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Starting to plan a trip for May and June to the title states. I have already got our base camps arranged in Granby, colorado, Cody, Wy. Victor, Id, and Missoula, Mt. In that order starting the middle of May. I realize that is a little early for some of the higher elevations, but that is what I have to work with. Going to spend about a week in each location. I am looking for information on 4 by 4 roads in these areas. We have both the FJ with lots of clearance and an AWD Rav 4 Hybrid with about 9 inches of clearance and have not decided which to take yet, so I am looking at both somewhat challenging backroads and also just nice scenic mountain gravel roads suitable for the lower clearance Rav 4. Several factors will decide which vehicle goes like gas prices and availability at the time ( looking at a total trip of about 8K miles.) I appreciate any suggestions as I have no previous in the 3 upper states.
 

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Wow 馃憤 what a great adventure you have planned!!! So happy you鈥檒l be getting out there, and yes, you鈥檒l see snow in Colorado in May at elevation, but I absolutely know you will figure it out (given the trails/stunts we鈥檝e done back east 馃榿). Good luck, post pics, and say hi to everyone!
 

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I have already got our base camps arranged in Granby, colorado, Cody, Wy. Victor, Id, and Missoula, Mt. In that order starting the middle of May. I realize that is a little early for some of the higher elevations, but that is what I have to work with.
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Several factors will decide which vehicle goes like gas prices and availability at the time ( looking at a total trip of about 8K miles.) I appreciate any suggestions as I have no previous in the 3 upper states.
I help run Colorado FJ Cruisers on Facebook, if you'd like to join up closer to trip time and see what's open. Granby is right next to the continental divide, many of the trails at that elevation won't be open yet (as you already acknowledged). Trail Ridge Road / Rocky Mountain National Park is a coin toss for those dates, they try to get it open by Memorial Day but it all depends on the snowfall levels that we don't know yet. At a bare minimum, you'll be able to drive in some distance on the west side of the park.

Looking at the TrailsOffroad Map for Granby, Stillwater Pass by Granby and Keyser Creek by Fraser would both be options. Keyser Creek gets a lot of local traffic. Stillwater Pass is dead center on the burn area from a few years ago, so watch out for erosion / fallen trees. Rollins Pass West down by Winter Park is also an option for a short drive but that's driving up to the divide so you'll definitely hit snow at some point.

The best set of trails open in Colorado in May are the three gulches down by Deckers, CO. Metberry Gulch being the best of those three. It's more than a dirt road but not super difficult, I would do it in your FJ but not your Rav4.

If you end up bringing the Rav4 instead, I can suggest some good driving roads & destinations in the northern part of the state. 125 from Granby to Walden then 14 from Walden to Fort Collins is a nice loop. 127 from Cowdrey to Laramie is also nice, but that's probably (edit: oops) more of the route you'd take up to Wyoming when changing campsites than a day trip.

If you like hot springs, the Saratoga Hot Springs Resort in WY is a great stop on your way up to Wyoming. We did a driving trip there last summer and plan on going up there each year from now on.
 

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Thanks Jimmy for all that great info. I have been doing all the trails around Ouray, silverton and that area for 35 years, but Grandby area is all new to me. I hope to be able to do the Toyota roundup in July, but several factors will determine that.
Deb, Great to hear from you... We still fondly remember our trip to your area. We did the north woods in Maine the end of Sept and had hoped to get over to Vermont on the way back, but life intervened and we had to run home sooner than expected. We also tried some of your suggested trails in Arizona last year and loved them... This forum has been great resource for us over the years.
 

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No offense, but Middle and North Park areas of Colorado in middle or late May (or even later in summer)(dont have much to offer in the way of offroading compared to the San Juans or central Colorado. I think you are going to be extremely disappointed by picking Granby to base out of. Just about anywhere in the Colorado mountains can be scenic, but very few challenging or even incredibly scenic 4WD roads in that area. For sure, plenty of forest service roads if you like to drive those. Although many will be closed that time of year. There are some roads to the north of Flattops and near Meeker that open up around May 21st. If you take a look at COTREX and filter for OHV roads, you can see the seasonal opening and closing dates.

Jimmy mentioned Keyser Creek and Stillwater Pass....yep, crowded, filled with SxSs, filled with lots of rental ATV and SxS vehicles, and guess what....if you look at COTREX (which I highly recommend doing so), Stillwater Pass and all of those nearby trails are indicated as officially CLOSED due to the Troublesome Fire a couple years ago. Natl Forest Service in CO, seems to love these opportunities to close things off due to fires, road washouts, etc. at least in Central and Northern Colorado. Whole different mentality in Southwestern Colorado where they actually use heavy equipment to clear snow and clear rockslides, debris, etc.


The Colorado high country (what I would define as anything higher than about 9k elevation) is gonna be clogged with snow and probably gated off until June 1 or later. Prior to closing Stillwater Pass area due to Troublesome fire, the typical opening date was June 15th...And the roads are closed off by locked gates. I can tell you that Rollins Pass near Winter Park...gated off until June or later and has lots of snow about treeline after a typical winter into June/July. Another area....Buffalo Pass from Walden area to Steamboat, typically closed until at least July 1. Red Feather Lakes area closed until July 1, etc.

You are certainly welcome to come to Colorado and see what you can see in Mid- to late May, but I wouldnt expect much...it's pretty much mud season. Here's a photo from the Meeker area on May 22, 2020...at about 9000 ft level. Below that, clear and dry....at 9k or so....many sections just mud and impassable....even thought it opened on 5/21 per the USFS Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM). Just about every side road in this area what blocked by drifts that were 3-4 ft deep. And again, they dont plow or open this stuff .....just let nature take its course and it melts when it melts.

FYI: Colorado native who has been dirtbiking for 48 years in CO, so I have a pretty good idea about how stuff works. YMMV.

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No offense, but Middle and North Park areas of Colorado in middle or late May (or even later in summer)(dont have much to offer in the way of offroading compared to the San Juans or central Colorado. I think you are going to be extremely disappointed by picking Granby to base out of. Just about anywhere in the Colorado mountains can be scenic, but very few challenging or even incredibly scenic 4WD roads in that area. For sure, plenty of forest service roads if you like to drive those. Although many will be closed that time of year. There are some roads to the north of Flattops and near Meeker that open up around May 21st. If you take a look at COTREX and filter for OHV roads, you can see the seasonal opening and closing dates.

Jimmy mentioned Keyser Creek and Stillwater Pass....yep, crowded, filled with SxSs, filled with lots of rental ATV and SxS vehicles, and guess what....if you look at COTREX (which I highly recommend doing so), Stillwater Pass and all of those nearby trails are indicated as officially CLOSED due to the Troublesome Fire a couple years ago. Natl Forest Service in CO, seems to love these opportunities to close things off due to fires, road washouts, etc. at least in Central and Northern Colorado. Whole different mentality in Southwestern Colorado where they actually use heavy equipment to clear snow and clear rockslides, debris, etc.


The Colorado high country (what I would define as anything higher than about 9k elevation) is gonna be clogged with snow and probably gated off until June 1 or later. Prior to closing Stillwater Pass area due to Troublesome fire, the typical opening date was June 15th...And the roads are closed off by locked gates. I can tell you that Rollins Pass near Winter Park...gated off until June or later and has lots of snow about treeline after a typical winter into June/July. Another area....Buffalo Pass from Walden area to Steamboat, typically closed until at least July 1. Red Feather Lakes area closed until July 1, etc.

You are certainly welcome to come to Colorado and see what you can see in Mid- to late May, but I wouldnt expect much...it's pretty much mud season. Here's a photo from the Meeker area on May 22, 2020...at about 9000 ft level. Below that, clear and dry....at 9k or so....many sections just mud and impassable....even thought it opened on 5/21 per the USFS Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM). Just about every side road in this area what blocked by drifts that were 3-4 ft deep. And again, they dont plow or open this stuff .....just let nature take its course and it melts when it melts.

FYI: Colorado native who has been dirtbiking for 48 years in CO, so I have a pretty good idea about how stuff works. YMMV.

View attachment 1220683
USFS Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) for the win. Easy to get, easy to use.Especially using Avenza MapApp
 

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The COTREX app is better in Colorado, but the Avenza will be more useful for Wyo and Montana. The other issue with Avenza is that you need to have downloaded the MVUM ahead of time (just like COTREX), but sometimes it can be very difficult to determine which national forest you are in and bring up the appropriate map....
 
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