Trail Review: Arapaho National Forest – Grand Lake, CO

In the middle of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, Highway 40 and 34 wind through the mountains and many popular ski towns. But if you pass by the ski resorts during the off-season you’ll find a small town whose lack of ski lanes makes is far less popular. In fact, its tourist season is in the summer when the warmer weather invites tourists headed to Arapaho National Forest and Rocky Mountain National Forest. Welcome to Grand Lake, Colorado.

Arapaho National Forest

Grand Lake is actually considered to be the snowmobile capital of the United States due to it’s remoteness. But during the short, summer months, the area provides some of the best ATV riding anywhere.

Arapaho National Forest

We booked our stay at the Winding River Resort just north of Grand Lake and on the outskirts of Rocky Mountain National Park. Winding River Report offers lodge rooms, cabins and camping lots for any type of camping. The resort also offers many recreational activities like a petting zoo, horseback trail rides, playgrounds and so much more. There are other hotel and lodging options in Grand Lake, but only the Winding River Resort sits directly on the North Supply Kiosk trailhead.Arapaho National Forest

Since we utilized air transportation to get to our destination, we found it necessary to rent so we could enjoy the trails. On the grounds of the Winding River Resort is also On The Trail Rentals. OTTR rents Polaris ATVs and side-by-sides during the warm months(May through September) and Ski-Doo snowmobiles during the winter. They buy all new units at the beginning of each season and maintain them meticulously. We opted for 8 hours on an RZR 570, giving us access to most of the narrow trails thanks to the 50-inch width. With a discount for staying at the resort we paid just over $300 which includes a trail map, a tank of fuel and helmets. During the 2014 riding season you can choose between a Polaris Sportsman 570, the 2-up Sportsman Touring 570, the Sportsman Ace, RZR 570 and Ranger Crew. If you bring your own OHV then you can launch from the Idleglen Staging Area nearby. The Idleglen kiosk has restroom facilities.

Arapaho National Forest

The Stillwater OHV Trail System, also known as Stillwater Pass, offers over 130 miles of trails. It’s a great mix of wide roads for beginners to moderately technical rocks climbs to narrow passes that even the RZR 570 couldn’t venture through. In all, we treked about 70 miles through the trails, discovering some of the most beautiful scenery and wildlife you’ll ever see. Speaking of wildlife, if there is a moose on the trail ahead of you he owns it. Be patient!

Arapaho National Forest

About two-thirds of the 130 miles is wide dirt road with plenty of passing room in most places. But the real adventure starts on the other third, the narrower trails. Middle Supply Creek, Blizzard Pass and Camway trails were said to be too narrow for our RZR. But we had a great time on the North Supply Loop, Soda Pass and Spruce ’em Up Jack trails. Lower Gilsonite also provided some great canyon views. Be sure to pack a lunch and eat at the picnic area at the peak of the Eagle Perch trail where you can see all of Grand Lake.

Arapaho National Forest

If you are hauling your own ATVs, note that you will need to register your OHV with Colorado State Parks. Registration can be done at forest ranger offices, Colorado State Parks registration units, and many OHV dealers. You can also catch up on other state requirements and OHV laws. Outside of the registration there is no fee for riding. For more details on riding at Arapaho National Forest see the USDA site at http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/arp/home. For rental information see OTTR at http://www.onthetrailrentals.com/.

Arapaho National Forest

Get Directions

Interview: Mitch Guthrie Racing

If you spend much time following the LOORS, WORCS UTV series, King of the Hammers, or some of the big names in UTV racing equipment, then you have come across the name Guthrie. You’ve probably come across it a lot. Like at the end of every race. As in the podium list. In fact, the father/son team of Mitch Guthrie, Sr. and Mitch Guthrie, Jr. of Guthrie Racing have an accomplishment list longer than this interview. To highlight, it includes the podium in every KOH UTV race including five out of six 1st place finishes. Jr. also has dozens of top finishes in the Lucas Oil Offroad Racing Series and is now a strong competitor in the WORCS including being the 2013 WORCS Production 1000 Class Champion and he has a great start on the 2014 season. We caught up with the pair to see what makes them so successful.

Guthrie Racing

WeekendATV.com: What all offroad vehicles are in your collection?
Mitch Guthrie Sr.: We have two Polaris RZR XP1000’s, a Polaris RZR XP900 and a Polaris Ranger 500.

WATV: You have both proven the Polaris RZR has what it takes to be successful in any racing series. What makes the Polaris RZR the best UTV?
Sr.: Durability
Jr.: Fast, comfortable and easy to drive, and what my dad said.

WATV: What is the next challenge for the Guthrie Racing team? Have you considered the Dakar?
Sr.: No Dakar. We would like to try some desert racing in the future.
Jr.: I have run short course and WORCS racing and King of the Hammers. I would also like to try desert racing.

Guthrie Racing

Why does the Polaris RZR dominate? It’s durable, fast, comfortable and easy to drive.

WATV: Supposing you ever have down time, how do you unwind?
Sr.: We go to the Colorado River and boat or take the Polaris cars out to the desert for fun. 
Jr.: I hang out with my friends from school.

WATV: Do you feel like you’ve “made it”?
Sr.: I like to think so. We have many great companies that support us. 
Jr.: I feel like we have accomplished our goals each year, but I want to keep moving up if possible.

WATV: You each race in several different series. How do you prepare differently for each one?
Sr.: We race two series; King of the Hammers once a year and all nine WORCS races. We prepare by having the best UTVs and the best equipment. We also are the only two people that work on the cars.

WATV: You two have set a strong example for family racing teams. What is the atmosphere in the cockpit like during a race like KOH?
Sr.: In the cockpit during the KOH race it’s stressful for the first, I would say, 15 to 20 miles and then we get in a groove and have fun! 
Jr.: My dad likes to drive a little wild at first and then I remind him it is a long race. We actually talk and have fun!

Guthrie Racing

Click the image to see full KOH coverage from UTVUnderground.com.

WATV: Junior, do you have plans to compete against your dad in a future KOH?
Sr.: I don’t like him driving in the rocks. But maybe someday. 
Jr.: No, I really don’t like the rocks. I am getting more comfortable with them but I think it takes years to get good at going through them fast.

WATV: What’s the first upgrade you make to an ORV?
Sr.: Seats and belts. 
Jr.: Definitely anything to do with safety.

WATV: Any shoutouts you would like to make?
Sr.: Thank you to all of our great sponsors. We could not do this without them: Polaris, Walker Evans Racing, Muzzy’s Performance, Magnum Offroad, Nelson & Nelson Racing Products, UTVUnderground.com, Tireballs, Maxxis, SuperATV.com, K&N, FactoryUTV, Assault Industries and Pro Armor.

To keep a close watch on the growing list of top finishes follow the Guthrie’s at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Guthrie-Racing/140061512724541#

PREVIEW: 2014 Polaris RZR Lineup

Last night Polaris released their 2014 RZR models including the unveiling of two all new models. While media leaks took much of the surprise away it was still great to see full details released for the thousands that registered for the premiere. For 2014 Polaris is offering no less than 18 variations of the RZR! Simply put, if you can’t find an RZR that meets your sport Side By Side needs, then there isn’t a solution out there.

2014 Polaris RZR

Most of the RZR goes relatively unchanged from last year. They will continue to offer the RZR 170 youth model, the RZR 570 and RZR 570 EPS Trail LE, the RZR 800 and RZR 800 EPS LE, the RZR 800 S and RZR 800 S EPS LE models. They will also continue to offer the RZR 900 and 900 EPS LE as well as the RZR 4 800 EPS LE and RZR 4 900 EPS LE models. And for those of you that still couldn’t find your model they are now offering the RZR 800 XC and the incredible RZR XP 1000 EPS.

2014 Polaris RZR 800 XC

The new Polaris RZR 800 XC is feature rich and targeted to trail riders. It’s 55″ width is nestled between the 50″ found on the RZR 800 and the 60.5″ found on the RZR 800 S. While it may shave inches off the RZR 800 S it doesn’t shave off standard features.  The XC comes with Walker Evans shocks, PRP seats, LED headlights and 26″ Maxxis Bighorn tires on black, cast aluminum wheels. 11.3″ of ground clearance will cover most ruts backed by the 760cc High Output engine and on-demand AWD. It is also equipped with Electronic Power Steering and Electronic Fuel Injection. The Polaris RZR 800 XC carries an MSRP of $15,299.

2014 Polaris RZR XP 1000 EPS

The biggest release for this year comes in the form of the 107 horsepower 2014 Polaris RZR XP 1000 EPS. Powered by a 999cc Prostar engine it reaches 0-30 in 2.26 seconds and 0-50 in 5.33 seconds, the fastest of any Side by Side on the market. It is truly ready for anything with 16 inches of front travel and 18 inches of wheel travel and easily adjustable Walker Evans shocks. 29″ Maxxis Bighorn tires give a massive footprint and are stopped by 4-Wheel hydraulic disc brakes with dual-bore calipers. Adding to the standard features, the RZR XP 1000 EPS comes with factory installed doors, adjustable driver and passenger seats and a tilt steering wheel. The MSRP of the 2014 Polaris RZR XP 1000 EPS is $19,999.

2014 Polaris RZR XP 1000 EPS

Polaris also released a full line of accessories including a line of LED lightbars, an overhead MTX audio system, and bolt-on protection like rock sliders and bumpers.

2014 Polaris RZR

To see the new 2014 Polaris RZR lineup for yourself visit your local Polaris dealer or see their website at http://www.polaris.com/en-us/rzr-side-by-side/sport-vehicles.

PREVIEW: 2013 Polaris Sport ATV Lineup

Big news is out from Polaris Industries as they introduce their 2013 Sport ATV Lineup with the new Scrambler 850 poster child. The Scrambler enters the market as the only  challenger to the Can-Am Renegade and it certainly looks ready for the fight.

Introducing the 2013 Polaris Scrambler 850 base model. Stock Polaris photo.

The Scrambler 850 replaces the previous Scrambler 500. The 850 is powered by a high-output SOHC engine with twin electronic fuel injectors (EFI). Expect 77 horsepower from this rocket. The new Scrambler also has all new styling and on-demand four-wheel drive that engages when the rear tires lose traction and disengages when it’s not needed. The Scrambler has 12 inches of ground clearance and 10/25 inches of IRS travel. It also has 75 pounds of rack capacity to help make a full day out of your riding adventure. The basic model is found in white and has an MSRP of $9,499.

The 2013 Polaris Scrambler 850 EPS LE. Stock Polaris photo.

The 2013 Polaris Scrambler 850 is also available in an EPS Stealth Black LE with proven FOX Podium 1.0 shocks and Electronic Power Steering. The LE model also adds a digital dash, LED lights, handguards and black cast aluminum wheels. MSRP on the LE is $11,999.

The 2013 Polaris Trail Boss 330. Stock Polaris photo.

Returning for 2013 are the Trail Boss 330, Trail Blazer 330 and Phoenix 200 models. Virtually unchanged from 2012 the Trail Boss and Trail Blazer are basically the same unit simply with or without racks. Both two-wheel drive units carry and MSRP of $4,399. The Phoenix 200 continues to be a stable mid-model for youths too big for entry units but not yet age appropriate for full size. It carries an MSRP of $3,599.

See more details on the Scrambler 850 and other Polaris models at http://www.polaris.com/en-us/atv-quad/sport-atvs.

REVIEW: Polaris ORV Trails App

Recently, Polaris Industries released an app for Apple and Android devices. ORV Trails is one of a suite of apps created by Polaris that includes Indian Rides and Victory Rides for the streets, and Polaris Snow Trails. The app includes several handy features like live GPS tracking of your venture, weather conditions, waypoint placing and locating local services.  Here is the full feature list from the iTunes store:

– display your current location
– view maps of US ORV trails
– view weather conditions and advisories for any US location
– find and contact Polaris dealers
– local services search with integrated direct dialing, including gas stations, restaurants and lodging
– save waypoints along your route
– track and save multiple ORV routes
– automatic map caching so maps can still be viewed while on the trail and outside of data coverage areas
– multitasking on iOS4 for route tracking in the background
– share saved routes to Twitter or Facebook
– export route data in GPX or CSV format

 

This trail might not be a good option today.

Admittedly, most of these aren’t particularly new items. Most smartphones have built-in maps, GPS, weather and can easily locate the nearest fuel, food and lodging. There are also apps for tracking our routes and adventures. However, there are few options that combine all of this info in one convenient app that is directly targeted at riders like you. As a bonus, there are thousands of trails already posted in the app. It also provides a unique method for mapping areas you may often ride, but have trouble seeing in full due to tree cover. The ability to place waypoints is a great feature too. Think “great hunting spot” or “great view from here”. The number of uses is endless and certainly not limited to ATVing.

The red and orange represent trails.

Perhaps the best thing about the Polaris ORV Trails app is that it’s free. To be completely honest it would have to be a really bad app to get a poor review when it’s free. However, there isn’t much negative to say about the Polaris ORV Trail app.  The app is available for Apple devices and Google Android devices. There is also a PC desktop version. More details are available here:

Polaris: http://www.polaris.com/en-us/Corporate/Pages/polaris-apps.aspx

Apple Devices: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/orv-trails/id493558794?mt=8

Android Devices: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.weathernation.mobile.orvtrails&hl=en

REVIEW: Cycle Country CV Boot Guards

It doesn’t take too long to learn that CV joints and boots need a little extra protection. They aren’t particularly cheap or super easy to replace, but they are often susceptible to damage. Rubber boots are easily pierced by debris on the trail allowing mud, dirt and water to penetrate the CV joints. The older the boots are the more brittle they will become. Neecy’s Polaris Hawkeye 4×4 suffered two blown CV joints within a couple of months. We replaced them with new Monster Axles, and it was was time to protect that investment with a set of CV boot guards.

Failed CV joint, causing the entire axle to come loose. We tied it out of the way with a bungee cord to finish the ride.

I picked up a set of Cycle Country CV Boot Guards (sometimes referred to as A-arm guards) off ebay. They are also are available from many retailers. The guards are very solid, made from 12 guage steel and finished with a powder coating. Not only will they protect the boot and joint, but it will also help protect the A-arm itself from damage. It is a huge upgrade from the flimsy stock plastic found on the Hawkeye from the factory.

The Cycle Country guards were super easy to install. For the Hawkeye, start by removing the two screws holding the factory guard in place. Then remove the factory guard. Next place the Cycle Country guards under the A-arms and bolt them into place with the U-bolts. As the bolts tighten up make sure the guards are in the proper spot. The guard should not come into contact with any part of the frame, bumpers, wheels or tires while stationary or while riding. Once you finish tightening them you’ll need to cut off the excess bolt sticking out below so they don’t catch on anything. After a short ride recheck the position of the guards. Readjust and tighten as needed. Checking the position of the guards should be a part of your regular maintenance plan.

Now your ride is much better protected from costly damage that can easily be found on the trails. Prices vary by application. Rear guards are also available for many applications. For more information, including a fitment chart and other accessories, see Cycle Country at http://www.cyclecountry.com.

2012 Polaris RZR Giveaway

On January 1st Polaris will celebrate New Year’s Day by revealing a brand new RZR model in their side x side line. Polaris seems to be keeping tight lipped about what exactly is coming out, but my guess is it will be the Polaris answer to the Arctic Cat Wildcat. No matter what it is, Polaris is giving you a chance to win one. The contest ends as 2011 does so enter now. You can enter through the Polaris website here.