Colorado: Sand, Speed and Summits
By: Gary Gustafson
The North Park area near Walden, Colorado is in the north-central part of the state about an hour west of Fort Collins. The region offers plenty of food and lodging, yet it retains a laid-back personality and it’s within a day’s drive of nearly any locale west of the Mississippi. Best of all, the North Park area has all of the ingredients to make it a premier destination for having fun on four wheels.
The attractions start with the majestic Rocky Mountains, offering spectacular views, many miles of woodland trails and the freshest air anywhere. The peaks are speckled with campgrounds throughout.
Trail-dusters can connect to well-marked Wyoming OHV routes located just to the north or enjoy local loops while returning to home base each day. Also nearby are North Park’s own sand dunes - yup, we said sand dunes!
Their 25-mile long silica empire provides challenges for all riding abilities and all types of OHVs including quads, jeeps and sand rails. This beautiful terrain has a unique character, with alpine forest interlaced throughout the rolling sands.
Les Baugh has been motoring on the trails and dunes in this area for years. He says that tent and RV camping is popular in the sand hills. Riders can also enjoy all the basic amenities including nice lodging available nearby. Les says that the secluded alpine trails in the area do not see a lot of use, making them an attractive experience for riding families who want to get away from it all. People who stay for a week will often experience the pleasure of capturing an area of the mountains that is “just for them”. Baugh says that visitors should bring clothing for variable temperatures and check the on-line forecast for zip code 80480 when making plans for a trip.
With an average of more than 300 inches of snow per winter many snowmobilers choose this area for tracked excursions and there are plenty of wide-open spaces for boondocking and hill climbing.
Dave Hendrix, President of the North Park Visitor’s Bureau, says that ATV riders and snowmobilers are a staple of the local economy and that local businesses have a very positive attitude towards motorized recreation.
Just as with ATV riders, snow-trekkers can make local loops and return to a comfortable hotel room in Walden each night or head to various Inns along the Colorado and Wyoming trail systems.
Hiking trails range from resplendent river valleys to stunning 12,000 feet peaks. There are more than 600,000 acres of public land open to hunters. Majestic elk, Shiras moose, white tail and mule deer, and big horn sheep are all part of the incredible montage of horned and antlered game. Predator hunting for cougar, bear and coyote is also popular.
You know you deserve it; you know you want it! Colorado is calling, and it’s closer than you think. For more information visit northparkvisitorsbureau.com or call (970) 723-4271 x 11.
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