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Colorado Springs trip in mid January

DFW Rusty

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Taking my wife and 3 kids on a trip to Colorado springs in January to let my 2 little ones see snow for the very first time (5 and 3 years old, never seen snow). However, I really want to take them on some back country roads and any input on back country roads that are scenic would be much appreciated. I talked to a buddy that said you can run SXS on about 65% of the lower trails in January, and that got me wondering if it would be worth hauling the sxs and look for some fun trails to cruise. However, I am not very snow savvy(I have common sense, but I am also not a real risk taker with my little kids on board) and dont want to get stranded on a trail with 2 little kids a teenager and a wife that would probably never let me live it down (so, once again any input on that will be VERY appreciated).

1. Any fun, non touristy things that any one can suggest.

2. Any good dirt roads or just really pretty drives.

3. would it be be worth trailering my sxs and look for some fun trails, or is it too risky in January?
 
Just checked the address, were staying in Woodland Park. I assume that is a little better?
 
The wife booked this back in October, and we didn't do much research other than what one of our friends said and my sister.
 
nice dirt roads - we have a couple. Shelf Road and Phantom Canyon are rental car worthy.

If we dont trailer our SXS, we will be trail riding my DD. '12, F350, NO lift, 35" All terrains, No winch, 4x4.
 
I've had three kids and lived in that area. The road headed away from my place landed in Woodland Park. It's nice down that way. So, I have some perspective. You have a 5 and 3 year old. Don't do things where you will be cold for very long. Everyone will be miserable. The next things is to not worry about anything. They are 5 and 3. They won't remember anything in a few years except what you remind them of the trip. So, there really isn't much point other than just having a good time in the moment. If you stay somewhere and let the kids play in a nearby snow drift then they will have the time of their lives. If you stick them in a SXS for hours then everyone is going to be miserable. Don't make this harder than it has to be.
 
I've had three kids and lived in that area. The road headed away from my place landed in Woodland Park. It's nice down that way. So, I have some perspective. You have a 5 and 3 year old. Don't do things where you will be cold for very long. Everyone will be miserable. The next things is to not worry about anything. They are 5 and 3. They won't remember anything in a few years except what you remind them of the trip. So, there really isn't much point other than just having a good time in the moment. If you stay somewhere and let the kids play in a nearby snow drift then they will have the time of their lives. If you stick them in a SXS for hours then everyone is going to be miserable. Don't make this harder than it has to be.

Not always true. My youngest kid remembers trips way better than I ever imagined. He had just turned 6 when we went out to South Dakota and he still talks about that trip. My oldest kid still remembers his trip to Florida when he was 3.

Big things stick with them.

They will never forget seeing those snow covered mountains!
 
Take food to pack for day outings. Planning an outdoor adventure around finding places to eat sucks. Just pack sandwiches, snacks. fruit, whatever and roll.
 
Im not from there but went for work. I drove to top of pikes peak. Was a nice scenic drive to the top.

The top is under construction but still a little gift shop and concession stand up there and wasnt crowded I guess maybe because of the plandemic
 
I've had three kids and lived in that area. The road headed away from my place landed in Woodland Park. It's nice down that way. So, I have some perspective. You have a 5 and 3 year old. Don't do things where you will be cold for very long. Everyone will be miserable. The next things is to not worry about anything. They are 5 and 3. They won't remember anything in a few years except what you remind them of the trip. So, there really isn't much point other than just having a good time in the moment. If you stay somewhere and let the kids play in a nearby snow drift then they will have the time of their lives. If you stick them in a SXS for hours then everyone is going to be miserable. Don't make this harder than it has to be.

Good point. Our cabin is on the edge of what looks like a pretty big field, and the people that own it said you can literally walk out the door and hit a hill of snow in less than a couple minutes of walking. We are the type of family that likes to cook on vacation, and we typically pre-pack lunches and snacks before we hit the road for the day. Our hopes are that we can avoid populous areas, and just keep to our own (not covid related reason, just dont like people).
 
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lots of trail on Rampart. also out to Painted Rocks and let the kids climb on the Rocks.and lots of views with sxs trails. its out 67N 7-8miles on left. near where I live. easy to goto for evening wheeling after work.
 
For some mining history, you could take highway 24 from Woodland Park west to Divide, then take 67 south to Cripple Creek. It is one of the most well-known mining areas in the state. Most of the town (like 90+ percent) is now devoted to limited stakes gaming, but there are some museums in the area. You should also take the road to Victor, CO, just a few miles away to see more relics from the early mining days, as well as the MASSIVE operations from the current Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mine. From there, you could head back to Cripple Creek and stop at the Mt. Pisgah Cemetery - there is a cool veterans memorial there with some nice static displays.

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From there, keep heading down County Road 1 for more scenery. You will pass by the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, which has a small visitors center that requires a parks pass and is probably not yet open. Not much else to see unless you really, really like to look at a couple of tree stumps. You could also take a side detour to the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center. I personally think it is a tourist trap, but ymmv.

Pikes Peak may be open, depending on the weather. Not sure the trek to the top is worth the price in the wintertime, you certainly aren't going to want to spend more that a minute or two outside your vehicle at 14,000 feet in the wintertime!

There is also a dirt/gravel road from Victor down to Colorado Springs (Forest Road 8, usually posted as Upper Gold Camp or just Gold Camp Road). That is a long, long meandering route following the old railroad grades from Colorado Springs to Victor. I am not even sure if it would be passable this time of the year due to snow and ice, but thought I would mention it anyway.

If you just want to experience some good Colorado scenery for a long day 'loop' drive, head north out of Woodland Park towards Deckers, CO. You will be travelling through/next to the portion of the forest that was burned in the 2002 by the Hayman Fire (ironically, started by a US Forest Service employee during a fire ban period). From Deckers, head towards Buffalo Creek, Pine and up to Pine Junction. Turn left in Pine on 285, and head back south towards south park. If you want, stop at the pull out at the top of Kenosha Pass and take in all the glory that is South Park. Three miles from the top of Kenosha Pass, turn left on CR77 towards Tarryall Reservoir. CR77 is a 42 mile paved road that follows tarryall creek and passes by Tarryall Reservoir. It's possible to see one of South Park's elk herds along this road. Stay on 77 until you come to Highway 24, then turn left and head back to Woodland Park.

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Dragonmans only did tours on Sundays when we went 2 years ago. Well worth it. I wouldn't do side by sides, it is winter big time and there may not be tons of snow yet but there is still some all the way down. I went to Colorado Springs from South park and back yesterday. I did it last week when it snowed some and saw 3 wrecks that made no sense, Good tires are more important than any other factor than common sense. Its not the lightest or the heaviest snow year I've seen but there is plenty around and numerous roads to explore.
 
It's touristy but you really should go to Garden of the Gods. Cave of the Winds and Seven Falls are also great.

I wouldn't bring the sxs, it will be really cold in January.
 
Colorado is basically closed, and there is no wheeling here in January.
 
Thanks for all the feed back y'all! Really appreciate it. Not going to take the sxs on this trip, going to just go and let the girls play in the snow and do some scenic driving in the truck. Wife wants to do the train ride through the mountains and that is about it. Our cabin is kind of in a small neighborhood on the edge of some fields and it looks like you can walk out the door and pretty much go right to some snow fun, so will probably spend 65% of our time there.
 
Everything is hit or miss as to what's open down here. We can also have 70* weather or 10* weather. Woodland park is definitely colder than the Springs so make sure you check the weather there.
You can check out the dinosaur exhibit in Woodland Park, and there's a cool wolf sanctuary just outside of woodland park. doing trail rides with a full size truck can be super iffy right now. you may go for a while with totally clear trails and then hit a super icy section without the ability to turn around.
Garden of the gods shouldn't be too busy.
Pikes Peak may or may not be open and it will most likely be insanely cold up there and i believe the summit house is still under construction.

Got any ice fishing gear or ice skates? tons of lakes and ponds up in woodland Park that are frozen over.

you can go west a bit more and rent snow machines in the back country.


i have a 6 and 3 year old so i'll try to think of more stuff to do.
 
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