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Old 06-14-2010, 07:09 PM
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Default Hello CO from TX (planning visit in Sept.)

I am planning a solo trip through NM and into SW Colorado this September and I had a few questions if anyone on here would be gracious enough to help me out with some local info. Regarding the CO portion of my trip, I am just going to hit the Southwest corner for about a week, coming up to Telluride (possibly via Black Bear Pass), taking Imogene to Ouray (possibly checking out Yankee Boy Basin), possibly Mineral Creek then Engineer and Cinnamon. My primary source of info is "Guide to Colorado Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails" by Charles Wells. My questions revolve around two areas:
1. What the backcountry camping opportunities are along the way (free National Forest being my preference for budget reasons), and
2. Details on the difficulty of some of these trails. I will be traveling solo, and while I know how to use my winch, I am not bringing provisions for broken axle or roll-over!

I saw your Labor day event, but there is no way I can actually be in CO on any weekend with only 1 week available to me including time to get there/home to Austin.

Snowy
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:36 PM
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There's quite a few options for primitive camping along Animas Forks Road (dirt track) not long after you leave Silverton heading NE toward Animas Forks. I was there last year for Fathers Day weekend, and we found a spot a few miles out of Silverton on the right side of the road (there are several spurs and side roads).

Those pass roads around Ouray and Silverton are usually pretty busy with traffic that time a year, so I wouldn't worry too much about traveling solo. Black Bear is probably the worst of them, only because of the steep section and falls on the Telluride side.
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:52 PM
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Make sure you go to Mesa Verde, not any trail but something you should not miss, I can't remember the train trip that is around that area that is a must! (can anyone help me out) And make sure to do all of the privet guided tours, worth it!
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SRT08BUS View Post
I can't remember the train trip that is around that area that is a must! (can anyone help me out)
Silverton-Durango narrow guage railroad.

Pick up a Ouray/Telluride motor vehicle use map (MVUM) from the forest service. It will show you where all the legal routes are and where you are allowed to camp.
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacket View Post
There's quite a few options for primitive camping along Animas Forks Road (dirt track) not long after you leave Silverton heading NE toward Animas Forks. I was there last year for Fathers Day weekend, and we found a spot a few miles out of Silverton on the right side of the road (there are several spurs and side roads).

Those pass roads around Ouray and Silverton are usually pretty busy with traffic that time a year, so I wouldn't worry too much about traveling solo. Black Bear is probably the worst of them, only because of the steep section and falls on the Telluride side.
Thanks Jacket. I actually made the trip to Animas Forks a couple of years ago but didn't pay attention to camping options at the time. Glad to know about the prospects of being discovered should I find myself upside down. Blalck Bear looks like tight turns. You think I'll have trouble with an '08 4Runner (seems almost full-size)?

Snowy
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by SRT08BUS View Post
Make sure you go to Mesa Verde, not any trail but something you should not miss, I can't remember the train trip that is around that area that is a must! (can anyone help me out) And make sure to do all of the privet guided tours, worth it!
Thanks SRT08BUS. Been to Mesa Verde several times. I like Gila as well, and in fact will be heading through Gila again on my way into CO in Sept. Man, I feel like I lived in CO. I did the train trip a few winters back to Silverton (not sure it went all the way in winter). Drove up to Durango for a dog-sled trip and did that train trip too. Beautiful, for sure. Not sure what you mean by privet guided tours though?

Snowy
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Old 06-15-2010, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by MDH33 View Post
Silverton-Durango narrow guage railroad.

Pick up a Ouray/Telluride motor vehicle use map (MVUM) from the forest service. It will show you where all the legal routes are and where you are allowed to camp.
Thanks MDH33. I can see the map online and it looks good. Couldn't figure out where on my planned route I could count on finding one before I actually needed it, so I printed out forest service order form and will mail in for one ahead of time.

Snowy
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Old 06-16-2010, 11:01 AM
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You can camp most anywhere in the National Forest as long as you follow there posted regulations. Check the NFS website. Otherwise Black Bears decent into Telluride can be one of the more difficult trails, that and Poughkeepsie Gultch.

Be ready for the possibility of snow. Most likely a non issue but always a chance. So don't get caught without the proper gear.
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Old 06-16-2010, 07:10 PM
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You can camp most anywhere in the National Forest as long as you follow there posted regulations. Check the NFS website. Otherwise Black Bears decent into Telluride can be one of the more difficult trails, that and Poughkeepsie Gultch.

Be ready for the possibility of snow. Most likely a non issue but always a chance. So don't get caught without the proper gear.
Thanks Corbet. That decent is precisely what I was hoping for more info on. It sounds like it is multi-point turns at many of the corners, and a larger vehicle might be unable to turn in the given space. I have been on some trails in Mexico where the rock on the edge literally crumbles away if you get close to the edge, leaving the trails narrower and narrower at the points where you need it most until only motorcycles and ATV's can do them. Older 4runner's and FJ's were not as wide as an '08 4Runner, so I am looking for someone who has done this recently with a wide vehicle. Am I being overly concerned here? I'll be fine in cooler temps and will watch for precipitation of any kind as I don't have MT tires at the moment.

Actually, this last point brings up another question. I could be convinced my tires need to be replaced before the trip (285/70r17 Scorpion ATR's with 50k miles on them). I am waffling between bigger tires for the ground clearance (I think I can fit 315/70r17 if I reduce castor ~1/2"), and/or some more aggressive treads at the expense of highway drivability (e.g., DuraTrac's). From my own limited experiences in CO, ground clearance is not really as big a deal as it is in TX, AZ, or UT (crawling on big rocks), but I have only been on the tame trails there in CO.

What tires do you guys recommend for these trails (bias towards daily driver doing 1,000 highway miles just to get to the trails in the first place!)? Anyone running Bridgestone Deuler A/T Revo 2's or Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac's?

Snowy
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  #10  
Old 06-17-2010, 08:28 AM
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I have not been on Black Bear for a while but I run it in a bone stock 80 with the stock HWY tires. No issues. The county maintains that road, its really more intimidating than difficult in my opinon anyway. A spotter is a really good thing. As far as the switchbacks. I made most with out any reverse work. 3 point at the most.

You want an early start on that trail so you don't get stuck in a traffic jam waiting to decend into Telluride later in the day.

Any AT style tire should work fine for you here. Very little mud to be seen. Mostly just loose rock. I run Nitto Terra Grapplers right now.
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