Salida /Buena Vista (Easy to Moderate )
This is what I've come up with for the hills East of Highway 285 between Salida and Buena Vista. Other than OCG.
FR 173- (3/4)
GPS Elev. 7432
N 38 32.668'
W 105 59.317'
Starting in Salida just north of town turn off 291 to go to Spiral Drive 175 to 176(gravel). Just before the gate for Spiral drive on the left the trail starts with a little mogul section. Follow the main trail up into the hills. It runs up a narrow ridge then along a ledge and up a gulch. The first 1.5 miles is rough and rocky with a couple of narrow places and a couple of obstacles to challenge a slightly modified rig. Can be done in any stock 4x4.
N 38 33.120'
W 105 58.204'
After that the road gets very narrow, but is otherwise easy for several miles with great views of The Crater (an old volcano). At the top end it connects with fr181. Go SE to explore side rds. and The Crater (2nd rt. then 1st lft. I think)a great area to find artifacts or NW(left) to FR175. FR175 goes down to Salida, or East where you can get roads that go to Cotopaxi, Guffey, Hartsel, Antero Junction and Buena Vista.
Aspen Ridge- (1/2)
From FR175 out of Salida. Take 185 left toward Turret. Take the right to Aspen Ridge when you get to the mining section. There is some fun to be had on the mine roads if your adventurous, but be careful. The easy dirt road (can be muddy in spring) heads north through some beautiful forest up to 187 that will take you north to Trout Creek Pass, or east to CR53 and beyond.
Bald Mtn. Gulch- (4/5)
-From 285 near Buena Vista take 301 rd. to 300 rd. to Ruby Mountain. Drive back through the fee area and 300 rd runs up the hill at the end. There is a short rocky climb that usually requires 4wheel drive, then it crests a hill and drops down into the gulch. Not far from there is the cool ledge obstacle(the reason for the 5 rating). Most any small stock 4x4 can sneak up around the left side, but up the middle is a good 9. The spring coming up from underneath makes it hard to get traction. This can be bypassed by taking FR300 through private property, but it is unfriendly territory. After the obstacle is a winding narrow section, then a long run up some sand wash with optional rocks. At around 1.5 miles FR 300 drops down from the left and a little bit up from there is a trail that goes to the right up a fairly steep short hill.
-Unmarked jeep trail mostly used by atv's, take a left at the top of the hill and the trail goes a mile or so back to another sand wash and a short way up a rocky gulch.
-Back in Bald Mtn. Gulch (now FR300)just keep going up the main sand wash. Another half mile to Bald Mtn.Rd. up hill on left (haven't gone up there yet) and another half mile to 185D on the right(Unmarked, forks to the right around a big tree uphill).
-185D- is mostly used by ATV's, but it connects FR300 to FR185(Aspen Ridge rd.). Narrow with three hillclimbs through some nice forest, and mud in the spring.
-FR300 continues up the sand wash for a little over a mile then it heads up over a hill(approx. half mile) and drops down to an intersection in another sand wash. there is a Bald Mtn. Gulch sign for the SW direction.
-Left is FR300A 2 miles to private property and a big rock obstacle (take a rt. just before the big rock then a left and your at Old Chinaman's Gulch).
-Right at the intersection will take you up FR300 the rest of the way to FR187 near Trout Creek Pass. One other rd. lft.(300B I think) will take you over to OCG also.
[This message has been edited by Dragon (edited 05-07-2003).]