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Guide to Your OHV Pagosa Springs Adventure

Into the Wild and Off the Beaten Path

There are hundreds of miles of off-highway vehicle (OHV) trails just a short drive from our award-winning hotel in Pagosa Springs, starting at the edge of town and traversing throughout the 2,900+ square miles within the San Juan National Forest, so start planning your OHV Pagosa Springs adventure and explore the vast wilderness of southwestern Colorado.

The prime time for OHV riding near Pagosa Springs is from May through November, after the spring snow has melted and before winter sets in, so get off the highway and into the untouched backcountry. As you look ahead to your trip, study the National Forest map of the Pagosa Ranger District, which includes all the nearby trails and specifies which ones allow OHVs.

Whether you’re a veteran rider with your off-trail vehicles in tow or it’s a new hobby, and you rent ATVs or OHVs in town, we’re the perfect home base for your next OHV Pagosa Springs getaway!

OHV Pagosa Springs: A red off-road vehicle on the side of a trail

Top-Notch OHV Trails Just Outside Pagosa Springs and Throughout the Region

One of the most easily accessible trail systems outside town is Turkey Springs, equally loved by hikers, horse-riders, and OHV enthusiasts, all allowed on different routes. The main trailhead is on Piedra Road, just 11 miles from your room at the Riverwalk Inn – you can be on an alpine trail minutes after starting your day! By linking up several ATV/OHV-specific trails (Circle T ATV, South Brockover, and Cutover ATV) with forest system roads (Newt Jack Rd, Turkey Springs Rd, and East Monument Rd), you’ll have a perfect 14-mile loop doable for OHV riders of all abilities.

Another excellent route near Pagosa Springs is Devil Mountain, which starts off Highway 160 about 18 miles west of downtown. It’s a narrow, technical trail with some challenging sections, but it becomes much easier after the late-spring snow has melted off and the ground cover is less slick. By midsummer, even the lingering snow up high melts off. The most rewarding aspect of this 8.3-mile stretch is that you’ll climb up to a 9,900-foot peak, with stunning views of the national forest in every direction. En route to the Devil Mountain high point, you’ll pass other intersecting OHV trails leading to nearby Mule Mountain – if you want to go another 8-10 miles, add a loop through these trails on the way down and make it a full day of riding.

Once you’re warmed up and ready to take on a challenge, take the East Fork Campground OHV Pagosa Springs Trail, located 10 miles from your room at the best place to stay in Pagosa Springs. From here, you'll get to the Elwood Pass, a high mountain pass with a summit 11,676ft above sea level! It is a 28.80 km drive from the road to the summit, and the climb up can be a real challenge because of the steep and rocky road and some water crossings. Once you're ready to take a break, visit the Platoro Reservoir, which offers a variety of activities for you to try! Bring your Colorado fishing license and fishing gear if you're planning to catch some brown, rainbow, and/or brook trout. You can also check out our team's experience when they took on the East Fork/Elwood Pass challenge.

OHV Pagosa Springs: A view of the Platoro Reservoir

Family-Run and All About the Fun – OHV Rentals Just Down the Road

For convenient and affordable OHV rentals during your stay, look no further than Pagosa Adventure Rentals, your one-stop shop for all things OHV Pagosa Springs. Located just 2 miles from us on Highway 60, their fleet of ATVs and UTVs (a category that includes larger “side-by-side” OHVs that can seat up to 6 people) is impressive, all 2016 or newer. It’s also family-run, so you’ll likely chat with several members of the Pagosa Adventure family as they walk you through safety lessons, operating instructions, and ideas about which trails to get out on.

One of the best aspects of their rental arrangement is that you can pick up your rental the evening before (between 2-5:30 pm, depending on when the vehicles are ready), so you can get a few hours of riding in that evening before your rental period starts the next day. And you’ll have your OHV ready to go the next morning rather than dealing with rental paperwork and picking up the vehicle, cutting into your riding time. If you plan to ride for more than one day, take advantage of their multi-day rates, which shave 10% off the rental total.

A view of the mountains during your OHV Pagosa Springs adventure

A Few Pro Tips on OHV Pagosa Springs Riding

– All ATVs, OHVs, and UTVs must register with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, with a permit and sticker displayed to use the OHV trails. OHV registration is annual, with new decals issued on April 1st and good until the following year on March 31st.

– Stop by the Pagosa District Ranger Station before heading out for the day for the most up-to-date trail info and recommendations. They are just a short stroll away from the Riverwalk Inn, so visit with their knowledgeable and helpful ranger staff anytime from 8 am - 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

– Be aware of variable trail conditions if you are riding during “shoulder” season, which is early spring and the beginning of fall. Creeks can run high as the snow melts during the first weeks of spring, making some creek crossings dangerous or impossible until later in the spring/summer. Likewise, surprise snow storms in the fall can make certain trail sections impassable.

– Many national forest trails get into very remote areas, so plan accordingly and bring plenty of water, food, first-aid supplies, and maps. Cell phone coverage can be spotty or non-existent, so download virtual trail maps before going out of service range. If you get lost, OHV rental companies will help/rescue you, but there is usually a steep fee.

Stay with us, hit the nearby trails, and explore the vast Colorado wilderness while having a blast on your OHV Pagosa Springs adventure!


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