Caribou 4WD Route

Boulder, Colorado 80310

Caribou 4WD Route

Caribou 4WD Route Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Fun route for stock vehicles with a variety of challenges. Trail sometimes doesn’t open until late June or early July depending upon winter snowpack. Route skirts eastern border of Indian Peaks Wilderness and passes by historic Caribou Townsite (see Historical Highlights next page). Highest point of route reaches 10,200 feet with great mountain views including Eldora Ski Area. Explore several marked side roads. Camp only in numbered, designated sites along trail. Past abuses have threatened closure of this area. Stay on marked routes at all times. Report violators. Much of the route is easy but a few places are steep, narrow and rocky. One section after Caribou Creek is soft and rutted. When wet, it can be boggy and nearly impassable. High-clearance, stock SUVs should have no problem when the trail is dry. Long wheel-based vehicles should avoid the last 1.5 miles above the town of Eldora. This part of trail is very narrow with tight switchbacks. Caribou 4WD Route is great for ATVs but they are not allowed on County Roads 116 and 128. You can drive trail in either direction."

Caribou 4WD Route Trip Reports

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The first part of the trail is nice with a waterfall and shallow river crossing. Some mud after the crossing. The second part of the trail is misserable. The high point of the second part is a spectacular view from the top, then you decend into a very tightly packed forest where travel is very slow due to the amount of rocks on the trail. You emerge from the forest on the side of a mountain. The trail is very narrow and has sharp cut backs. Anything larger than a Jeep is not reccommended. There was a rock slide on this part of the trail when we went, very unnerving crossing. If you take this part of the trail, turn around at the high meadow. There's nothing redeeming about the rest of it.
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Even if youdo not want to take the main trail, there are many other side trails of varying difficulty. From the hilltop where Carabou gate is located, if you make your way down back toward Nederland, there are several trails off to the left (north). Be careful, some of the trails require high clearance and skid plates. Many trails are also brush filled, so be prepared top scratch new paint. I almost got stuck in the mud while venturing alone in late May. Also watch for old minors ditches. The ditches along side of the trail are where prospectors were searching for gold.
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The area around Caribou is scenic, with a huge amount of history. My Great-great aunt lived in Caribou before it burnt down and I have some pictures of the area when the town was there. The cemetary has unfortunately been scavanged and picked almost clean of headstones.

Travelling past Caribou is also scenic, but I recommend turning around when you get to the creek. When I forded it, I almost lost my Blazer, it's deeper than it looks.

As the other reviewer said, the other end of the road is difficult and not really worth the trouble unless you are into extreme 4-wheeling. It is also pretty poorly marked.

Caribou 4WD Route Photos

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Trail Information

Nearby City
Several options
Trail Type
ATVs and dirt bikes
2 hours
Roosevelt National Forest
Local Contacts
Trails Illustrated #102, DeLorme’s Colorado Atlas & Gazetteer
Local Maps

Trail Log