Updated: Aug 31
The Trans-Rockies Adventure Trail might just be the most epic overland track that traverses the heart of the Colorado Rockies and into the canyonlands of Utah, and finally through the Wasatch Mountains. Connecting Denver with Salt Lake City, the 935 mile track features nearly 700 miles of dirt through some of the most iconic mountain tracks and passes through the Rockies. Along the way, expect to be blown away with spectacular alpine views, majestic peaks, alpine lakes and meadows, red rock canyons, and a series of high elevation jeep tracks and mountain passes.
Trip Length & Season
Adventure Rating: Epic Trip Length: 2 - 4 weeks, 935 miles (675 miles of dirt) Season: Late June/early July to October, but highly variable. The track summits a number of high elevation mountain passes. During years of heavy snowfall, many of these passes may not open up until mid-summer. Passes may temporarily close during summer due to inclement weather. Prepare accordingly.
Technical Ratings & Terrain
Avg Technical Rating: 2-3
Peak Technical Rating: 5-6
Typical Terrain: Graded dirt and gravel roads, secondary dirt forest service roads. There are a number of jeep tracks over high elevation passes that are technical, rocky, steep, off camber, and many have exposure.
Recommended Vehicle / Moto / Adventure Vans
Recommended Vehicle: High clearance 4x4, rock sliders recommended.
Recommended Moto: A mid-weight or dual sport bike is best for this track. You should be comfortable riding rocky, and moderately technical jeep trails. Skilled riders are recommended on mid-weight bikes due to the technical nature of some of the trails such as Taylor Pass, Schofield Pass, and Tincup Pass.
Adventure Vans: Sprinter 4x4s not recommended.
Fuel, Provisions, and Recommended Gear
Fuel: Long distance sections between fuel stops include Salida to Crested Butte (115 miles), Naturita to Moab (110 miles), Moab to Castle Dal (140 miles), Ferron to Soldier Summit (125 miles) Provisions: Provisions can be obtained in the same general vicinity as fuel. Gear: no specialized gear is recommended for this adventure.
Cumberland Pass Loop Distance: 56 miles Technical Rating: 5 This loop can easily take over a day to complete, but you'll get to check out a number of old ghost towns and mines along the way. It also includes three high elevation passes (Cumberland, Hancock, Tomichi, and Waunita), which have impressive views of the surrounding Rockies.
There are hundreds of camping options in the National Forest and backcountry along many of the dirt sections of the track. Camping may be more challenging around population centers, so plan accordingly and consider developed campgrounds along these sections.
DP1 - South Platte River
DP2 - South Tarryall Peak Elev. 11,206'
DP3 - Eleven Mile Canyon
DP4 - Eleven Mile Reservoir
DP5 - Thirtynine Mile Mountain Elev. 11,553'
DP6 - Black Mountain Elev. 11,649'
DP7 - Salida
DP8 - Arkansas River
DP9 - Mount Shavano Elev. 14,231'
DP10 - Mount Antero Elev. 14,276
DP11 - Love Meadow Wildlife Area
DP12 - Cascade Falls
DP13 - Mount Princeton Elev. 14,196
DP14 - Iron City Cemetery
DP15 - St Elmo Ghost Town
DP16 - Tincup Pass Elev. 12,171'
DP17 - Emma Burr Mountain Elev. 12,112'
DP18 - Fitzpatrick Peak Elev. 13,112'
DP19 - Mirror Lake
DP20 - Tincup Cemetery
DP21 - Tincup
DP22 - Matchless Mountain Elev. 12,389'
DP23 - Ice Mountain Elev. 13.958'
DP24 - Jenkins Mountain Elev. 13,432'
DP25 - Italian Mountain Elev. 13,385'
DP26 - Petroleum Peak Elev. 13,505'
DP27 - Taylor Pass Elev. 11,948'
DP28 - Taylor Peak Elev. 13,157'
DP29 - Ashcroft Ghost Town
DP30 - Castle Peak Elev. 14,279'
DP31 - Pearl Mountain Elev. 13,362'
DP32 - Pearl Pass 12,723'
DP33 - Teocalli Mountain Elev. 13,208'
DP34 - Whetstone Mountain Elev. 12,527'
DP35 - Crested Butte
DP36 - Crested Butte Museum
DP37 - Mount Emmons Elev. 12,401'
DP38 - Judd Falls
DP39 - East River
DP40 - Mount Baldy Elev. 12,789'
DP41 - Mount Bellview Elev. 13,323'
DP42 - Emerald Lake
DP43 - Schofield Pass Elev. 10,705'
DP44 - Crystal River Waterfall
DP45 - Devils Punch Bowl
DP46 - Crystal Mill
DP47 - Treasure Mountain Elev. 13,535'
DP48 - Mt Daly Elev. 13,300'
DP49 - Marble Mill Site
DP50 - Chair Mountain Elev. 12,721'
DP51 - McClure Pass Elev. 8,770'
DP52 - Mount Hatten Elev. 11,322'
DP53 - Mount Gunnison Elev. 12,719'
DP54 - Coal Mountain Elev. 11,705'
DP55 - Paonia
DP56 - Gunnison River
DP57 - Fort Uncompahgre Interpretive Center
DP58 - Delta
DP59 - Nucla
DP60 - Dolores River
DP61 - RimRocker Trail
DP62 - Colorado-Utah Border
DP63 - Mount Peale Elev. 12,726'
DP64 - Geyser Pass Elev. 10,528'
DP65 - Mount Waas Elev. 12,331'
DP66 - La Sal Lookout Point
DP67 - Porcupine Rim
DP68 - Moab
DP69 - Colorado River
DP70 - Mill Canyon Dinosaur Bone Trail
DP71 - Green River
DP72 - Black Dragon Canyon
DP73 - San Rafael River
DP74 - San Rafael Swinging Bridge
DP75 - Buckhorn Wash Pictograph Panel
DP76 - Dinosaur Footprint
DP77 - Wedge Overlook / Little Grand Canyon
DP78 - Buckhorn Wash Visitor Center
DP79 - Clawson UFO Landing Site
DP80 - Heliotrope Mountain Elev. 11,130'
DP81 - Skyline Drive
DP82 - South Tent Mountain Elev. 11,286'
DP83 - Huntington Canyon Viewpoint
DP84 - Currant Creek Peak Elev. 10,554'
DP85 - Provo River
DP86 - Park City
DP87 - Clayton Peak Elev. 10,720'
DP88 - Murdock Peak Elev. 9,600'
DP89 - Mormon Flat Historical Marker
DP90 - Big Mountain Summit
DP91 - Lookout Peak Elev. 8,954'
DP92 - This Is The Place Heritage Park
Alternate Discovery Points for Cumberland Pass Loop
DPA1 - Mary Murphy Mine
DPA2 - Allie-Belle Mine
DPA3 - Hancock Ghost Town
DPA4 - Woodstock ghost town
DPA5 - Monumental Peak Elev. 13,369'
DPA6 - Fairview Peak Elev. 13,214'
DPA7 - Cumberland Pass Elev. 12,034'
Land Managers & Other Resources
Permits & Papers
The Trans-Rockies Adventure Trail is the ultimate overland route through the heart of the Colorado Rockies, connecting Denver to Salt Lake City. Along the way you'll experience astounding alpine views that the the Rockies are famous for, rugged mountains and deep canyons, groomed gravel roads, technical jeep tracks, pristine alpine lakes and and red rock canyonlands. Given the demanding nature of some of the trails along this route, a high clearance 4x4 with rock sliders is recommend.
The Trans-Rockies Adventure Trail passes by 37 high elevation mountain peaks that are discovery points, including four 14ers, 13 13ers, and three peaks over 12,000'. See how many you can spot along the way! The track also includes sever high elevation passes, six of which are above 10,000', and 3 are over 12,000'. Given the high elevation of this track, it's best to check with the local ranger stations on the status of the various passes along the route, some of which can close temporarily during the summer when storms roll through. The track begins by climbing into the Front Range just west of Denver, and then passes through other well known ranges like the Sawatch Range, Elk Mountains, La Sal Mountains, Uncompahgre Plateau, and the Wasatch Range that borders Salt Lake City.
And while the track gets pretty darn remote on a number of stretches, you'll pass through a half dozen of so mountain and resort towns including Salida, Crested Butte, Paonia, Delta, Moab, and Park City, and even smaller mountain outposts like Tincup, Gothic, and Crystal.
And if living inhabitants aren't really your thing, there's a small handful of ghost towns and old mining camps worth checking out like St Elmo, Hancock, Woodstock, and Ashcroft. St Elmo is definitely the most well preserved of the four.
The most technical trails along the track are typically those that lead up and over the high mountain passes. The first of the passes along the main track is Cumberland Pass, which tops out at 12,171'. Cumberland Pass is a nice warm up, as it's rather mild for what's to come. Despite the wide graded dirt road, the alpine scenery and views are still rather impressive. Next up is Taylor pass, elevation 11,948'. Taylor pass is a moderately technical (technical rating 5) trail with more difficult options for those seeking out a challenge. While taking on Taylor Pass, expect a number or rocky sections with small to medium sized boulders that all but require 4x4s to slow down to a crawl. Not long after summiting Taylor Pass you'll encounter Pearl Pass (elev. 12,723). Pearl Pass has some of the best views along the track, but you'll need to earn them! Expect long sections of rocky trail that's also off camber in many sections. Things start to get slightly mellower when you start working your way up to Schofield Pass (elev. 10,705'). There are still a number of tight rocky sections that earn this trail a moderate rating. The additional passes along the track are either paved (McClure Pass), or the rated as easy (Geyser Pass in the La Sal Mountains), but still pack an impressive punch when it comes to scenery. Once you've traveled through the high elevation passes of the Colorado Rockies portion fo the track, the track connects with the RimRocker trail that works its way up and over the La Sal Mountains before dropping down into Moab. The scenery upon reaching Utah is decidedly different than the high alpine of the Colorado Rockies. The conifer give way to pinyon pine and other high desert flora. The towering and majestic rockies turn into a series of mesas, tabletop buttes, and red rock canyonlands. From Moab the track works it's way northwest, passing through the lesser known, but certainly not any less impressive San Rafael Swell. After the Swell, the track climbs into the Wasatch Mountains that border Salt Lake City's eastern border. The views along Skyline Drive are impressive all around-- take it in as you're nearing the end of the track. The track snakes its way through the Wasatch Range for over 200 miles, passing by Park City until ultimately reaching the tracks terminus at Salt Lake City.
Maps + Navigation
Download Digital Mapping Files