Beginner's Tips for Off-roading in Colorado

We'll go over the top tips for staying safe and having fun while off-roading in Colorado. The Ouray and Telluride regions are a great place to explore the San Juan Mountains.

Colorado, especially the Ouray and Telluride regions, is a mecca for off-roading. 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 off-roading in Colorado so those unfamiliar with this sport can be safe and have a great time!

Driving on mountain trails is inherently dangerous, but if you take precautions and make safety a priority, you'll have a great time in Ouray, or wherever your adventures take you.

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.
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Go with a buddy

This universal safety rule is especially helpful when it comes to off-roading. 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.

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 off-roaders 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.

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Front View 2 - Image Courtesy of Jeep Chrysler
Rent the New 2021 Jeep Rubicon
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

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 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 off-roading 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 trail

Take a map or GPS device with you while you're off-roading to make sure you're staying on the correct trail. There can be dozens of different trails 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 trails with beautiful scenery that don't require expert off-roading 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 mountain routes in the area. Off-roading should be exciting and fun, not terrifying and dangerous. Stay on 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
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Dog Info

Our Jeeps are NOT pet friendly. We love our four legged friends, but some of our customers have pet allergies. We recommend the Ouray Dog Company--right next to our resort--for dog boarding (day and overnight), grooming, baths, food, and supplies.

Call 970-325-2188, or visit their Facebook page.

Ouray Jeep Rental Policies

Purchase tire & windshield insurance for $25/day vs. replacement tires at $250 each and windshields at $500. Insurance covers (1) tire under normal driving conditions.

You must provide your own proof of comprehensive and collision insurance prior to rental. (Most insurance cards do not show this.) We do not provide or offer any insurance of any type. You are responsible for 100% of all liability, damage or loss by you including damage caused by weather, acts of God or terrain conditions. You are responsible for the cost of repair or actual cash value of the vehicle on the day of loss if it not repairable or if we elect not to repair it. You are responsible for the theft of the vehicle, loss of use, diminished value of the vehicle caused by damage to it or repair of it. Damage or replacement costs are determined by manufacturer's List Price at the time of the incident.

Reservations must be canceled 48 hours before your 1st rental day to receive a full refund. Failure to contact us by email or by phone will result in the full charge of the credit/debit card on file. Please note: Voicemails will not be accepted for cancellations, no exceptions. You must have an email confirmation for your cancellation from us. Changes to reservations will not be accepted 48 hours prior to rental.

Anyone 21 years of age or older may be an additional driver of the Jeeps. However, they must provide separate full coverage auto insurance (unless there is proof that they are covered under the primary driver's insurance), as well as a driver's license. Their name, date of birth, and phone number must also be listed on the rental agreement.

Black Bear Pass and Poughkeepsie Gulch are prohibited in all rentals.

8am to 5pm. Pick-up may be available between 5:30- 6:00 pm the night before—check for availability. Please leave comment on your reservation if you would like to do this, we will try to accommodate.

As of 1 minute late / $50 per hour. We usually book out 100%, so the next customer will be delayed, when our Jeeps are not returned on-time. Jeeps must be returned with a full tank of gas AND cleaned, or there will be an additional charge of $100, plus gas.