Experience the rugged terrain, fall colors and historical sites in the heart of fourteener country
Buena Vista, September 19 – 23, riders will experience four days of self-guided tours through the awe-inspiring backcountry of the Collegiate Peaks range with a dozen 14,000-foot mountains. The greatest concentration of 14ers on the continent.
Participants will be able to explore old mining camps and ghost towns via high mountain passes where gold and silver ore were carried by mule wagons to the railroads. Buena Vista is minutes away from the San Isabel National Forest with its 1,109,782 acres of true splendor and more than 700 miles of trails to explore. Our town is also the gateway to the 148-mile long Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area with its Gold Medal fishing. To make things even more enticing we have two hot springs to relax in after a thrilling days ride.
The ATV Historical Color Tour is timed to coincide with the fall colors, the aspens are aglow with gold and red tones. Each morning riders choose their route, there are many to select from. There are no more than 50 riders allowed on the same trail. The tour is run differently than most as there are no guides, each rider chooses their self-guided ride and goes at their own pace. Each trail has volunteer outriders to answer questions and make sure everyone gets back each night.
Here are a couple of our favorite rides:
Hancock/Tin Cup Loop is a favorite of the Color Tour. The route is magnificent with high mountain vistas, old mine sites, and several ghost towns. Riders start at the ghost town of St. Elmo and ride to the summit of Hancock Pass (over 12,000′). Shortly past the summit, a side trip along smooth railroad grade takes one to the Alpine Tunnel site, the first bore through the Continental Divide. The route continues back down the railroad grade to the town of Pitkin where one can ride ATV’s through the town streets for gas and food. The route continues over Cumberland Pass into the ghost town of Tin Cup. The return trip takes riders past Mirror Lake at 11,000′ and over Tin Cup Pass at 12,000′. Here there is more color, history, mining sites and natural beauty than anywhere else, and you get to cross the Continental Divide twice in one day.
The Mt. Antero/Baldwin Lake route takes one higher than any other on the Tour. The highest point is 13,700′ and the summit at 14,269′ is a short hike from there. Rider’s visit two high mountain lakes and a couple of mines. Near the summit of Mt. Antero, aquamarine and quartz are still mined today on active claims.
Twin Lakes/Lost Canyon are two routes that will require trailering, but are worth the effort. At the top of Lost Canyon, one will be in awe of the views of Mt’s. Belford, Oxford, Missouri, and Huron . . . all 14’ers. From the top of the Twin Lakes trail, one can see across the valley into the famous California Gulch Mining District.
The registration fee is $95 and includes a commemorative booklet with self-guided trail descriptions, four breakfasts, Saturday night Pig Roast, t-shirt, Poker Run, and an ATV rodeo. All OHV vehicle types are allowed to join in the fun as long as they have a Colorado OHV permit and are no wider than 50 inches.
The ATV Historic Color Tour is hosted by the (non-profit) Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center. The Tour is operated under permits from the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. For more information and registration go to http://www.buenavistacolorado.org/atv-historic-color-tour.