Originally Posted by dubb77
Going out to ouray in 2 days. Gonna be my first time off roading. Anything I need to be aware of? Where not to go for my first time?
Always a good idea to travel on the trails with someone even if you just met them. Better still if your travel buddy has been there before.
Start early in the day, to give yourself plenty of time to find your way in the event you get lost, don't want to be on stuck on the trail at night. Once you know your way(subsequent trip) that will be less an issue.
I looked at your profile, and you appear to have a competent, well equipped jeep, I am surprised that this is your first time to go off road.
When I go and have someone new, I like to take them to Governor Basin and Yankee boy Basin first. They give good experience, are a realistic challenge and yet a more forgiving of mistakes than some of the other trails.
Most anything on the alpine loop is good and easier than Governors Basin. So after Governors basin, everything else will seem like a "piece of cake"
Would have to say Imogene pass is a favorite with lots of waterfalls, views, mining history, etc. and no major obstacles, shelf roads can be a little "nerving".
Black Bear pass is always done from east to west. Black bear pass is a major challenge and the switchbacks are un-forgiving. If you have any doubts about your ability, just avoid that trail. Black bear is partially one way so you hve to make a commitment past that point, no backtracking. The steps are a challenge and the last step at Ingram falls (overlooking Telluride) takes a lot of courage, but as noted, the switchbacks after Ingram falls are dangerous. The first 4 are the most critical, three point turns with your wheel base, and having a spotter is a good idea. And knowing your jeep well is a necessity (turning radius, friction points, emergency brake, etc.). Don't think snow or Ice will be an issue yet, but doing Black bear in slick conditions is not a good idea.
Poughkeepsie Gulch will have some extreme obstacles, you be the judge.
Other things to consider, all the trails are one lane and up hill traffic will have right of way, but my philosophy is to be courteous and let others pass if you have a good place to pull over. ATVs can be unpredictable, watch out for them. Motorcycle folks are usually pretty good to share the trail, they move faster and take less space, so let them pass.
I am envious, wish I were going, and you may catch some of the fall colors. Have a good time, error to caution.
Hope this helps
"Ride Hard, Tread Lightly"