Four Wheeling in Clear Creek County
4-Wheeling in Clear Creek County
4-Wheeling in Colorado is about high mountain passes, historic mining sites, scenic back-country lakes, and fantastic vistas. No mud bogs or slow going rock crawling in this region of pine and aspen forests, 14,000-foot mountains, alpine meadows, and crystal-clear streams. To visit Colorado for “wheeling” is to experience world class trail riding. Many of the trails will cover quite some mileage before hitting a difficult obstacle, and when the climb takes you above the tree line the views are absolutely fabulous.
One of the key elements in the Rockies is the altitudes, and the climbs to get there. Horsepower, low gearing, and a ‘good working order’ on your trail rig will go a long way. Many of the best riding areas are the summer range for deer, elk, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, and mountain goats. Occasionally mountain lion and black bear are spotted in the back-country. The mountain wilderness also includes many abandoned mountain homesteads and historic ghost towns, remnants of the original Colorado settlers, who came to the region to mine gold and silver. Some of the routes where first used by miners to reach their mining camps. Others follow the routes of old narrow gauge railroad right-of-ways.
For those that don’t have a four-wheel rig, local vendors offer jeep tours into some of the more popular areas. Or you can rent a jeep or other four-wheel drive vehicle.
Experience Clear Creek
If you’d like to explore more of Clear Creek’s back-country on wheels, then four wheel driving is the way to go.
A number of four wheel drive roads are monitored by the county and the Clear Creek Ranger District and provide a glimpse of the areas scenic beauty as well as its legendary history.
View the Motor Vehicle Use Map before setting out. Off road four-wheel driving is not permitted, so please respect the rights of property owners.
Leavenworth/Pavillion Point – Argentine Railroad Grade Trail
Distance: 4 Miles / 8 Round Trip
Elevation Gain / Loss: 800’
I-70 Silver Plume Exit #226, go south under interstate, make left going east to parking area.
In 1916, construction began on the beautiful summer resort called Pavilion Point where few remains exist. This trail starts a half a mile from the railroad yard in Silver Plume and connects with the Waldorf Road. Very scenic, beautiful aspen groves.
Silver Creek Wagon Trail
Distance: 5 Miles / 10 Round Trip
I-70 Georgetown Exit #228, Park in Historic Downtown Georgetown, on your bike go south on 6th Street to its end at the Energy Museum, make a left then a right onto Biddle Street, at Main Street make a left heading east, take Main to Saxon Mountain Road, follow this to the last house and enter what appears to be a driveway, this is the start of the trailhead.
This is an easy, scenic trail with a few technical spots that can be walked. The route provides a view of Alvarado Cemetery graveyard and the remains of the Silver Creek Town site.
Waldorf Road – Argentine Central
Distance: 5 miles / 10 Round Trip
Level: Railroad Grade to Mount McClellan
I-70 Georgetown Exit #228, Follow signs for Guanella Pass Raod-Scenic Byway, drive up Guanella Pass hill, go past the first reservoir (silverdale), at the 2nd hairpin turn is Waldorf Road on the right, turn onto Waldorf and park on either side, your tour starts here heading up Waldorf Road.
This National Forest System road follows the old Argentine Railroad. The last section of the ACRG takes you to the summit of Mount McClellan. Snowfall may exist even in the summer. Once you go over Argentine you are going up to the Continental Divide.
Fall River Reservoir
Distance: 3.2 miles One-Way
Elevation Gain / Loss: 1,600′, Start 9,200′, End 10,800’ I-70 to the Fall River Road Exit #238. Take this road approximately 6 miles up to the 2nd switchback, veer off to the left of the 2nd switchback and enter the dirt road. Park to the east of this switchback. The trail follows the drainage.
Distance: 3.3 miles
From I-70 take the U.S. 40 Exit 232 and proceed west to Empire. Pass through this historic town and through Berthoud Falls. Exit left at the sign for the Henderson Mine. Just before the Henderson Mine guardhouse, turn right onto road 144. Take this short dirt road to the trailhead. Here the four-wheel drive road begins.
The road is closed just over the pass, so you will need to return by the same route. Since this road may be blocked by snow even during the summer months, please check the Clear Creek Ranger District in Idaho Springs (exit 240) for road conditions before you depart. 303-567-3000.
Devil’s Canyon Area
Distance: 6 Miles Not Including loops
Elevation Gain / Loss: 1,050′. Start 9,750′, Highest Point 10,800’
I-70 to Idaho Springs – Hwy. 103 Exit #240, head south on hwy. 103, approximately 10 miles up there will be a wide shoulder in the road on the left side, park here, bike through the forrest service gate, this entrance will drop you into Devil’s Canyon.
Mount Evans Scenic and Historic Byway
Opens Memorial Day weekend
Distance: 28 miles
Take I-70 to Exit 240. Follow Hwy 103 to Echo Lake. This paved roadway leads from Idaho Springs, to Mt. Evans. For a moderate ride, park one vehicle at Echo Lake and take the byway down to town. Then have another vehicle ferry you up. For a difficult ride, climb from Idaho Springs back to Echo Lake, or continue to the top of Mt. Evans!
There is a lot of room to snowshoe or cross country ski on the gentle sloping road that leads to Mt. Evans. When the gate is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day (weather permitting) there is an entry fee.
Old Squaw Pass Road / Arapahoe Springs
Distance: 2.8 Miles
Off I-70 take the Mt. Evans Exit #240. Head south on Hwy. 103. Travel 14 miles, you will pass Echo Lake. Continue on Hwy. 103 until you reach mile marker 19. The road is located on the south side where parking is available. This is the best access to the mountain. Head up Squam Mountain Road a short distance from Hwy. 103, turn left onto the trail which is the original Echo lake Road. After 2 miles, there is a “get-off” road down to Hwy. 103, but keep on the road for the last 3/4 mile. At the top is a breath-taking view of Mt. Evan’s, & the trip down is exhilarating.
ATV and Mile-Hi Rafting
3627 Alvarado #291
Lawson, CO 80436
Rocky Mountain Quad Squad
2823 Colorado Boulevard
Idaho Springs, CO 80452