For all the flatlanders and rugged mountaineers alike, the high-altitude state of Colorado is a can’t-miss destination for any side-by-side rider. The scenery is breathtaking, the trails are fantastic, and there are numerous UTV-friendly towns that are great to stay in. Camping and RV options are also available, so there are no excuses for you not to hit the great Colorado outdoors in your Polaris RZR. Whatever you do, however, before you come to ride in Colorado, make sure you’re ready for some fun!
You should also make sure that you have checked the basics on your machine — like wheel bearings, u-joints, carrier bearing, bushings, cv shafts, the belt, etc. Local dealers should have these in stock, but it’s best to always be prepared. If you’ve neglected to fix or replace worn out components and parts at home, Colorado’s harsh terrain will almost guarantee that you’ll have to make a few component purchases while you’re there.
Taylor Park is a popular area to ride, and Pitkin (just over Cumberland Pass from the Taylor Park area) as well as Silverton and Lake City are great, UTV-friendly, areas as well. Taylor Park and The Alpine Loop has trails for all difficulty levels, the former being slightly rocky. The Alpine loop is a county road with trails branching off, perfect for those searching for unbeatable scenery.
In terms of accommodation, Lake City has some nice lake houses. If you have a camper and can camp off grid, we would recommend staying outside of Taylor Park, as it gets pretty dusty the closer you are because of traffic.
Depending on where you are from, the Animas mountains in Silverton can be a bit nerving at first, yet places like Cinnamon and Engineering pass are great destinations — provided the weather is nice.
As long as you’re over 18, wearing proper eye protection, and have a driver’s license — and of course obeying the traffic laws — you should be good to ride around the small tows without having to load up and haul your machine all the time. If you have passengers under the age of 18, make sure they’re wearing helmets or you’re likely to be ticketed.
While many places like Taylor Park and Silverton are super UTV friendly, other places in Colorado, such as Ouray, are not so much. Because most of the trails in the Ouray area require driving on highway 550 — which is dangerous enough without UTV traffic — this area isn’t the best to ride into and out of.
Grand Junction is another area with a ton of good terrain, and it is more cost friendly. According to some riders, this area is the most epic place in all of Colorado to ride a UTV.
The summertime weather is usually quite beautiful in Colorado — with mid to high 60-70s during the daytime in the highlands and 30’s to low 40’s at night. That being said, the riding window is rather limited. It’s not uncommon for places like Silverton pass to not be open until late spring or early summer. July to September are typically the best months to ride.
When planning a side-by-side trip in Colorado, take note that most of your rides are going to be in the 60-80 mile range per day. So bring food and drinks. Also, at the elevation there, the weather can be extremely varied, so bring layers and at least a waterproof shell of some sort in case you get rained on at high elevations. Be sure to drink lots of water as well, and if you feel anything out of the ordinary, get to a lower elevation a soon as possible, as altitude sickness is nothing to mess with.
Be it for the wildlife, the scenery, or the extreme terrain, Colorado is a destination that tops the bucket list of most Polaris RZR owners. So if you find yourself with a few days to spare in the summer, head on out, enjoy the fresh air, and have a blast riding the vast terrain and trail systems that Colorado has to offer!