Location: Southwestern Colorado
Coordinates: N38 1.36548, W107 40.28825 (Downtown)
Average Temperatures (F): June - High: 72 Low: 45; July - High: 77 Low: 52; August - High: 74 Low: 50
Closest Towns: Ouray, Telluride, Montrose
Permits Required: OHV Permit for nearby Ridgway State Park, Daily Parks Pass for $7. No permits for San Juan National Forest. Some permits required for group or commercial activities.
Called the "Switzerland of America" for its dramatic scenery and topography, Ouray is one of the most scenic destinations on our list. The Montrose regional airport is the only nearby airport with regularly-scheduled service and road access is exclusively via Highway 550, which is known as the "Million Dollar Highway." Ouray is situated within the San Juan National Forest, with the Uncompahgre and Rio Grande National Forest areas also close by as well as the smaller Ridgway State Park. There are a number of Alpine-themed hotels, conventional hotels and bed and breakfasts in the Ouray area.
www.ouraycolorado.com - Official Web site of Ouray Chamber Resort Association with extensive information on area accommodation, dining and attractions.
fs.usda.gov/main/sanjuan/home - San Juan National Forest official page.
Ocala National Forest
Location: North central Florida
Coordinates: N29.1669226, W-81.79147
Average Temperatures (F): June - High: 92 Low: 70; July - High: 93 Low: 71; August - High: 93 Low: 72
Closest Towns: Ocala, Silver Springs
Permits Required: Annual/Day Passes required for entranced to concession-managed recreation areas. $50-60, good for one year from date of purchase.
If hard-core rock-crawling and desert dunes aren't quite your cup of tea, the Ocala National Forest offers a change of scenery for those looking for a summer getaway. At 607 square miles, Ocala is the second-largest and most-visited national forest in Florida. It is also known for having a large proportion of Florida Scrub habitat and the largest concentration of sand pine in the world. In addition, the forest also has more than 500 natural lakes and ponds. Along with extensive network of trails totaling 125 miles, the park also features a 22-mile long path on the Paisley Woods Bicycle Trail for mountain bikes plus horseback riding trails. Within the park, the Clearwater Lake and Juniper Springs areas offer campgrounds, and the Lake Dorr recreational area offers RV and tent camping, and a boat ramp.
fs.usda.gov/main/ocala/home - Ocala National forest home page. Information on permits, recreational areas, campgrounds, attractions and current conditions.
www.ocalamarion.com - Convention and visitor's bureau page for Ocala/Marion County area with extensive listings and links for accommodations, dining, and recreation.
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Location: Southern New Mexico
Coordinates: N32.4048123,W-106.900009 (Robledo Mountains OHV area)
Average Temperatures (F): June - High: 95 Low: 62; July - High: 95 Low: 68; August - High: 92 Low: 67
Closest Towns: Las Cruces, Deming; Anthony, TX
Permits Required: $5 Per vehicle day use pass, $7 camping permit for BLM-managed areas.
The Bureau of Land Management manages 5.4 million acres of land in southern New Mexico which includes an astounding 45,000 miles of roads and trails. The Organ Mountain National Recreation Area is close by and offers several camping areas and off-highway vehicle trail networks. Some areas do not have restrooms or other facilities, so plan accordingly. The area is also home to the annual Chile Challenge Off-Road event, usually held in late February, hosted by the Las Cruces Four Wheel Drive Club.
www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/recreation/las_cruces.html - Bureau of Land Management Las Cruces District Office home page. Information on camping and recreational areas in the area.
www.staysunny.org - Official Web site for the Las Cruces Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Links for accommodations, dining, special offers and cultural events.
Mendocino National Forest, California
Photo courtesy of the National Forest Service
Location: Northern California
Coordinates: N39.4424, W-122.9683 (Lake Pillsbury)
Average Temperatures (F): June - High: 85 Low: 50; July - High: 94 Low: 54; August - High: 93 Low: 52
Closest Towns: Potter Valley, Willits, Ukiah
Permits Required: Current registration for street-legal vehicles, Green Sticker state permit for Off-Highway vehicles. Campfire permits required for some areas.
The Mendocino National Forest is the only national forest is California that is not crossed by a paved road or highway, making for an especially serene nature experience. There are numerous campgrounds, most with restrooms, a camp stove, fire ring and a picnic table, but no showers or RV hookups, except at the Red Bluff Recreation Area. Lake Pillsbury is the largest lake in the Forest and has 31 miles of shoreline.
www.fs.usda.gov/mendocino - Mendocino National Forest home page
www.ukiahchamber.com/community/visitor_guide/ - Greater Ukiah Chamber of Commerce's Visitor Guide. Listing of hotels, RV parks, vacation rentals, restaurants, breweries and wineries.
Whipsaw Trail, British Columbia
Location: South Central British Columbia
Coordinates: N49.36915, W120.57722 (Whipsaw Creek Rd. & Hwy 3)
Average Temperatures (F): June - High: 72 Low: 44; July - High: 79 Low: 48; August - High: 79 Low: 47
Closest Towns: Coalmont, Princeton
Permits Required: None. Valid, current vehicle registration. License required for hunting or fishing
Whipsaw Trail crosses two mountains, winding from the Hope-Princeton Highway in the Southern mainland of British Columbia, Canada to the tiny village of Coalmont. The trail was used as a mining road in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and offers the adventurous off-road enthusiast an opportunity to explore an alpine wonderland of meadows and icy lakes, surrounded by mountain peaks. The best time to visit is between July and August, when rainfall is lowest. Mobile phone service is minimal to non-existent. Some areas of the trail are quite challenging and may require a winch and tow strap. It is an active mining and logging road, so keep an eye out for traffic on the trail. The trail was a winner of the BF Goodrich Outstanding Trails award in September 2007.
www.expeditionportal.com/overlandroutes/index.php/Whipsaw_Trail - Detailed description of the trail, its history, and recommendations for vehicle equipment.
www.princeton-bc.worldweb.com - Listing of accommodations, dining and attractions in nearby Princeton.