September 14, 2017

Peach Valley OHV, Olathe, Colorado (north of Montrose)

56 miles 

This is a unique  OHV area and easy to get to.
From Olathe, Colorado, turn east on Falcon Road,  4 miles, which is paved and turns into Peach Valley Road, there is 1 mile of gravel road.  There is a BLM sign and the big area is on your right.  This is a large area with two pit toilets, several picnic tables, some with pavilions. There is no water/electric/dump, but a large flat area to free camp. BLM has maps at the kiosk.

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There is several loading docks, a play-practice area for children and a obstacle course with jumps. Around the staging area you will find a large open area with adobe clay hills to climb for motorbikes or Atv's. When it rains, it gets very slippery, so let it dry up before hitting the hills. The trails are marked with names as well as which machine can go on that trail
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Day 1- 11 miles- After setting up our camper, we played in the open hills area, learning where they go, and how steep the hills are. Some of the dirt bikes, go straight up the hill side, be careful to ride within your ability. Then we headed out to Eagle Trail, which was marked dangerous, but it was more rocky with elevation. It was marked a road on the map(BLM) but was more of a trail. We came to a cross road with a huge drop off!  we turned left Red Rocks-Nighthorse Trail, then Wave road. We made a circle of the trails and ended back at the campground.
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Day 2 -45 miles Nice sunny day, we headed south and rode up some high hills, wow! We finally made it to the Elephant skin road, which we rode south to Flat Top Trailhead, about 6 miles. Elephant skin road is a easy 4x4 road. Most of the trails off this road were for motorbikes or hiking. We did go up the Dump Ridge trail. It rose 530 ft in a short distance, with sheer drop offs on both sides!!
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When we reached the top, we turned around, since the trail turned quite narrow.  Returning toward camp, we took the Chuckar road, which is a slow 4x4 bumpy road, (4 miles one way) that dead ends at the Gunnison River, which flows north in the Gunnison Gorge Wilderness. We thought we'd be the only ones there, but there were 10 vehicles, 10 pack mules and a few people. We found out, pack mules carry rafts and gear, one mile down 1,000 ft to the river, for a 3 day rafting trip.
We rode some trails up and down the hills making our way to camp. They are so much fun, but pick the one for your machine and riding experience. They are steeper then they look!
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INFORMATION>
LOCATION>   NEAREST CITY=Olathe, Co   DIRECTIONS=4 miles east on Falcon road/Peach road
AREA >   TYPE OF LAND=-desert, juniper, mountain  , OWNER=  BLM
QUALITY >  Pro-diverse & camping on site / Con-could have more Atv trails /  Length of stay 2-3 days/ Rating-stars 4
TERRAIN>  MILES OF TRAILS, hills / dunes / mud / dust /elevation                                             TRAIL MAINTENCE   / SQ. MILE AREA -9,700 acres/  NEAR BY TRAILS-Flat Top & Elephant Skin OHV staging 
REGULATIONS> Permit required-Co.OHV sticker / Camping-on site /whip-no / helmets req-no. / width req.-yes
FEE> Camping / Entry-no fee
KEY SERVICES> Camping / Gasoline / Diesel / First Aid /  Water /  Dump / Food=Olathe or Montrose, Colorado
SIDE TRIPS>  Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument, Grand Mesa to the north
CONTACTS>  BLM office in Montrose

September 12, 2017

Wagon Wheel Trail System, Meeker, Colorado

35 miles

   We stopped at Meeker to load up on grocery, gas, diesel and information from the Forest Service Office on main street, along with the Champer of Commerce. Nice small town
  We headed east of Meeker Colorado, on County road #8, a paved road, which follows beside the White River. It is a beautiful 32 mile drive, the landscape changes every mile.  At first the area is flat and dry, with juniper growing on the hill side.  The bottom land is farmed and there are amazing homes in the valley.  The further out, you will see aspen with a mix of pine trees on the steep hills. One home was called Cattle Lack Ranch!  We camped at an official BLM campground with water, and clean pit toilets, $23 per night, but one of us holds the Golden Age pass, so the fee is 1/2.
I had numerous maps of the area including the downloadable MVUM on my tablet, which shows us exactly where we are on the trails.

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Day 1-- 35 miles  We headed east on County road 8 to the Dead Horse Loop road.  It was a easy drive with fantastic views into the valley.  Big aspen trees line the well marked trail. We saw a few elk hunters camped in the woods. The highest elevation was 10300 ft. when a dark cloud passed over and dropped some hail.  The views were spectacular, from big grass meadows, spruce trees to mountain tops.  We also rode on the narrow ATV trails, which we found enjoyable. We saw s large herd of cattle being rounded up for the fall season. The cowboy filled us in on the lay of the land, including sheep range permits over the hills. We made a big circle coming out on 280 FS #.
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Day 2—Due to an electrical problem in the camper, we had to go into Meeker and fix it. The business in town are well supplied and friendly. There is a yearly Wagon Wheel OHV Rendezvous in July out of Meeker, Colorado. They have it all organized with 14 trails. You can have a guide, or use the booklet with all the information you will need to go out and enjoy this great area!

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INFORMATION>
LOCATION>   NEAREST CITY=Meeker, Colorado   DIRECTIONS=East of Meeker, turn on County Rd. 8, go 32 miles out
AREA >   TYPE OF LAND= forest, mountain  , OWNER= Nat Forest
QUALITY >  Pro-lots of miles of trails / Con-finding a place to camp and stage /  Length of stay- 5 days / Rating-stars-5
TERRAIN>  MILES OF TRAILS, 250 miles- hills / forest / dust / water crossing /elevation     TRAIL MAINTENCE –yes   / SQ. MILE AREA -/  NEAR BY TRAILS- Sand Wash Basin, Maybell
REGULATIONS> Permit required / Camping-depends /whip-no / helmets req-no. / width req.-some places
FEE> Camping-depends where / Entry-just Colorado OHV permit
KEY SERVICES> Camping / Gasoline / Diesel / First Aid /  Water /  Dump / Food=Meeker
GPS POINTS>
SIDE TRIPS>Trappers Lake
CONTACTS>Forest Service Office, Meeker, Co

September 9, 2017

Sand Wash Basin , Maybell, Colorado 135 miles

 
     Directions, 30 miles west of Craig, Colorado, to Maybell, turn onto Hwy 318, 18 miles, turn north on to county road 67, there is dry camping along these roads.
     Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area was started in 1971, with 65 horses, the numbers can double in 4 years. There can be 163-400 wild horses in the 150,000 acre basin. The area ranges from 5,800-8,125 feet. Desert floor, rolling type hills, to cliffs and pinyon/juniper woodlands.  We were riding during  hunting seasons, so we wore our orange vest while riding.  You could spend 6 days here, viewing horses and riding on the nice BLM trails.
  We stopped in Craig at the Chamber of Commerce, where they were very helpful and gave us numerous maps and information. We also purchased our Colorado OHV sticker for $25 per machine. Pick up a BLM map for this area, since there are numerous marked BLM trails.  Before you leave town, load up on water and gas.  This is a BIG area, so watch your gas gauge and have your maps and a GPS.

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#Day 1,--30 miles      We turned in on County road 67,  just past the kiosk and we found a camping spot.  Riding, we headed north on 67, then 48. We veered west on a marked BLM trail 2048D, where we found 28 wild horses grazing at the bottom of a juniper hill.  They weren't afraid, and we were careful to stay our distance.
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   Our second herd was a group of 10, which were further off the road.  On the next trail, we saw a small band, over the bank.  When this trail dead ended, we turned around, and to our amazement the stallion had moved up the bank and close to us, for a better look at us! As we drove by, he kept an eye on us.  We tried another trail for a shortcut home, and found ourselves at the top of a dropoff, there was a path down the steep decent, it was exciting as the soil is dry clay , and it was rolling as we came down the hill.
      We were lucky enough to visit with Patti Mosby (who has been keeping records of the horses for 18 years) She is a professional photographer and chronicles the life of the horses. She was very informative about the lives of the horses, how they interact, plus she know many of the names of the horses. She mentioned where to find the famous Picasso, one of her favorites, a 25-28 year old, paint stallion (which we didn't see)  Pattie documented to the BLM wild horse board, a foal which was born on Sept 7th, a filly named Jetta. The next two horse pictures are Pattie’s. 
Piccaso 2 Jetta
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-Day 2--34 miles   We headed west on the BLM trail, rising in elevation, going  thru Juniper trees, with great views from the top ridge.  We stayed on this trail for 8 miles.  We came down on to Road 48, where we saw 2 groups of horses, with pinto stallions. As we turned on to Road 80, we stopped at a overlook and saw a herd of 24 coming up the hill towards us. We stayed put and out of the way and when they reached the top, they stared at us, yet continued on their way to the watering hole.  It's not on the map, but here is  the GPS # N 40* 43.285'  W 108* 30.238' .  We were told, to be at the watering hole about 3 pm and many bands come together to drink.  We took a drive in our truck, on Hwy 318 to the Vermillion waterfall, and saw 7 elk.

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Day 3-- 71 miles. We were going to ride on the east border of the Basin, but didn't come across a good trail, one was so steep, we had to turn around. We rode on the main road 67 to Lookout Mountain, elevation 8088ft. We stopped for lunch and enjoyed the incredible views all around.  This is the north fence border of the Basin, but you can still see for miles. Later we were told  that to the west is an area of  Hoo Doos, in a valley.  Some elk hunter said we could stay on 67b and ride all the way to Bears Ears. We took BLM trail 2058A, a short cut to the watering hole. We made it by 3pm. and right away a band of 20 were coming to the water. In the one hour we were watching,  2 more bands came to drink. totaling 45 horses. It was a privilege to watch them  interact with each other.  Amazing sights! A wild horse will drink 10-15 gallons and a breed mare will drink 20-30 gallons per water visit.

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Video of Wild horses running to the watering hole

INFORMATION>
LOCATION>   NEAREST CITY=Maybell, Colorado   DIRECTIONS=   30 miles west of Craig/ 18 miles NW of Maybel, Co
AREA >   TYPE OF LAND=-desert,hills  , OWNER=  BLM
QUALITY >  Pro-Wild horses, not busy, lots of area to ride / Con- need better maps /  Length of stay 3 days / Rating-stars 3-4
TERRAIN>  MILES OF TRAILS, hills /high desert / mud-if wet, impassable / dust /elevation     TRAIL MAINTENCE   / SQ. MILE AREA  150,000-/  NEAR BY TRAILS-  Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge- not sure
REGULATIONS>  Camping-anywhere /whip-no / helmets req.-no / width req-no.
FEE> Camping-no / Entry-Just Co OHV decal
KEY SERVICES> Camping, Gasoline, Water, Dump, Food, Diesel-Maybell & Craig / First Aid in Craig
SIDE TRIPS>Dinosaur National Monument, Irish Canyon, Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge