Yesterday I took a lovely beautiful amazing gorgeous scenic drive through some terrain southwest of Denver. The amazing thing about Colorado is that you have to get off the well worn paths, the well beaten I-70 boulevard from Denver to the western parts, away from the usual towns (though they are all gorgeous). You have to explore. Sometimes that means just turning onto roads and not especially knowing where they will lead.
On this occasion however, I chose to follow a route outlined in Guide to Colorado Backroads & 4-Wheel-Drive Trails. Their routes are rated from Easy, to Moderate, then Extreme, based on the rugged challenge and technicality, and this will be dictated by what kind of vehicle you have. I’m right there in the middle.
It doesn’t take long to start feeling the distance from civilization. My preference is the open country roads doted with ranches, with a mix of open pastures and denser forest.
From Sedalia: As you pass through Sedalia heading south on 67, you will take an immediate left onto 150. The scenery is already gorgeous here, with ranches and homes spread apart around pastures, open fields, and groups of trees and brush. In the clear September sunshine of Colorado, the light glimmers off the yellowed wild grasses. You will already feel your cares fall away.
A few miles south down 150, you will take a right onto West Dakan Road. This is a dirt road, with only a small road sign to mark the turn. So keep your eyes peeled, it just looks like any other dirt road. But this is your ticket into the mountains. You will wind for a mile or two into the hills, over rolling passes and turns. It will then abruptly ascend with steep switchbacks.
Along the way you will come to several intersections or forks where you will need to choose a direction.
It’s important to note that the signage and the mapping options from my GPS did not exactly correspond with the view on the ground. I can’t even be entirely certain which roads I did take. You will come to Hidden Valley Road, take it. You will then come to Rampant Range Road. Take this, as it will lead you back to 67 to the north. The main idea is to be mindful of your general direction, if you want to continue south, or eventually turn back north. You will basically be sandwiched in a mountainous backwoods area between Rampant Range Road (north/south) and route 150 (north/south0 to the east. Everything in between is open to exploration!
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Along the way on Hidden Valley Road I passed glorious campsites. Tucked into the woods, private and remote. This was a Sunday, so there were a fair amount of visitors enjoying the off-road opportunities with ATVs and motorcycles. But you can imagine the environment mid-week, in the evening- empty of people, quiet, and a pristine location for serene mountain solitude.