Vroom-vroom on acres of OHV trails
1. Rangely is frequently called the OHV Capital of Colorado
Rangely has miles and miles of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands open to OHVs and every other tire you can think of—including plenty of gravel grinding for mountain bikers. The off-road community here explores out of eye-and-earshot of any other riders and can spend the whole week finding new places to explore.
For an insider look at the tire sports of Rangely, we spoke to Andy Key, a thirty-year veteran of the sport, a local, and a huge fan of the Rangely Rock Crawling Park. Key told us that there’s a mixture of technical and fast trails to use both in and adjacent to the Park, so riders can access the full spectrum of trails, for any skill level.
“From easy to complicated, you can find it all. Plus, the views on top of some of these mountains and mesas are outrageous. You’re almost guaranteed to see wildlife like deer, elk and wild horses each time out,” said Key.
“There are tire sports opportunities here that simply don’t exist elsewhere in the state, heck in the whole region. You need to experience Rangely’s options to believe them,” Key told us. “You can ride around on all kinds of rocks and terrain. The openness and inclusiveness of the Rangely community to OHV riders is unparalleled. We’re really blessed to have this open area and offer it to our guests.”
In fact, Rangely has the only natural rock-crawling park in the state, with more than 560 acres of natural terrain designated by the Bureau of Land Management as a four-wheel drive park. The Rangely Rock Crawling Park remains the largest area in Colorado for giving your most rugged rock-crawling buggies the climb of their life. Andy said your side-by-sides can handle the crawl, too, as long as you have 4-wheel drive and big enough tires.
Now that Moab has instituted new OHV rules, Rangely delivers an experience less strict, one that you may remember from years ago. It’s known by OHV insiders as a “mini-Moab” without the crowds or hassles.
“I have headed out early in the season to the rock-climbing trails and not seen a single person all day. You can’t say that about most of the rock-climbing options in our state or elsewhere,” Key said. “When we were prepping for our ROAR event, I didn’t see anyone each time—with three trailers parked at the trailhead. It never gets super busy because it’s so spacious.”
“You can park in town where you’re staying and not have to trailer out to the trailhead. Riding out on county roads to BLM lands and the Park is not to be missed,” said Key.
2. It’s home to two “speed” races—a street-racing Rally and Hill Climb
On June 5-6, Rally Colorado descends upon the town. Stage Rally car racing is modified street-legal production cars racing as fast as possible on underdeveloped roads (stages) in any weather conditions against the clock. Cars will slip, slide, and jump through miles of roads trying not to hit rocks and trees.
During the Rally, a navigator accompanies the driver, verbally issuing instructions on what turns are coming. The car with the fastest stage time wins the stage. The car with the lowest combined stage time wins the rally event.
Since 99% of the event takes place outdoors, organizers continue to work with the local community to incorporate a safe, family-friendly environment.
The Main Street Parade is scheduled for Friday, June 4 from 7-7:30 pm in “Rally Town USA,” Rangely, CO. Visit www.rallycolorado.org for safe and approved designated viewing areas, including detailed safety instructions on how to prepare to safely watch the event. Rally organizers are planning to become a national event and expand their rides for the whole country to enjoy.
Amazing Pintado Hill Climb once again roars through Rangely
On June 11-12, the Rangely Canyon Pintado Hill Climb by the Colorado Hill Climb Association (CHCA) which is affiliated with the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, takes over the town. This year marks the 50-year anniversary of the CHCA. Racing in Rangely since 2018, the CHCA “is happy to head west” for the amazing hospitality of Rangely neighbors and visitors alike. You can drive out to Dragon Douglas Trail, Saturday June 11 at 8 a.m. and Sunday at 9 a.m. to watch the start of the race. Tickets are just $15 for the entire weekend.
While you’re in town, don’t miss The Rangely Automotive Museum’s amazing collection of automotive history including rarely seen automobiles and motorcycles. There are a few once-in-a-lifetime vehicles to admire there.
“Kids of all ages enjoy this amazing museum! “There are several cars in the museum that most individuals would never have the opportunity to see in other locations,” said Rangely’s marketing/economic development coordinator Jeannie Caldwell. “My grandsons are really into cars and history, so this place is perfect for them!”
3. Nearly every street is open to OHVs
If you’re lucky enough to live in Rangely, your kids can ride their ATVs to school every day. Many homes here border BLM lands so the garage-to-trail crowd can fit in a ride at the end of an average workday.
“If you’re a remote worker, you can live wherever you want. You might consider Rangely as an option for relocation. Rangely has that small-town charm and excellent, high-speed WiFi at a very low cost. Many love the dark skies for their kids’ sake—a carpet of glittering diamonds overhead they’ve never seen in their former metro homes.
“I can see the Milky Way from my front yard,’ Caldwell said. “And you could view the Comet Neowise from backyards across town—no telescope required.”
Trails are well-maintained except for the ones that you want as rough as possible. That’s why “find us where the pavement ends” is a fitting rallying cry for all tire-sports enthusiasts who visit the area. There are multiple trailheads into the Rock Crawling Park, unlike more crowded places, you never have to wait to start riding.
“We are always OHV friendly and people friendly, too,” said Key. “Stop by the Town Hall when you get into town for a map of trails and the trips, tips and tracks to make your tire sport vacation awesome,” Key said. “We’re always happy to greet you.”
Get a map of both the Rock Climbing Park and mountain bike trails or get a tour guide to take you out to some cool Native American sites, too. All of Rangely’s Wagon Wheel West OHV trails are on the COTREX app as well.
4. Tire sports day off? Tons to do
Days off from the trail offer so many options. Rangely is a dark skies destination—turn off the lanterns outside the motel or look up while camping and the Milky Way springs to life. Kayakers, fisherman, hunters, and water-lovers can visit Kenney Reservoir or the White River. Dinosaur National Monument is 20 minutes away, too.
You can waterski and fish on Kenney; kayak on the White River and set up camp in BLM lands as you go; or tube in the gentle section of the river that meanders past the parks and walking paths that border the town. If it rains, there’s a Rec Center with a great kids’ splash zone, too.
Finally, Cedar Ridges Golf Course is a gorgeous, 9-hole golf course perched on top of a mesa, offering every golfer’s dream of pristinely maintained greens and views that must not be missed.
5. You can ROAR every May
Each first weekend in May, Rangely holds the ROAR OHV Adventure Rally which includes a Poker Run, rodeo, shrimp boil and so much more. Those who hit up ROAR year-over-year always come back for more.
If you’re an off-roader, you’ve not had a Colorado vacay unless you get out to Rangely. Bring your bikes, trikes and jeeps and prepare for a time like no other in the high desert. Great weather complete with 300 days of sunshine, fewer crowds and miles of OHV trails including a natural rock-crawling park will put the “vroom” into your summer, 2021.
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And the website at rangely.com