lake on three sides.
Linking Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve with Highway 69 and traversing the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this route is appropriate for 4-wheeled vehicles and dirt bikes. Along the pass are numerous camping spots. For more information and maps visit: http://www.staythetrail.org/maps/viewtrail.php?trail_id=110&sv=0
SSan Juan Driving Tour (over Stunner Pass)
The San Juan Driving tour takes visitors along Forest Service roads within the Conejos Mountains. The historic gold mining camps along the route (Jasper, Stunner, Platoro, and Summitville) reveal the region’s mining history when thousands of prospectors rushed the SLV in search of the alleged bounties in the “Silvery San Juans”. To access this route from Del Norte, take 14 Rd. south where it will become FR 330 and climbs up past Summitville where it joins FR 380. Take FR 380 to the left and follow it around Prospect Mt. and Lookout Mt. until it runs into FR 250. Taking FR 250 to the left leads down to the Alamosa River into La Jara on X Rd (CO 15). Following FR 250 to the right leads to Stunner Pass and Platoro, and then down the Conejos River to Antonito on CO 17. From Del Norte to Antonito is 72 miles and takes about 3 hours. The roads are 2-wheel drive and are open all summer.
The high country road over Stony Pass is suitable for OHV and 4-wheel drive vehicles only. The historic route links the mining camps of Baker’s Park (now Silverton) with the railhead at Alamosa by way of Creede and the Upper Rio Grande Valley.
Wheeler Geologic Area
A rugged 4-wheel drive leads to a strikingly scenic geologic site with ghostly spires and flowing volcanic folds. For more information on the route to Wheeler, check this out.