Frequently Asked Questions about Rampart

  1. Why don't you designate the trails as one-way?
  2. I want to help. How do I get involved?
  3. What is the best kind of bike for Rampart?
  4. Why have the "temporary" trail closures lasted so long?
  5. Does it cost anything to ride at Rampart?
  6. When is Rampart Open?
  7. I need somebody to ride with. Can you guys help me out?
  8. Who decided these trail ratings? Some of them are way off!
  9. Are there any organized events at Rampart?
  10. I've heard there are going to be new trails soon. Is that true?
  11. Is "Top of the World" ever going to reopen?
  12. Do I need a OHV sticker/permit and where do I get one?
  13. Why can't I ride my dirt bike or ATV on Rampart Range Road?
  14. Do I need a spark arrestor at Rampart?
  15. Where is camping/lodging available?
  16. Are there sound restrictions at the Rampart?
  17. Where can I buy Maps of the Rampart?
  18. Some of the gates are too narrow for my ATV. How do I get through?
  19. Where is the best place to take kids to learn how to ride?

1. Why don't you designate the trails as one-way?

Head-on collisions are a very real possibility on any trail, including the ones at Rampart. At first glance, one-way trails sound like a simple solution. But in fact, it wouldn't really make the trails any safer and could make the risks even higher. There are several problems with the idea:

  1. There aren't enough loops to allow one way traffic without having to back track, or even if you can loop, it cuts down on your choices on which way to go.
  2. Some riders are less skilled than others and many not anticipate the difficulty of the trail they chose. Do you tell the rider that is in over his head that he can't turn back, even if he is in danger of injuring himself if he continues?
  3. Many riders like the challenge that trails provide in 2 directions. Some sections might be easy in one direction, hard in another. Which way is preferred for a given rider?
  4. What happens if someone has a mechanical problem and needs to turn back? Do you make them ride the long way around and risk breaking down for good?
  5. What if your riding buddy falls behind? You need to go back and figure out what happened to him. Can you turn around to look for him, or do you need to complete the loop and come back around?
  6. How do you enforce it? There will always be some joker who decides he'd rather ride it "the way he always has". Now you've got people expecting one way traffic, but no way to guarantee that there isn't someone coming the other way..

As you can see, there is no simple solution. At best, trying to designate trails as one way would lure riders in to a false sense of security and increase speeds resulting in the opposite of the desired effect. The reality is, it's just not practical.

It is the responsibility of each individual to assure they are operating their vehicle in a safe manner for the conditions at any time. Read more about trail safety on our information page for helpful suggestions on how to reduce the chances of problems on the trail. Remember, this is trail riding. Slow down and enjoy the scenery. If you want to race, go to a track.

2. I want to help. How do I get involved?

Come to our meetings and/or work parties. There is always something to do and the more people we have, the easier it is for us to accomplish our goals. Meetings are held the 4th Thursday of the month except November and December. There is no cost to join the RRMMC, and there are no dues to pay. All we ask for is your time. Once you attend three meetings, you become eligible to be voted in as a member.

Something else you can do that will help all riding areas in Colorado is to JOIN COHVCO! The Colorado Off Highway Vehicle Coalition is the best way to send the message that you want to keep areas like Rampart and the dozens of other legal riding areas in Colorado open. They're out there every day keeping an eye on things for us, but they need our support. Yearly membership dues help with the funding, but more important, the more members they have, the more political clout we have when it comes time to influence land managers and law makers. It really is the best and easiest thing you can do to preserve our sport, and the annual membership fee is probably a lot less than it costs you to drive to your favorite riding area just one time. Isn't that worth it?

3. What is the best kind of bike for Rampart?

No good answers here. You can see just about everything that even resembles a dirt bike on the trails. 1960's vintage trail bikes, enduro bikes, play bikes, the latest motocross bike, dual sport bikes, ATVs, mini bikes, little bikes, big bikes, even the occasional street bike (complete with slightly demented rider). Obviously most trails are best suited to offroad specific dirt bikes or the lighter class dual sport machines. The best bike is entirely up to you though. It's what you feel comfortable on, and what will be reliable for you. If you are just starting out and you aren't sure what to get, come to our meetings and talk to other committee members. They can help you learn about the sport and may have some advice.

4. Why have the "temporary" trail closures lasted so long?

The original plan was to reopen trails 649 and 678 as soon as possible after the Hayman fire with some possible reroutes. Unfortunately, a couple things happened. One is that some of the rehabilitation budget that was supposed to go toward reopening those trails was diverted elsewhere. The other is that the new travel management plan process was started and those trails are ones that were being scrutinized anyway. The reopening (if it ever happens) has now been delayed until the new Travel Management Plan is accepted. See the Forest Service information on their website for details or check the news page for additional stories on the process.

5. Does it cost anything to ride at Rampart?

There are currently no mandatory fees collected in the Rampart Range for dirt bike or ATV use. However there is a voluntary collection tube located at the intersection of Rampart Range Road and Highway 67. Donations from that box go directly to the Forest Service and they use the money for local projects within the Rampart. Additional funding is provided through the Colorado OHV Registration Program.

6. When is Rampart Open?

The trails are generally open year round, though snow may make them impassable for most of the winter. Rampart Range Road closes from December 1st to at least April 1st (depending on conditions) each year, and only the first parking lot near Highway 67 is accessible during that time. That time frame may expand depending on snow conditions as well, however the trails usually remain open even if the road is closed. The exception is if the Forest Service feels the need for an "emergency closure". Emergency closures can happen at any time of year for just about any reason they feel necessary, though it is usually situations such as forest fires or extremely wet conditions which put the trail system at risk for damage due to impassable sections. The current conditions page should have the most up to date information, or you can call the Forest Service office.

7. I need somebody to ride with. Can you guys help me out?

Sure. Come to our meetings and get involved. We are just a bunch of guys (and gals) that are in to dirt bikes. We like to ride just like you do. Chances are somebody will have something going on that you can tag along with. You can also check out one of the discussion groups listed on our links page. Many of them post information about rides where you can meet other members of the group. COTrailRiders has several members that meet at Rampart frequently and usually extend open invitations to join them.

8. Who decided these trail ratings? Some of them are way off!

Trail conditions change from day to day. Sometimes sections that are a piece of cake one day might get washed out and be a real pain in the neck the next. There is also a huge range of skill levels among riders. What seems like a stroll in the park to one rider might seem like an impossible challenge to another.  The ratings are based on "normal" trail conditions for average riders, but both are rare.

In some cases the ratings may just plain be off. Most were designated by the Forest Service, and their system may not meet with the expectations of the average dirt biker. If you think a rating is way off, drop us an email and if enough people agree with you, we'll see what we can do.

9. Are there any organized events at Rampart?

The only regularly scheduled motorcycle oriented events that we are aware of at Rampart are our semi-annual poker runs. There is a dual sport ride that happens in the fall that begins and ends at the Sprucewood Inn and travels through sections of Rampart on their way, but it isn't a Rampart event per se. There are probably other clubs that get together at, or pass through, Rampart as well, but we aren't aware of any on a regular schedule. At one time there was an attempt to hold an ATV Poker Run, however the timing was bad with the Hayman fire and the group sponsoring the event seems to have lost interest. If you think you'd like to hold an ATV Poker Run, join the committee and bring your friends. Most of us are dirt bikers and we don't have the resources or the expertise to hold a 3rd event for ATVs every year. If you want one, come head up the project!

10. I've heard there are going to be new trails soon. Is that true?

Yes! The political hurdles have been cleared and work has begun on rerouting some existing trails as well as creating new ones! It is a huge undertaking and may take several years to complete, and of course there will be tradeoffs. Some of the favorites will be lost, but overall we will gain some additional mileage and bring back some true "single track" in the process. Those of you who date back far enough may recall when Rampart was all single track...some of that era will be returning and new long-distance loops will be created. There are also many improvements for ATV riders and increasing their mileage as well. You can read about it on the Forest Service site here or read some of the other articles on our "In The News" page.

11. Is "Top of the World" ever going to reopen?

In a word, no. The Forest Service closed the trail in 1997 due to the Buffalo Creek fire. Despite the fact that it was just about everyone's favorite trail, they have made no promises, hints or attempts at any sort of re-opening for OHV use. The fact that it was "outside the boundary" of the rest of the trail system made it an easy target to be shut down. The fire was an opportunity to close a trail that they didn't want there in the first place. Sorry folks, it will remain just a memory. Consider yourself lucky if you had the opportunity to ride it.

It is because of closures like these it is so important for OHV enthusiasts to step up and be vocal, joining groups such as COHVCO and BRC. Often closures are the "path of least resistance" for land managers and this is why it's important for us, the land users, to take the time to make calls and write letters to land managers and our state representatives.

12. Do I need a OHV sticker/permit and where do I get one?

In general, yes, you need a Colorado OHV registration to operate your OHV at Rampart. As of April 1, 2008, there is no longer a reciprocal agreement with other states, so all non-residents will be required to purchase a non-resident OHV permit regardless of how long they will be visiting. In addition, there had previously been loose enforcement of the OHV law which allowed vehicles with license plates to be excluded from enforcement, however as of 2012 there may be stricter enforcement of the law which will require all vehicles to have a sticker on OHV only trails regardless of their street license status. You can find more details about the rules, as well as information on where to obtain the permit on the information page. The rangers regularly check for OHV permits and you may receive a citation if you are not in compliance.

13. Why can't I ride my dirt bike or ATV on Rampart Range Road?

Rampart Range Road is a county road and all the rules of public roadways apply. Any vehicle operating on the road must have a valid license plate, permanently mounted in a visible location, and the operator must posses a valid drivers license with a motorcycle endorsement. The exceptions to this rule are portions of Dakan Road, Jackson Creek Road and Watson Park Road. See the trail information for more details. If you are caught, you WILL receive a ticket!

14. Do I need a spark arrestor at Rampart?

Yes! All motorized vehicles must have a Forest Service approved spark arrestor mounted and functional at all times. The rangers frequently run spark arrestor checks and you may receive a citation if you are not in compliance. Many motocross bikes do not come with spark arrestors. Check with your local dealer if you are unsure if your OHV is legal.

15. Where is camping/lodging available?

There are 5 campgrounds and many dispersed camping areas available at Rampart. See the camping section of the information page for more details. There are also several hotels in nearby Castle Rock if you are traveling from far away and don't want to "rough it". Most are within about 30 minutes of the trails.

16. Are there sound restrictions at the Rampart?

Beginning July 1st 2010, all public lands will be enforcing a 96db sound limit. Most stock pipes from the manufacturers on non-racing models meet this requirement. Many motocross bikes may not however, and far too many aftermarket pipes do not. See the information page for more details. Forest Service and law enforcement personnel are being trained on how to properly administer tests and you may be ticketed for exceeding the limit after July 1st. If you aren't sure if your bike complies, the Stay The Trail campaign has a traveling exhibit that will also perform sound tests. Check out their calendar to find out where it will be and when. The RRMMC performs voluntary sound testing at our Poker Run events too. Some dealers may also be able to help - many are now conducting sound tests at their "open house" events throughout the year.

17. Where can I buy Maps of the Rampart?

Many Denver and Colorado Springs area motorcycle and ATV dealerships carry trail maps for the Rampart Range Motorized Recreation Area. More information can be found on the trail information page. Proceeds from these map sales benefit the RRMMC and the work we do at Rampart.

18. Some of the gates are too narrow for my ATV. How do I get through?

The maximum vehicle width for any of the trails at Rampart is 50". If your vehicle is wider than that, you need to find somewhere else to ride. In addition, some trails are designated as single track (dirt bike, bicycle or foot) only and may have (though not always) even narrower gates. See the trail descriptions for information on which trails are open to ATV traffic. If you don't fit, or if the trail is designated as no-ATV, don't go there. Anyone caught riding on improper trails or trying to cut around control points may receive a citation or possibly even have their vehicle confiscated!

19. Where is the best place to take kids to learn how to ride?

There are a couple good options for taking young kids/first time riders at Rampart. The best is probably the Dutch Fred camping area. In 2000 there was a major renovation of the Dutch Fred area and two new beginner areas were added. One is the "Kiddy Corral", which is basically a fenced oval loop where first timers can buzz around in circles to their hearts content without having to worry about them wandering too far away. When they get bored with the oval, there is also "Lightfoot's Loop" in the same area. This is a slightly more challenging trail loop that runs a short distance back in to the woods. Once they become more confident, you can venture out with them to some of the beginner trails. You can find information about trail ratings on the Trail Information page or on the trail maps.

There is another oval-style track area near the Overlook parking area similar to the Kiddy Corral. It is just south of the Flat Rocks camping area.

You may also wish to check out the MSF Dirt Bike School to get the kids started off right. They are experienced in teaching all the important skills for anyone interested in improving their riding.

Note that even the trails rated as "easiest" can be quite challenging to new riders and small bikes. Take it easy until your new rider has a good feel for the sport.

If you live new Pueblo or Colorado Springs, you might also want to consider visiting the Pueblo Motorsports Park. It has a large open riding area where beginners can experiment on a variety of terrain without ever having to venture too far from the truck. **UPDATE 2/13/08** While some of the open riding area has been reported as closed, a new master plan for the area is in progress. You can find more information on the status of the "Honor Farm" master plan here. As always, it is recommended that you check with local authorities about the status of any riding area before entering.

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