Vail, Eagle and Edwards are just a few cities you’ll find here in Eagle County. Besides popular ski resorts and mountain towns, you’ll find some beautiful, scenic and challenging 4×4 trails to explore with your vehicle. If you’re looking to do some offroad adventuring in Eagle County, you may want to consider some of these prime offroad trails.
1. Adams Lake
Skill Level: Medium
Trail Length: 17 miles
Nearby Towns: Eagle
Elevation: 10,400 to 11,200 feet
Adams Lake is a challenging yet scenic trail located in the White River National Forest. The lake itself is breathtakingly beautiful and worth the trip there. You’ll first start at the end of the Coffee Pot Road Trail located at Heart Lake. The trail starts off rough and will take you to the trailhead for the Transfer Trail on the left side. Continue past this trailhead towards Adams Lake. The second half of the trail is again a bit rough but is considerably more scenic. When you approach the far end of the loop you’ll see a fork in the road, if you want to continue heading towards Adams Lake make sure to stay towards the left. This particular section of the trail is steep and muddy, so make sure you have good offroad tires and other 4×4 parts. Soon after you’ll eventually reach the lake and there are a variety of alternate trails to choose from, should you want to explore some more of the area.
2. Grizzly Jeep Trail
Skill Level: Medium
Trail Length: 5.7 miles
Nearby Towns: Eagle
Elevation: 10,400 to 10,800 feet
Also known as Forest Service Road 632, the Grizzly Jeep Trail is again in the White River National Forest. It is a scenic road that connects Coffee Pot Road with the White Owl Lake trail, and also has a couple boulders and challenges to present. A vehicle with 4wd and extra 4×4 parts is recommended, but a 2wd vehicle will be fine as long as the conditions are ideal. Starting at Coffee Pot Road, travel west on the dirt road. The trail goes through wild flowers and cool rock formations. It’s very easy to navigate with few challenges, however this get’s a “medium” rating for one section that is rocky and may require some clearance. Also keep in mind that when it rains the trail gets very muddy, which can cause your vehicle to get stuck if you don’t have 4wd. Once you cross a creek you’ll find yourself in the Grizzly Cow Camp. There are some nice areas to explore here, but should you choose to continue you’ll eventually intersect with the White Owl Lake Trail.
3. Holy Cross Trail
Skill Level: Extremely Difficult
Trail Length: 9.85 Miles
Nearby Towns: Vail, Leadville
Elevation: 9,350 to 11,800 feet
Many consider the Holy Cross Trail to be one of the most challenging offroad trails in Colorado. You will need a 4×4 with plenty of ground clearance, huge tires, and a variety of helpful aftermarket 4×4 parts and 4 wheel parts. See your 4×4 mechanic if you have any questions before attempting this difficult trial. If you don’t believe us how difficult this trail is, conduct an Internet search and look at the pictures. This is a fun trail if you’re looking for obstacles to climb, put your 4×4 to the test, and view some fantastic scenery. There is a sign at the entrance giving some recommendations on what type of equipment you may need. There are also signs throughout the trail that indicate when it gets more challenging. Also quite comically, there happen to be notifications as to how much it would cost to get your vehicle towed at certain sections, should you get stuck.
The trail first begins with some smaller, rocky obstacles. There is a small rock garden that has a different variety of rock sizes and you can decide if you want to take an easier or more challenging approach. The end of this rocky section has an intersection; you should continue straight uphill to do the rest of the trail. You’ll eventually come up to a variety of obstacles which each present their own challenges. The first main obstacle is the Notch, which isn’t particularly difficult, but you can definitely get some flexing going on with your axles. Next is the Slab, which is a very steep ledge. If it’s wet, it may be impossible to get up, so take the bypass to the right. Next you’ll cross the Tippy Tree and then get to Steep Rocky. There are a few ways past this, so choose your favorite! You’ll then get to French Creek and then finally reach Holy Cross City. The most challenging obstacle is after this, known as Cleveland Rocky. It’s a very large rock, which can easily tip you over, so take it slow!