Ellis Jeep Trail  
Maps:              
USGS 7.5' Map: West Fork Lake, Elkhorn Mountain, Hahns Peak, Farwell Mountain
Statistics:
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Moderate 6 FR 499 6.5 9,000 ft. Mud - 2 3-4 hours
County: Routt and Jackson
Adopted by:      
Managed by: Routt National Forest,
Hahns Peak / Bears Ears Ranger District
925 Weiss Drive
Steamboat Springs, CO 80487-9315
970-870-2299
Summary: The southern end of the 4WD road begins near the town of Columbine. The first half of the 4WD road takes easy forest service roads through Little Red Park and Big Red Park. The northern section of the road is more difficult skirting the northwest edge of the Mount Zirkel Wilderness. The route is through pine forests and alpine meadows. The northern end of the Ellis Jeep Trail is just across the Colorado border into Wyoming.
Attractions: The Ellis Jeep Trail is a fairly long remote 4WD road. It borders the Mount Zirkel Wilderness.
Seasonal
Closure:
Forest Service - from December 1 to June 15
Best Time: June - Difficulty higher depending on mud
July - Best
August - Start of fall colors, best at south end
September - Best fall colors, south end
Summer
Activities:
Hiking -
FT1152, FT1101, FT1204, FT1203, FT1155, FT1149
Equestrian -
FT1152, FT1101, FT1204, FT1203, FT1155, FT1149
Mountain Bike -
FT1152, FT1101, FT1204, FT1203, FT1155, FT1149
ATV -
Wyoming FT1101 Seasonal June 15 to December 1
Manzanares, FT1204 Seasonal June 15 to December 1
FT1203 Seasonal June 15 to December 1
Ellis North, FT1155 Seasonal June 15 to December 1
FT1149 Seasonal June 15 to December 1
Motorcycle -
Wyoming FT1101 Seasonal June 15 to December 1
Manzanares, FT1204 Seasonal June 15 to December 1
FT1203, FT1203.1A, FT1203.1B Seasonal June 15 to December 1
Ellis North, FT1155 Seasonal June 15 to December 1
FT1149 Seasonal June 15 to December 1
Camping: There are dispersed camp sites at the southern end of the Ellis Jeep Trail. Most are from the intersection of FR499 and FR500 south along FR500. This terrain is higher and dryer with more open meadows. The northern end of FR499 has a few sites close to the Wyoming border but very quickly FR499 enters dense timber and wet open meadows.
Base Camp: The area north of Big Red Park along FR500 would be the best base camp for this area. It has easy access to Columbine and Hanhs Peak for supplies. Other roads in the area to explore are FR508 Elk Horn Mountain, FR412 Whiskey, and FR511 Whiskey South.
Fall Colors:
Good -
Only the southern end would afford fall colors. Views of the north side of Hahns Peak from the south end of the Ellis Jeep Trail are best.
Winter
Activities:
Snowshoeing -

Cross Country Skiing-

Snowmobile -

Navigation: To get to the southern end of the Ellis Jeep Trail take Highway 129 north out of Steamboat Springs to Hahns Peak continuing north through Columbine. About 0.50 mile north of Columbine look for FR550, Whiskey Park, heading east. Take FR550 east approximately 3.25 miles to the intersection with FR500, Big Red Park. Take FR500 which will head south before turning north as it passes along Big Red Park. As you leave the Big Red Park area the road will become natural surface instead of graded gravel. This is the start of the Ellis Jeep Trail. To get to the northern end of the Ellis Jeep Trail take Highway 125 north out of Walden to Cowdrey. At Cowdrey turn west on County Road 6W following it northwest to the small town of Pearl. Approximatley 1.50 miles west of Pearl turn west on County Road 6B. Head west on 6B as it will become FR80. Once you cross the Colorado, Wyoming border there will be a road immediately on your left, FR82. This is the beginning of the Ellis Jeep Trail.
History: The Ellis Jeep Trail was used to access timber in the area through Hog Park.

In 2012 the Hahns Peak Ranger District proposed a project to re-align the Ellis Jeep Trail. The new route would head northwest from FR82, before connecting with the Ellis Jeep Trail, FR499, and tie in with logging roads in the Sierra Madre area. From here it would connect with FR500 and drop into Big Red Park. This would in essence eliminate the historic Ellis Jeep Trail. The reasons for this proposal relate to the muddy areas in a meadow in the southern section of Hog Park. These meadows could be avoided without elimination of the entire Ellis Jeep Trail. More likely is the concern that the historic 4WD road runs along the edge of the Mount Zirkel Wilderness.
Description:
The following description is from north to south. The start of the Ellis Jeep Trail just across the Wyoming/Colorado border is in dense timber. At under 0.5 miles is the intersection with 82.1A to the left, stay to the right. You will come to a seasonal gate, continue on FR82. After 1.75 miles FR82 becomes FR499. The first half of FR499 continues in dense forest.

Be prepared to deal with fallen trees, especially in the early summer before other recreatinists may have cleared the winter timber fall. Next you will encounter a series of meadows that will have mud holes and stream crossings. Stay on the main route. Do not attempt to make bypasses to the mud holes as this will damage the meadows.

The majority of FR499 has its eastern side along the Mount Zirkel Wilderness. After the meadows will be a series of climbs up to the top of a ridge. You will come to the remains of a cabin along the edge of FR499.

Shortly after this you will come to the intersection of FR499 and FR500. Turn left on FR500 and head south.

Within 0.5 miles will be an intersection with FR499 that deadends at the FT1101 trailhead, stay to the right continuing south. As you continue south you will pass another spur to the right for FR500.1B which deadends then a spur to the left, 500.1A that deadends at the FT1204 trailhead. As you enter the Big Red Park area the road will become graded gravel. Stay with FR500 until it connects with FR550. Turn left at FR550 taking it south to County Road 129.

You will have great views of the north side of Hahns Peak along FR550. Turn left and head south to reach Columbine, and further on Hahns Peak.
Data updated: March 19, 2013      4WD Road driven: July 23, 2009      Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2013