Off-Roading in Colorado

Beginner's Tips for back country Roads in Colorado

Off-Roading in Colorado

Beginner's Tips for back country Roads in Colorado

In this article, we'll go over the top tips for staying safe and having fun while enjoying our Back County Roads  in Colorado.

The Ouray and Telluride regions are a great place to explore the San Juan Mountains. 

Remember: Take precautions and make safety a priority, you'll have a great time in Ouray, or wherever your adventures take you. 

General Info


Colorado, especially the Ouray and Telluride regions, is a mecca for back country roads. Hundreds of miles of trail traverse the mountains of Colorado, many of which take riders over 10,000 feet. The views from the high mountain peaks and trails are indescribable. Everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime, but we recommend it as often as possible! At Ouray Riverside Resort we rent brand new Jeep Rubicons so all our visitors can experience what Colorado jeeping is all about. We've also put together a guide to back country roads in Colorado so those unfamiliar with this sport can be safe and have a great time!

Tell Someone Your Plans


Tell someone where you're going and when you're expecting to be back. In the event that something goes wrong, you get stuck or your vehicle breaks down, you've got someone who will send help as soon as they suspect you may be in danger. This simple rule can turn a potential tragedy into an inconvenience during your Colorado off road adventure.

Go With a Buddy


This universal safety rule is especially helpful when it comes to back country roads. A second person can stand outside and help you pick the best line over a technical obstacle, help you maneuver tight corners and switchbacks, and act as a second pair of eyes while you're hyper focused on the road.

It's great to have someone in the passenger's seat, but it's even better if they bring their own vehicle. This way, they can still help you navigate obstacles, but they can also act as an anchor if you need to winch yourself out of mud, sand, or snow. Once you climb above the forest line, there aren't many trees to anchor around.
2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Back View - Image Courtesy of Jeep Chrysler
Rent the New 2021 Jeep Rubicon
2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Front View - Image Courtesy of Jeep Chrysler
Rent the New 2021 Jeep Rubicon
2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Front View 2 - Image Courtesy of Jeep Chrysler
Rent the New 2021 Jeep Rubicon

Be Prepared


Bring plenty of drinking water, extra food and sunscreen. Dehydration and sunburn happen fast at high elevations. If you do find yourself out longer than you planned, it's important you have enough supplies. A shovel, traction boards and a winch are also great tools to bring along. And pack some spare hand tools if you can. It gets cold in the mountains, regardless of the season, so bring warm clothes and a rain jacket.

The San Juan mountains of Colorado are notorious for their sudden and violent storms. Check the weather forecast before heading into the mountains, but even if the forecast looks good, storms can form and fade fast. Heavy rain can wash out portions of mountain roads and create landslides that block back country roads for hours or days. Snow storms can happen year round, even in July. Consider renting a Jeep Rubicon from Ouray Riverside Resort if you want to make sure you stay dry.

Know Your Vehicle


This is especially important if you're renting, borrowing, or driving a vehicle you aren't familiar with. Drive it for a few minutes before you get on a Colorado Jeep trail that will require precise control of the vehicle. Does it have rear and/or front lockers? Does it have sway bars? Can they be enabled and disabled? Do you know what switches and knobs are responsible for controlling all of this? Don't wait until you need these features and settings to discover how they work.

If you'll be rock crawling or dealing with snow, mud or sand, you'll want to air down, which is when you remove some of the air from your tires to get better traction. Standard tire pressure is around 32 PSI, but in some back country road conditions, 12-20 PSI may be preferable. If you are renting, ask before you remove air from the tires. You'll also want to make sure your vehicle is cleaned after every outing. Take it through a car wash to make sure it stays in great condition.

Know Your Colorado Off-Road Trail


Take a map or GPS device with you while you're back country roading to make sure you're staying on the correct trail. There can be dozens of different scenic drives in Colorado that zig-zag, connect and separate from one another. Know how many miles you'll be driving and how long it's likely to take. Pay special attention to areas where there might be snow, river crossings, or technical areas like rock fields or steep hills or declines. 

Start Off Easy


There are plenty of great off road trails (Colorado) with beautiful scenery that don't require expert back country experience. Explore the forests and meadows of the San Juan mountains while you gain experience and time behind the wheel. Once you're ready, you can tackle some of the more difficult off road Jeep trails (Colorado).  The Back country should be exciting and fun, not terrifying and dangerous.  Stay on county road trails that match your skill level and you'll have a great time.

If you love fresh mountain air and unbeatable scenery, you'll love Ouray, Colorado. It's known as the Jeeping capital of the world, and for good reason. It'll be a trip you'll never forget!

Stay with us while you explore Colorado. We have rental cabins, a motel, RV park, general store, laundry facility, carwash and we rent Jeep Rubicons all at Ouray Riverside Resort.
2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Back View - Image Courtesy of Jeep Chrysler
Rent the New 2021 Jeep Rubicon
2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Front View - Image Courtesy of Jeep Chrysler
Rent the New 2021 Jeep Rubicon
2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Front View 2 - Image Courtesy of Jeep Chrysler
Rent the New 2021 Jeep Rubicon