Off-Road Jeep & ATV Adventures Near Buena Vista & Salida

Looking for thrills that take you to new heights? Off-road Jeep and ATV outings near Buena Vista and Salida are packed with technical terrain and wild settings that will have your heart pounding. Buckle up — and helmet up — and get ready to wind through sweet-smelling evergreen forests, ghost towns and mountain passes with stunning peak-strewn vistas. 

People riding in an ATV with snowcapped mountains in the background

Off-roading near Buena Vista with a stunning mountain backdrop

Person rides a dirt bike on a trail through the mountains

Dirt biking on a wildflower-lined mountain trail

Restored historical train depot on Alpine Tunnel trail

Restored historical train depot on Alpine Tunnel trail

Motorcycle rider admires the mountain scenery from Tincup Pass near Buena Vista
Views from Tincup Pass near Buena Vista
Side-by-sides making their way up a mountain trail
Side-by-sides making their way up a mountain trail
ATVs sit in front of a sign for the Continental Divide in the Colorado mountains
The Continental Divide at Tincup Pass

Tip: When hitting those mountain routes, remember Colorado’s off-roading motto of “Stay the Trail.” Learn how to protect the wilderness while making the most of your 4x4 experience

Top Places for Off-Roading & ATVing

Note: These trails don’t keep themselves open. Learn about CORE, a local motorized action group that helps keep the OHV magic alive.

Marshall Pass & Poncha Creek

20.8-mile loop
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South of Salida, rumble up more than 2,500 feet and across the Continental Divide. Along the way, you’ll be flanked by views of rocky summits and sentinels of aspen groves — making fall drives an especially awesome experience. O’Haver Lake near your start and endpoint is the perfect spot to chill post-ride with some sandwiches.

Fourmile Travel Management Area

Nearly 200 miles of trails
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Welcome to 100,000 gorgeous acres of off-road playground near Buena Vista, with numerous trails of varying difficulty levels. Motor past craggy rock formations — remnants of an ancient volcanic explosion — and top out at scenic overlooks that boast postcard-pretty shots of the Collegiate Peaks.

Chinaman Gulch & Carnage Canyon

7.9-mile loop
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Bring your best spotter: If this short, yet extremely challenging, loop near Buena Vista were an ice-cream flavor, it would be Really Rocky Road. Put your rig to the test with obstacles like boulder climbs and steep descents and get your heart rate back to normal under shady evergreen thickets while soaking up the sights of snowcapped fourteeners.

Hancock Pass & Alpine Tunnel

20.4 miles point to point
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On this moderate-to-hard trail near Nathrop, you’ll pass saloon relics at Hancock historic site before straddling the Continental Divide at 12,140-foot Hancock Pass. Then rattle your bones traversing rock gardens and the high shelf road to Alpine Tunnel, where you can see the restored historical train depot. Prepare to be wowed by gorgeous colors — fall brings golds, while summer brings rainbows of wildflowers.

Mount Antero Trail 

15.2 miles out and back
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Experienced drivers can make their way up, up, up the tightly winding switchbacks of this shelf road on the way to 14,276-foot Mount Antero’s summit. Though you can’t drive to the actual peak, you can get pretty darn close — within about a half mile, in fact. Technical 4x4 trails plus a short climb to the top of Colorado’s 10th tallest mountain equals an unforgettable day.

St. Elmo to Tincup Pass

12.8 miles point to point
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This moderate-to-difficult trail was specifically curated with OHVs in mind. Start in St. Elmo — Colorado’s most well-preserved ghost town — before weaving your way up to Tincup, a semi-ghost town with a year-round population of about three and a rich gold-mining history. Known for its “insane” views, this route is the stuff ATV dreams are made of.
 
Know Before You Go: Prepare by reading up on individual routes so you’re not caught off guard by seasonal closures or technical sections your rig might not handle without damage. Reviews are a great place to learn more about what type of clearance you’ll need, tire-gauge requirements, whether stock vehicles will clear obstacles and so on.

Rentals & Tours

Had to leave the lifted Jeep at home? Airline wouldn’t let you check your RZR? Looking for a group or guide to ride with? Find tours and rentals galore:

Want more? 

Check out nearby whitewater rafting experiences
 
Find the best spots for snowmobiling in the area
 
Learn more about Salida & Buena Vista