Ouray, Moab, Zion road trip for stock Jeep.

  1. rob28

    rob28 Well-Known Member

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    We are looking to drive from NW Ontario to Colorado and Utah to see the sights and check out some easy trails.
    We’ve never off roaded before and have a stock 2 door Sport apart from 33” Duratracs and rock rails. So obviously we’re not looking to do the Rubicon Trail or Black Bear Pass (the wife has seen videos of the drop offs and is not happy).
    The rough plan is 2 nights at Ouray, 2 nights at Cedar City or Kanab to do Zion, Bryce Canyon etc and then 2 nights at Moab.
    Travel is 3 days each way as we don’t want to rush it too much.

    What are people’s thoughts on this? We’re trying to research now for probably a September vacation. Let me know your thoughts on trails, accommodations, must see places...

    Thanks, Rob.
     
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  2. chevymitchell

    chevymitchell Well-Known Member

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    For your schedule, I would plan to do the Alpine Loop.

    That will take you down Engineers Pass to Lake City and back. This will take you all day or you could break it into 2 days, but it is definitely a gorgeous trail.

    If you have the time, take Impogene Pass from Ouray to Telluride. You won't be able to take Black Bear Pass back the other direction since the switch back section by the waterfall is one way. However, once you make it to Telluride you can drive the trail up to the top of the waterfall.

    It's really quite awesome. You can check out some of the trail pics from my trip out there last here:

    https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/forum/threads/jeepin-the-dream.10162/

    There's 8 pages of stuff in there, but a lot of pics to check out.
     
  3. rustyshakelford

    rustyshakelford Well-Known Member

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    Early to mid sept is a great time to catch the changing of the leaves in ouray. Second for alpine loop, was a great trip when we did it. That’s kind of a weird time as the towns are starting to shut down until the winter rush

    Brett
     
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  4. Geos7812

    Geos7812 Well-Known Member

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    Black Bear is no joke, but I don’t think you can miss that one. I took a Chevy 1500 up to the falls from Telluride. I was tight but just go slow and enjoy. Do some work in the convincing department.
     
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  5. chacomaya

    chacomaya Well-Known Member

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    My wife and I were in Telluride and Ouray last September and it was amazing. This was pre-Jeep (we took my old 2008 Xterra), and so we didn't attempt Engineer or Imogene. But we did do a really nice drive from Ouray to Silverton via Corkscrew Gulch, Hurricane Pass, California Pass, and Animas Forks. Ophir Pass is also a pretty cool drive, but not sure if that is on your route. However, if you were to do it, I would recommend ascending from Ophir, which will put you on the Million Dollar Hwy not too far from Ouray.
     
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  6. OnlyOne

    OnlyOne Well-Known Member

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    Nice time to go. I’ve run every trail up there several times over. Black bear is quite easy but just respect the stairs as you would every trail on the loop. I’ve run it backwards and in the rain. You can run down Black Bear and then back up Imogene. Or run back Ophir Pass after exploring Telluride a bit. The Alpine Loop is an amazing place you’ll never forget.

    There isn’t a trail on that entire route that your JL can’t do. It’s all pretty easy. Only one I would say is tougher is Poughkeepsie. Most likely need to winch that one. Other than that, Mineral creek is rocky at the start to Engineer but awesome.
     
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  7. chacomaya

    chacomaya Well-Known Member

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    Also - in Ouray...my wife and I stayed in the Twin Peaks Lodge and it was nice. I also stayed with some buddies at the Timber Ridge Lodge on the COBDR (motorcycles) and it's nice, too, albeit a little bit out of town. The guy who runs is it a good source of knowledge for routes. For restaurants, skip the Outlaw. Total tourist trap. Instead, check out Brickhouse 737.
     
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  8. FPrice

    FPrice Member

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    We ran the Alpine Loop, Engineer Pass, Cinnamon Pass and Mineral Creek in a 2004 4Runner last August. The 4Runner had a V8 and some suspension work, but only had 265/70/17 Toyo At’s on it. We had no issues, but had to pick our lines carefully coming down Mineral creek. We let a couple of Jeeps come past us.....December 31, bought a Rubicon!

    We love that area so much we are skipping our usual rip to the tip of Baja to explore Colorado.
     
  9. dapipp

    dapipp New Member

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  10. beammeup

    beammeup New Member

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    in Ouray you could do Immogene into Telluride, then take Last Dollar Rd back to Ridgeway, then back to Ouray. Fairly quick trip.
    Moab would be Potash Rd out to the Mussleman Arch on the White Rim, turn around and come up the Shaffer switchbacks, then down Long Canyon and back into Moab. If you have an extra day there, I would do Onion Creek, Thompson Canyon, Geyser Pass loop.
    Have fun.
     
  11. roaniecowpony

    roaniecowpony Well-Known Member

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    #11 Feb 12, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2019
    Since the 70s, I've spent a lot of time in that area of the country, deer hunting and just sightseeing. I think you'll really enjoy that area of the country, regardless whether you do any sport off-roading. But, of course, you have to.

    Don't miss a sunset at the Cedar Breaks in Utah. There's a lot of scenery in Utah. Just west of the turnoff to Moab on I-70, there's the San Rafael Swell and north of Moab is Arches Nat Park, and if you miss Monument Valley just south of Moab you'll be hearing about that from your wife. There's also Black Canyon of the Gunnison N.P. southeast of Grand Junction, CO. There's more to see in that area of the country than you'll have time.

    The weather in September can go either way pretty quickly. Some years it is warm and dry, other years it can snow. Be prepared for either. The good thing about the fall is that most of the people are done and home, leaving you with a better experience in the parks and lodging will be available. In the peak of vacation season, lodging in that area of the country is hard to get, and even campgrounds fill up. After the peak season subsides, you can make your next night's lodging reservation in the morning from your cellphone. In peak vacation season, you'll be wise to make lodging reservations much further ahead. Keep that in mind when chosing your trip timing. I prefer a bit of cold or even rain/snow to crowds at the parks. Check the parks seasonal open-close dates. Some close for the winter.

    I recommend you consider some type of protective film (even temporary) for the sides of your Jeep, if you want to do some 2 track forestry trail drives. The brush can get tight.

    The first thing that struck me was how long a drive that will be in a 2 door Jeep. 30 hrs each way from Red Lake to Cedar. Are you towing the Jeep?
     
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