Rafi B.

Colorado 4×4 Trails – Boulder County

To the outdoor enthusiast, it’s no wonder that the Boulder area is talked about with such reverence. The jagged outline of the Flatirons, the winding canyons, and the rugged forests are enough to knock the wind out of your lungs. Sometimes literally. The off-road recreation is no exception. Just be sure to take your vehicle to a certified 4×4 mechanic for a tune up before heading off to explore these trails!

Middle Saint Vrain

  • Skill Level: Challenging
  • Trail Length: 8.4 miles
  • Nearest Town: Nederland
  • Elevation: 8,600 to 9,800 feet

If you’re looking to challenge your off-road skills while catching some serious views, consider heading to the Middle Saint Vrain and Coney Creek trails. Deep-water crossings and giant rock outcroppings are just two of the adrenaline-pumping obstacles you’ll encounter here.

Located on the edge of the Indian Peaks Wilderness, these trails form a loop best accessed from the Middle Saint Vrain trailhead (the Coney Creek trailhead has limited parking). Heading northwest on the Peak to Peak Highway (CO-72), make a right turn at Peaceful Valley Road and follow approximately one mile to the trailhead. While it’s only open seasonally (June-October), the trail is a mere hour outside of Boulder, which means this 4×4 adventure is one you can easily put on your to do list.

Bunce School Road

  • Skill level: Easy
  • Trail Length: 5.3 miles
  • Nearest Town: Nederland
  • Elevation: 8,200-8,800 feet

A popular and sometimes crowded trail, Bunce School Road is ideal for a newer driver looking to sharpen their skills. It’s a mainly mellow ride with a few rocky sections and dirt playgrounds, all surrounded by beautiful dense forest. If you want to make a day of it, there is an old plane crash site to check out and several camping areas scattered around the area. This trail is perfect when you’re looking to test out your offroad vehicle and needing to decide on your next auto parts purchase. It’s also open year round to allow for some snow play during those sometimes-boring winter months!

The trailhead is located very close to the Middle Saint Vrain trail near to Camp Dick. From Peak to Peak Highway, turn on Peaceful Valley Road and follow the signs for a Point of Interest. This will take you to the Bunce School where the trail begins.

Caribou Flats

  • Skill Level: Easy to Moderate
  • Trail Length: 2.7 miles
  • Nearest Town: Nederland
  • Elevation: 9,700-10,000 feet

Breathtaking elevation. A ghost town. A creek crossing. Tons of mud. What’s not to love about Caribou Flats? Featuring several exciting obstacles that are rarely seen in easy trails, this run is sure to please the 4×4 beginner or a veteran just looking for a good time. The views are incredible along the route, which plays host to a rocky section, rushing water, and plenty of tight ruts to challenge your vehicle’s suspension. Just be sure to service your ride and double check your auto parts before tackling this course.

From Nederland, follow the Peak to Peak Highway approximately 6.8 miles to CO Rd 116 and turn west. Follow this for about 4.2 miles until you reach Forest Service Road 505. The trail is fairly well marked and is best traveled in summer and early fall, as the creek is often high during spring. Keep in mind, this trail is also popular with mountain bikers, so always explore with caution.

Lefthand Canyon

  • Skill level: Moderate to challenging
  • Trail length: 6.5 miles
  • Nearest Town: Boulder
  • Elevation: 6,100-7,200 feet

A Boulder classic, Lefthand Canyon hosts a vast network of trails ranging in difficulty. The main run is one of the more popular challenges in the area, both because it’s very close by and it’s one that seems tailor-made for your custom rock crawler. Stone ledges, cliff overlooks, and strenuous hills make for a sometimes difficult but always exhilarating ride. The canyon is the location of the infamous “Big Momma Hill”, a long stretch of rocky uphill terrain that is a challenge for many vehicles; especially those not outfitted correctly. But if you make it to the top, bragging rights are all yours.

From the city, head north on US-36 for approximately 4 miles, then turn west on Lefthand Canyon Drive. The trailhead will be on the north (right hand) side of the road about 3.5 miles up the road.

As with any offroad journey, it’s a good idea to check with your local 4×4 mechanic to make sure your rig is properly equipped with clean and functioning auto parts before heading off. And of course, exploring as a group is not only safer but makes the day much more fun – after all, you’re going to want witnesses for all those rocky hills you’re going to conquer!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *