Spring is rapidly approaching and you can feel the anticipation building for the upcoming off-road season–everyone is polishing up their Jeeps, saving up a bit of gas money, and heading into their nearest 4×4 service centers for some last minute mods. Unfortunately, all that excitement can result in some seriously crowded trails, especially during the first few weeks of warm weather, which can put a damper on your fun. So this year, after having your rig checked from head to toe at your local Fort Collins auto shop, make sure you consider these next few tips for a less stressful start to the season!
There’s no reason to hassle with crowds when all you want is some peace and quiet with your buddies, or to test out your latest purchase of used off-road parts. The off-road life is meant to be away from the hustle and bustle, so here a few ways you can keep it like that for years to come.
Go out mid-week.
Yes, not everyone can afford to take time off of work, or schedule it in, but the traffic is significantly less during the week–even during the middle of summer. If there is a particular trail you’ve been wanting to hit but you know is super popular, try to arrange a midweek jaunt (you don’t always have to be sick on sick days!) to minimize the crowds. Plus, driving to the trailhead should be quicker and shops and gas stations along the way won’t be packed with people either.
Master your skill set.
A large proportion of off-roaders are relatively new or just doing it for fun–very few actually rise to the level of advanced or even expert drivers. The more challenging the run is, the fewer people will attempt it. So therein lies some pretty good motivation to bump up your skills and experience level. Learning everything from how to perform your own 4×4 service to the right approach angles and gear choices can save you lots of time and hassles down the road. Once you’ve achieved some mastery in trail sport, you won’t need to waste your time with the jam-packed beginner’s roads.
If you’re new to the area or new to the sport altogether, it’s always a great idea to talk to the mechanics at your area Fort Collins auto shop and get their opinions. They not only are knowledgeable about the best used off road parts and how to install them, they usually know a lot about the local trails too. You can also visit community forums about nearby trails and when they experience the least amount of crowds. There is no shame in asking for other people’s opinions or advice–there are plenty of trails that few people know about. Who knows, they may be willing to share with you!
It may not sound like the most fun idea, but cutting down on the number of vehicles traveling in your group may be a last resort idea to getting through a crowded area. Perhaps your friend just did some awesome mods to his brand new Jeep and you still haven’t had a chance to drive it yet? Or you’ve been wanting to master your buddy’s temperamental stick shift. Switching off drivers during a run can be a great way to share the experience while cutting down on traffic and introducing more skills into your repertoire.
Pack it out.
If you are willing to reserve a few days and commit to a more hardcore camping trip, you can definitely escape the crowds (and pretty much everything else!). When you aren’t confined to just making an out and back trip, you can travel far into the wilderness where most people don’t have the time or expertise to go. Just be sure to check in with your 4×4 service center to make sure your rig is ready for a long excursion, and you feel comfortable making repairs on the fly if needed. Also, pack in a few spare used off road parts in case you have trouble on the trail. But most importantly- enjoy the fresh air and solitude!
When the weather starts turning warm and the alpine snows start to thaw, it can be nearly impossible to resist the call of the mountains. But you are not alone in this feeling and you may run into crowds if you’re not careful. So, keep these five tips in mind when you are gearing up for this off road season, and you can be sure to have a much more pleasant time!