Like every year, my buddy Glenn and I are going to head out to (Western) Colorado and (Eastern) Utah in September. The plan is for us to head out from our respective home QTH (West-Central Iowa, South-Western Missouri,) and meet at the Lower Piedra campground.
We stay there for a couple of days, before heading West via Durango to Dolores, stocking up at the Walmart and having a nice BBQ lunch. We then head up to Montrose “overland” style.
For anybody wondering how we find great trails, and get great intelligence of what to expect, I cannot recommend Trails Offroad enough. Many trail reviews and details are available for free, with select trails’ details being available only to “All Access” members.
Before continuing my summary of our September expedition, let me explain why I like “Trails Offroad,” and shelled out the $25/year membership fee.
(NOTE: My endorsement for ‘Trails Offroad’ is my own; I am not being paid for this, and I did pay the $25/y for the last 2 years out of my own pocket. In fact, the folks at Trails Offroad do not know I am endorsing and featuring them on my blog here…)
So, why do I pay for my “All-Access” membership? Because I like the detail the trail reviews provide. As an example, we will also drive the Rimrocker Trail from Montrose to Moab in September, and Trails Offroad has been a fabulous resource researching, and getting a very detailed idea of what to expect. Let me give you a small insight into the thoroughness of the trail reviews on the site.
The image above shows the trails reviewed on the site for Colorado. Here is the top of the review page of the Rimrocker (click on the image to be taken to the actual page on Trails Offroad…)
Note the fact that the site directly integrates with GaiaGPS, my favorite offroad mapping app, but also provides the actual GPX file for the trail, if one prefers using a different mapping app, or even to upload to a dedicated GPS device. Also note the numbered red circles. Clicking on any of them takes you right to a feature located there on the trail. e.g. let’s click on #14,
Clicking any picture will show an enlarged version. The typical ‘sections’ shown on the site are – in order – The overview as depicted above (“Rimrocker / Montrose, Colorado”,) followed by “Highlights,” which gives an ‘executive summary’ of the trail. Then (if available,) a video of the trail (in this case, https://youtu.be/nLDP6jWT1O8,) and a 7-day weather outlook for the trail. Following this general information is the “Route Information,” and “Technical Rating,” the details of which can be found at this link.
After this, a detailed “Description” of the trail is provided, before each waypoint (remember the red circles on the overview map? …) are shown with a brief description and photographs. The page ends with GPS coordinates to the beginning of the trail, and a description on how to get there, followed by details on camping along the trail, and finally Trail Reviews left by folks who drove the trail.
Feel free to go over there and take a look for yourself – https://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/1843-rimrocker
That’s a lot of good information, if you ask me. And what, you may ask yourself, will I see if the trail details are for “All Access” members only? Well, then you’ll see something along these lines,
There you have it – my resource of choice to find interesting trails to explore in areas I am not that familiar with. As a side note, I use https://iOverlander.com to find (dispersed) camp sites when on a trip… (Let me know if you’d like me to give details on how I find good camp spots using iOverlander, and other apps…)
Back to our September expedition… Like I mentioned above, we will be heading from Dolores up to Montrose, via Dolores to Norwood and Dave Wood trails, before exploring the Silverton area for a couple of days.
After Silverton, we plan on heading back to Montrose, restock with provisions from the Walmart there, and then head on over to Moab via the RimRocker Trail. Depending on connectivity, I may provide updates on the blog as we are travelling about. For those interested, I am also providing a track log for the trip (NOTE: This map will only be active once the trip has started…:)