ATV Use at Rampart

When the Rampart Range Motorized Recreation Area began, there was no such thing as an ATV. All the trails were created for and by motorcycle riders because that was the only type of vehicle available. As the popularity of 3-wheeled, and soon after, 4-wheeled ATVs began to soar in the 1980's, things began to change at Rampart. At first, there were only a handful of trails accessible to the new forms of recreation. Over time however, the trails began to widen to accommodate the larger vehicles.

Even though our name remains (for now) the Rampart Range Motorcycle Management Committee, we aren't only about dirt bikes any more. We welcome the participation of our fellow off-road enthusiasts whether they have 2, 3 or 4 wheels. Even though we ride different machines, we all have a common goal: keep riding opportunities open. This can best be realized by participation in the programs we support that keep Rampart available to all of us. This includes work parties, monthly meetings, and of course respecting the rules of the trail. There are many ATV oriented clubs around, but the RRMMC is the one to be involved with if you want to be hands-on with keeping Rampart open.

Respect Trail Designations

Riders take a break near Quartz Mine. 2005. Photo courtesy Jim Strates.
Riders take a break near Quartz Mine, 2005.
Photo courtesy Jim Strates.

Today, ATV traffic is as common, or perhaps even more common than dirt bike traffic. Most of the trails are now maintained by a machine called a SWECO, which cuts and smoothes a 48" wide path - adequate for most of the 4-wheeled ATV's of today. Many of the trails have now been designated as ATV suitable and are marked as such at the trailheads. There are however, a few trails that remain closed to ATV traffic. It might be because the trail contains sections that are dangerous or impossible to navigate on an ATV without going off the trail, or it may be to preserve the "single track" experience of the trail for the motorcycle users. We ask that you please respect those closures, they have been made for good reason.  If a trail is marked as closed to ATV traffic, please keep out of it, even if it appears you can fit at the beginning.

Volunteers getting ready for a day at a work party. 2003.
Volunteers getting ready for a day at a work party. 2003.

The trail information page contains a listing of all the trails in the Rampart Range area and shows which ones are designated for ATV use and which are not. The newest trail maps also show which trails are open to ATV traffic. If you are using an older map that doesn't show the "no ATV" symbols, you may want to consider getting a new one.

Historically Rampart hasn't gotten a whole lot of OHV use other than snowmobiles in the winter months. Once a significant amount of snow falls, most dirt bikers are looking for warmer climates. ATVs are able to travel in much deeper snow however, and that has caused another phenomenon in the Rampart - emergency trail closures. Because the ATV is able to get through even when conditions are poor, it is sometimes necessary to close the trail system for short periods, especially during the spring thaw. This is to prevent excessive damage to the trail system caused by traffic when the trails are extremely wet and muddy. It can be annoying, but please keep in mind that it is to protect the area that we all love to use.

ATV Safety

Because of the relative ease and stability of the 4 wheeled machines, many people who previously would not have considered off road vehicle recreation are now getting in on the fun. This is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, many more people are able to experience the fun of traveling through the woods and visiting areas they might not otherwise have seen. Young and old, even many physically challenged are able to participate. On the other hand though, far too many people buy an ATV and are lured in to a false sense of safety by their "harmless" appearance. Many of these users also are not properly educated on the importance of staying on the trail and the proper use if safety equipment, or even how to properly handle their machines in unusual or dangerous situations. It is not uncommon to see small children riding 2 or ever 3 up on large machines with no safety gear at all. Accidents happen frequently, often with grave results.

Safety Rules

Young riders learn about ATV Safety at the OHV Expo, 2004. Photo courtesy Steve York.
Young riders learn about ATV Safety at the OHV Expo, 2004. Photo courtesy Steve York.

Anyone who operates an ATV must understand and respect the dangers of off road riding. It's easy to sling a leg over an ATV and figure out how to operate it, it's something else entirely to know how to do so safely. We strongly urge new riders to attend one of the ATV safety courses offered by the ATV Safety Institute or similar organizations. We also offer these safety rules:

Come Join Us!

Again, we can't stress enough, we need your help too! Come to our meetings and/or work parties and help us keep Rampart available for generations to come! We hope to see you there!


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