Trails Are Changing

Posted on: July 13th, 2018

Trails Are Changing

A field report from author Charles Wells

Co-author Matt Peterson and I are in the process of re-driving trails for our two Colorado 4×4 books. We are about seventy percent done with the driving and should be finished in the next few months. We hope to have the new 4th edition books in print by early next summer.

 So far, I’ve been a little surprised at the number of changes we are finding. Generally, trails are more difficult than they were eight years ago, and in some cases, significantly so. For example, I just spent a week in the Breckenridge area. These days I’m driving a 2016 Wrangler Sport (bone stock with street tires) in which I’d planned to drive only easy and moderate trails. Matt is driving difficult trails in our more-capable Wrangler Rubicon. I started up what the book says is moderate North & Middle Fork of the Swan River (Trail #71 in the main Colorado book). When I got to the steeper part of the trail after Waypoint 03, I quickly realized the trail was no longer moderate. Rocks were bigger and I really had to do some careful maneuvering. At one point, the trail became a narrow half-pipe trench with large boulders. I had to pull in my side mirrors to squeeze through. In the end, I made it through okay, but it wasn’t easy.

Also, I found many of the route numbers had changed in this area. For example, Trail #71 is now numbered F.S. 354 instead of F.S. 221 as shown in the book. You have to drive farther into the forest to find good dispersed camping. The area at the end of Tiger Road, where I camped with my RV in 2010, is now a day-use only parking area. And something else to note: Two trails, Santa Fe Peak, Trail #69, and Boreas Pass, Trail #77, no longer allow unlicensed vehicles.

Planning to go 4-wheeling soon? Make sure you check our website for trail updates before you go. We are posting changes as soon as we find them. If you haven’t been to our new site,, we now feature, separately, each trail from our books. Search for trails by name in the TRAILS section. On every trail page, you’ll find helpful information, including free downloadable waypoints and tracklogs that match the book (previously we only offered waypoints). In addition, we’ve made it easy for you to post an update. PLEASE, if you know of a trail that has changed in some important way, go to our website and report it.


  • Ha! We’ve used your book for years and share the trails have changed! We went over Italian Pass last month & would consider it more difficult than moderate. The difficult trail is not passable by car. Can’t wait for your new addition!

  • So true. Tire sizes get bigger and people dig bigger holes. So then they get even bigger tires and dig even bigger holes!

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