Nestled in the burn scar left by the 2002 Hayman Fire, the North Divide trail system is an outdoor recreation spot close to Colorado Springs that’s likely little known to most of its residents. While this spot is part of Pike National Forest (and right by Woodland Park), you won’t find the typical towering trees in the same numbers around this area. Instead, it’s an area of rebirth and regrowth, where young aspens are experiencing their first years of life more than 15 years after the terrain was scorched. However, this article isn’t about how interesting the ecosystem of the area is – it’s about how this spot might be the next big thing in Front Range off-roading.
Encompassing more than 495 miles of trails between the North Divide trail system and the adjacent South Rampart Range trail system, it’s possible to explore this area for days without seeing it all. During our trip, we stuck to trails in the North Divide trail system where most of the regrowth is occurring, following the advice of the rental company we were working with – Great Outdoor Adventures, a Polaris Adventures company. A 2-seater Polaris General was our weapon of choice.
As we soon discovered while exploring the area, the type of trails in this space are quite varied. At first, we stuck to a few of the wide open dirt roads, familiarizing ourselves with our vehicle while on the hunt for a fun water crossing we’d heard about. With easy-to-follow directions on a map, we quickly found what we were looking for and went crashing through several puddles. Soaked and smiling, we were ready to speed up to dry off.
In contrast with the dirt road we had been on, the next trail we hopped on was much tighter, roughly a width and a half of the vehicle we were in. With berm turns, water bars, and plenty of loose dirt to slide around on, our experience was immediately kicked up to the next level. Blasting through the trails as fast as we could responsibly navigate the area, it was a non-stop adrenaline ride for the rest of the experience, with our Polaris General easily eating every bump and rut along the way.
As an added bonus, the vehicle we were in had an integrated GPS system, allowing us to see exactly where we were in the complicated trail system without having to pull out the map. While we used the map at first, we quickly got away from this. We set a pin on our final destination and zipped that way – onward to Truman’s Rock.
One of many features in the area, Truman’s Rock is an outcropping that offers wraparound views of the rebirth of Pike National Forest. We eventually made it to this waypoint and it lived up to the hype. Surrounded by hills of bright yellow and green, we had no problem putting the speed on pause to take it in. Before we knew it, our four hours of off-roading had zipped by and we were headed back to the rental station.
North Divide trail system is a great place to off-road due to the unique terrain, the diversity of trails, and the stunning views. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a beginner, you’ll have fun here. If you are a beginner, the rental company that we worked with is one I would recommend. As a Polaris Adventures outfitter, Great Outdoor Adventures gets the newest equipment every year, meaning you can worry less about breaking down in the wilderness and focus more on having fun.
Author’s Note: This trail system has trails open to a variety of off-road vehicles, though some are closed to certain OHV due to size restrictions, county rules, etc. If you do plan to visit, please follow all posted rules and as always, Leave No Trace.
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