Georgia Pass – Summit County, Colorado

Georgia Pass Road #355

Every Fall we always try to take at least one day trip to find Aspen gold.   This year we found an offroad trail with a little challenge and a little scenery — Georgia Pass.   This pass connects the towns of Jefferson and Breckenridge and was once a late 1800’s stagecoach trail that carried passengers from the Jefferson railroad terminal into Breckenridge and surrounding communities.

 

Trail Name: Georgia Pass

Trail Length: 11.6 miles

Highest Elevation: 11,585 feet 

We decided to enter the trail from Tiger Road just outside of Breckenridge, since this section of the pass was the most difficult. This part of Summit County used to be an active mining area and home to many small mining communities that have long since disappeared.

Georgia Pass

Our ascent up Georgia Pass was steep, narrow, and rocky.  There are numerous spurs off the main trail, which can make the trail somewhat confusing to follow. The road is marked with forest service road markers, but they can easily blend in with the dense trees and brush.  If you go, just be sure to follow 355 signs.

Ascending Georgia PassView from Georgia Pass

After emerging from the narrow trail, we drove past tree line and were greeted with a magnificent view.  We were slightly disappointed that we had yet to see any Aspens, but once we reached the top of the pass, we were able to see the gold foliage awaiting us on the other side.

Georgia Pass 11,585 feet elevationGeorgia Pass – elevation 11,585 feet.  Mount Guyot sits in the background.

Driving Georgia PassDescending the pass towards Jefferson, the road is well maintained and easily traveled by all vehicles….And is surrounded on either side by glowing Aspens.

Aspen Gold and Blue SkyContrast of the golden Aspen leaves against the Colorado blue sky.

Georgia Pass goldThe golden leaves continued around every corner.

Community AspensAspen Field

Lucky folks to live amongst the Aspens.

Cows with a ViewStopped to say “Hello.”

 

Aspen Grove on Weston PassTree on Weston Pass

Gold Aspens Weston PassWeston Pass Aspens

Once we finished Georgia Pass, it was still early in the day, so we continued down the highway and explored a portion of Weston Pass.  We found a few more amazing displays of fall color.

 

If you are curious about the history of Breckenridge and Summit County, here are two interesting websites:

Good Times Adventures: Gold Fever in Our Backyard

Summit County, Colorado: Mining History

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Kokopelli’s Trail

Kokopelli

Syllabification: Ko·ko·pel·li
Pronunciation: /ˌkōkəˈpeli /
A fertility god of the southwestern Native American culture. Depicted as a hunchbacked flute player, he is known as a playful prankster and storyteller.

Kokopelli's Trail

Kokopelli’s Trail is a 140 mile mountain bike and 4×4 trail that winds its way from Loma, Colorado through the desert to Moab, Utah.  It is best traveled with a group of like minded friends and strangers.  Our adventure began at Rabbit Valley just off of Interstate 70.  The trail for the day required little technical skill, but provided a good warm up for the following two days of wheeling.  We meandered along a cliff road with amazing canyon scenery and enjoyed the drive over the sandy trail. Day 1 was our shortest day with camp and a potluck planned at Fish Ford along the Colorado River. There was plenty of daylight to set up our Taj Mahal, hang out with friends, and grill brats for the potluck festivities.

Kokopelli impatiently called for us as we had a late morning start on Day 2.  The hunchbacked flute player decided to play a couple of tricks on us during the day, leading our group on 2 wrong turns off of the 4×4 trail and on to mountain biking portions of the trail.  Even though we had to back track and burn a few extra miles of fuel, the wrong turns led us on a river side drive and proved our Land Cruiser’s technical capability with a handful of difficult trail obstacles. Sometimes wrong turns aren’t so wrong.

The afternoon section of the trail was spent driving through the desert, along slabs of red rock, and stopping for lunch in the shadow of a large sandstone formation.  After our lunch break, it was a short drive to the end of the day’s trail near the historic Dewey Bridge. With plenty of daylight to spare, we took a side trip and headed to the Top of the World.  Top of the World is rated as a difficult trail with numerous ledges to climb and steep loose rocks.  Every mile of the grueling climb is worth it when you reach the highpoint of the trail.  This is definitely one the best trails in Moab for dramatic photos.  The scenery is second to none as you look out over the ledge to view the wide expanse of Onion Creek and Fisher Valley, with Professor Valley in the distance. We enjoyed views of the La Sal Mountains, numerous rock formations scattered throughout the canyon, and Arches National Park.  When it comes to heights, J is a little more adventurous than I and can easily take in the views while sitting along the edge of the ledge. For me, I stayed a safe distance from the massive dropoff.  After making our way down from Top of the World, we drove to the nearby area of Roberts Bottom and set up camp for the night. Buffalo chili was the chef’s choice for the evening meal.

The final day of the trail was considered the most difficult as we would be descending Rose Garden Hill.  The Hill is a long steep and rocky descent, which requires a spotter on the top portion of the trail due to high dropoffs and shifting rocks (good test for your sliders).  Furry B and I walked down the Hill to take photos of J driving down. Pictures do not do Rose Garden Hill justice, as it much steeper and complicated to drive than it appears in photos. After everyone made it down the Hill, we all stopped for a quick break and then continued our drive to Onion Creek. We finished up our Kokopelli adventure with a scenic drive into the La Sal Mountains, where snow still lay in patches on the ground. It was a great way to end our wheeling adventure as we found asphalt and headed into Moab.

Kokopelli’s Trail lives true to its name, being a beautiful storyteller and sharing his scenic music.

 

 

140+ miles and 3 days in the desert = The time of your life!

 

Spooky Run

The spooky night run is one of Rising Sun 4WD Club’s annual events and a favorite for families. It is a late fall fun run with a potluck picnic.  The kiddos get to wear their Halloween costumes and the drivers get into the season by decorating their trucks with Halloween lights. Bandit even had a good time sniffing out leftovers at the potluck while being chased by the kids. Barbour Fork trail is typically an easy trail, but add a little snow at the top and some broken parts, it turned into a long, cold, but fun evening.

Camping & Wheeling in Montezuma

We celebrated our long Columbus Day weekend and welcomed the first day of Fall with an overnight camping and wheeling trip in the mountains.  Our trio was excited to get outside and breathe some fresh mountain air.

We started the weekend with a foliage filled drive across Loveland Pass and set up camp just outside of Keystone near Montezuma Road.

We spent the rest of the morning and afternoon taking in the scenery from a couple of 4×4 trails.  Our first trail was Chihuahua Gulch; It is a short drive, but one of the most difficult trails off of Peru Creek.  A rocky and muddy drive with numerous water crossings, the road abruptly ends after approximately 2 miles and turns into a hiking trail.  We already had a second 4×4 road on the agenda, or else we would have taken advantage of the hike which leads to a lake at the base of Grizzly Peak.

After heating up some chili for lunch at the bottom of Chihuahua Gulch, we traveled a few miles to the town of Montezuma, and headed up to Santa Fe Peak.  The trail climbs to the summit at 13,160 feet and provides some pucker factor for passengers with lots of switchbacks and exposed shelf roads.  However, the views make this drive worthwhile.

After a successful summit, it was time to head back to the campsite.  We fished (no bites), ate some bison burgers (lots of bites), and relaxed by the best campfire ever.

 

Here’s a short video of the adventure:

3rd Annual 100s in the Hills

After months of emails, texts and conference calls with the 3 other Co-Directors, it was finally time to hit the road. Bandit and I had the Cruiser and trailer packed up and we were off for the 3rd Annual 100s in the Hills event. Some of you might remember a few years ago a trip we took to the San Juans to camp and wheel with some friends. Well, this small excursion has grown significantly in the past three years to a nationally recognized event. This year we had almost 30 vehicles from all over the country, 65 people in attendance and twenty-three sponsors. Located in a remote area where everyone is to be self sufficient, we require all participants to practice the leave no trace principles. This event takes quite a bit of logistics and planning, which was completely worthwhile. No one left disappointed.

Unfortunately Kristy was out of town on business, but she is sure to attend next year. I wrote an article that was published in the November/December issue of Toyota Trails magazine on this years event. Please click below for the online edition of the article page 19:

Toyota Trails Nov/Dec 3013

Below are more pictures and a link to the 100s in the Hills Facebook page:

Facebook/100s in the Hills

Day #1: Clear Lake family fun run

Day #2: Ophir Pass & Imogene Pass

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Day #3: Black Bear Pass

Day #3 continued, Directors run back to camp and night run:

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