Jeep Trail Ratings in Colorado
by: Ursula Nizalowski
When considering which jeep trail to go on, you should always check the trail’s rating. This determines how difficult the trail is, which can be found out in local guides and even online. Each rating not only provides vital information on the trail itself, but also how to prepare for driving on it. Now depending on the state, these ratings are either illustrated through a numerical system or series of symbols. In the state of Colorado, they use a numerical system to rate their jeep trails from a scale of 1 to 10 as seen below.
It is the easiest type of trail to drive on according to Mile-Hi Jeep Club, with gentle grades and “less than 3 inches” of water that crosses the trail. Otherwise, it’s just a dry dirt road. Thus, such a trail is good for Two-Wheel Driving under most weather conditions with snow being the exception. Also, the trail’s width is about two vehicles.
Much like a 1 Rating trail terrain-wise, only this one does have some ruts. Even the grading is a little deeper, though only up to 10 degrees. While Two-Wheel Driving is still good under most conditions, Four-Wheel Driving may be necessary for some. Particularly, if there is rain on the trail or even snow. Another difference is the trail’s width, as it ranges from one and a half vehicles up to two.
Still a dirt road, except with washes and even gulches that have 6 inches of water crossing depth-wise. Grading is still 10 degrees, though, and has mud that’s passable. Four-Wheel Driving is definitely recommended, but Two-Wheel Driving is fine under ideal weather conditions or good clearance along the ground minus small rocks and holes. Width-wise, the trail is still up to two vehicles with some passing spots available if the trail is narrower.
Here’s where a trail goes from easy to moderately difficult as the road’s terrain becomes rocky. The rocks can be up to 9 inches in height, and the grading is now 15 degrees. In other words, the trail starts to get a little steep with 15 degree-side hills included. So Four-Wheel Driving is better to use, even under the best weather conditions.
Like a 4 Rating trail, it’s still rocky with the same grading. Only this time, the rocks are 12 inches in height along with the water crossings in terms of depth. The holes, on the other hand, are now up to 6 inches. For this reason, Four-Wheel Driving is the required vehicle choice. Also, the side hills have gone up to 20 degrees slope-wise.
This trail has very rocky terrain, with deep ruts and multiple rocks that are up to 12 inches. Also, the water crossings can be as deep as a jeep hub or more depending on how strong the currents are. Rock shelves are even present that are up to 6 inches in height, and the mud conditions may be bad enough to check on before proceeding down the trail. Side hills have 30 degree slopes, which means Four-Wheel Driving is necessary with stock vehicles in tow for second attempts.
Here, the trail has large rocks that exceed 12 inches up to jeep hub height. Even the holes are the same depth. Shelves are now 9 inches, with 8 inch-deep mud. Grading on trail is 25 degrees, while side hills are about the same as 6 Rating trails slope-wise. Thus, having good driver experience is helpful on this kind of trail which is one and a half vehicles in width.
Down to one vehicle width-wise, this trail has a heavy amount of rocks and deep mud with parts that go uphill. While the grading is the same as a 7 Rating trail, it is not only steep but also loose. On top of that, water crossings can be up to 30 inches deep. So being an experienced driver is needed along with vehicle modifications, as one can possibly get hurt.
Trails like this are very difficult, with 15 inch-rocks, holes, and shelves. Meanwhile, the mud is very bog-like in terms of depth. As for water crossings, they are still 30 inches but with strong currents included. Gradings and side hills are both 30 degrees, meaning extreme caution must be taken due to possible bodily harm and mechanical breakdowns.
Being the most difficult type of jeep trail, this one has many elements that make it dangerous. Among these include severe weather conditions, which makes the trail impassible except under the best conditions. Thus, there is a greater risk of vehicle damage and personal injury. So one must be extremely prepared before taking on such a trail.