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Old 03-27-2005, 12:15 PM   #1
MooreRon OP
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When Do The Colorado Jeep Trails Open?

There's about a 1/2 dozen KTM 950's heading out from Dallas for Moab on May 26 and I'd like to plan several off-road passes through northern NM and CO.

The roads I'm looking at are NF-421 that heads north off of 64 west of Tres Piedras in northern NM and comes out on SR-17 a few miles west of Antonito, CO.

From there I would like to head west and pick up NF-250 off of SR-17 and follow it to Park Creek Rd. where it ends at US-160 about 6 miles south of South Fork, CO.

From there I would like to take SR-149 to Lake City, CO and pick up CR-20 west through Animas Forks (ghost town), over Engineer's Pass then exit at CR-18 onto US-550 south of Ouray, CO.

In Ouray, possibly pick up Imogene Pass and take it into Telluride and then on to Moab.

Are these passes/roads usually open around the Memorial Day weekend in May?

Thanks for the help!
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Old 03-27-2005, 12:45 PM   #2
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Colorado passes in May? Good luck! The New Mexico passes might be passable (never been on those), but Engineer and Imogene are likely to be impassable until late July, and some passes are sometimes impassable all summer depending on snow loads for the year. Late May or early June you will still find large snowfields blocking your way.
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Old 03-27-2005, 04:38 PM   #3
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You might have better luck if you head toward the east or west side of the range. I ride them quite a bit, but my rule is if I can't fish the river without ice smacking my knees, don't ride. Independence pass is usually clear in june, but that can change anytime, our snowiest month is March I believe, so travel at your own risk, and our weather changes faster than it does in Texas. That time of year bring a coolmax jersey and your electric jacket. Sounds like a great ride, hope it works out. Personally I'd make the run labor day instead.
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Old 03-27-2005, 06:31 PM   #4
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Thanks for the feeback. The purpose of the trip is Moab and the passes are just something I wanted to put together to make the trip a little more interesting. Based on this feedback, we'll stick to the blacktop and I may try to hit these passes by myself sometime in summer.

Thanks again!
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Old 03-27-2005, 06:47 PM   #5
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You could do the pavement through Cloudcoft NM and NM152 through Hillsboro then go N on NM15 and take the Continental Divide Trail (dirt) all the way to US 60 and the Very large Array or more west and end up on 180 which would connect to 191. Near Blanding UT there is 30+ miles of dirt that connects to a newer road E of Monticello and then on to Moab.
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Old 03-27-2005, 08:24 PM   #6
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Anotonito to South Fork via Platoro will probably be open since it is County road. Could have a fair bit of ice and snow pack on it though. Call a lodge in Platoro to find out. Look on web for number.

Imogene, Engineer, Cinnamon and other high 4wd pass roads are FRs (forest roads) and will not open until late June or mid July.

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Old 03-27-2005, 08:33 PM   #7
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In '03 we rode the passes in the area in mid June. Imogene, Engineer, Corkscrew, Cinnamon and some others.Everything was open except Black Bear, and riding conditions were great. I haven't kept up on conditions this year though.
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Old 03-27-2005, 09:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barko1
You could do the pavement through Cloudcoft NM and NM152 through Hillsboro then go N on NM15 and take the Continental Divide Trail (dirt) all the way to US 60 and the Very large Array or more west and end up on 180 which would connect to 191. Near Blanding UT there is 30+ miles of dirt that connects to a newer road E of Monticello and then on to Moab.
Good info!

Man, I'd love to live in Cloudcroft. Ouray is probably my all time favorite, but Cloudcroft is high on the list.
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Old 03-28-2005, 12:49 PM   #9
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The San Juan mountains are at about 170% of the normal snowpack for right now, or almost equal to the last two years combined for this date. We got a couple more feet up high in the last week with more coming mid-week. If the high passes are open before July, we'll be fighting epic floods from all the snowmelt.
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Old 03-28-2005, 01:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatChance
The San Juan mountains are at about 170% of the normal snowpack for right now, or almost equal to the last two years combined for this date. We got a couple more feet up high in the last week with more coming mid-week. If the high passes are open before July, we'll be fighting epic floods from all the snowmelt.
Thanks, I did not know that and it's good to know for the planning of this trip.
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Old 03-28-2005, 02:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FatChance
...If the high passes are open before July, we'll be fighting epic floods from all the snowmelt.


I think our version of epic floods differs a bit from the flats. We get a few washed out banks (and homes from people that build on the banks) and roads. A flood in the flats?



IIRC, the last time we had "flooding" was after the particularly wet year of 1995
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Old 03-30-2005, 06:17 AM   #12
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I had a "Fourth of July Rule" when considering Colorado's backcountry passes; in a "normal" snow year, forget travelling them until after then. Some (like Mosquito) are notorious for staying snowed in until late summer, or not opening at all.
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Old 07-18-2008, 10:41 PM   #13
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Rode Engineers, Cinnamon, and Imogene this past week.
Imogene opened as of 7/3/08 and I think it was the last one to open this year.
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Old 07-19-2008, 07:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnduroRdr
Rode Engineers, Cinnamon, and Imogene this past week.
Imogene opened as of 7/3/08 and I think it was the last one to open this year.
Black Bear just opened over the past week.
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