Colorado: Rampart Range

Colorado

Rampart Range is one of the most popular public riding areas in Colorado, and for good reason. Hundreds of miles of well-marked trails will keep you riding for days, plus it features campgrounds and, perhaps best of all, it's only 20 miles from the Denver metro area.

Trails in Rampart Range offer just about every type of mountain riding excitement and wonder you can imagine. The majority of the forest is ponderosa pine, and together with Douglas fir and Colorado blue spruce, the forest stays green year around. Groves of aspen are most spectacular in late September when their golden leaves dance in the wind, accented against the trees' smooth white bark.

Large and small formations of boulders ranging in size from bowling balls to as large as a small house are scattered over the entire area. As you ride slowly by, let your imagination run wild as the boulders take on ever-changing faces.

As we hope you can tell, every time we ride Rampart Range, we spend as much time gazing off at the distant, snow-capped mountains as we do riding the trails.

Rampart Range is easy to find. From U.S. 470 in southwest Denver, go south 10 miles on highway 85 to Sedalia. Go west on Highway 67 another 10 miles and you will come to Rampart Range Road, where all the fun begins.

Travel down Rampart Range Road and pull off in any of the many unimproved pullouts to spend the day or maybe even stay for a week! If you want an improved camp site with water and toilets, Flat Rocks campground is only 4.6 miles from Highway 67. Best yet, you can’t beat the price—it’s free! If you aren’t prepared to camp, motels are available in Denver or to the south in Castle Rock.

Packing your lunch to eat along the trail is common, but for a unique riding experience ride trail #673, which will lead you to the Sprucewood Restaurant. Helmets and boots are not only acceptable, but in fact are the norm here. After you've had your lunch or dinner, take a few minutes to relax in front of the large stone fireplace. Gas, snacks and drinks, along with trail maps, are available in Sedalia, or in the general store on Highway 67.

Trails are open to ATVs and motorcycles, as well as bicycles, horses and hikers. The difficulty of each trail is indicated on the trail map.

There are no trails open to full size 4x4s. Colorado residents are required to have a current OHV registration—just $15.25 for ATVs and unlicensed motorcycles. Spark arrestors are the law, no exceptions. Colorado has been experiencing drought conditions for several years and is drier than you think.

ATVs and motorcycles must stay on marked and numbered trails. Rampart Range Road is a public highway, and open only to licensed vehicles. No ATVs.

Finally, helmet use and solo riding (no passengers) are highly recommended.

Rampart Range Motorcycle Management Committee (RRMMC) has been working with the Forest Service for more than 30 years, providing thousands of hours of volunteer manpower, donated materials and money when needed. Though the name says "motorcycle," RRMMC welcomes participation from all trail users, including ATV riders, to help support and maintain the area.

For more information, go to the RRMMC website at www.rampartrange.org, or write to RRMMC, P.O. Box 3511, Englewood, CO 80155. The Forest Service closes Flat Rock campground and Rampart Range Road around December 1.

For current trail conditions, contact the South Platte Ranger District, 19316 Goddard Ranch Court, Morrison, CO 80465. The telephone number is (303) 275-5610. Or see the South Platte Ranger District website.