Some Colorado Passes in the UA CJ-6D

    Colorado via UACJ-6D: Taking the Long Way Home

    Verne SimonsPhotographer, Writer

    As much fun as road-testing our UACJ-6D with the Cummins R2.8 Turbo Diesel crate engine in Colorado was, all those paved road miles were about to push us over the edge. Here we were in some of the most beautiful country in the U.S. with thousands of dirt roads, trails, and mountain passes all around, and we had almost zero dirt miles under our 38-inch mud tires. We had a Jeep, a dog, a tent, some food and drink, and a need to explore. So we did what any sane off-roader would do: grabbed a map, veered off the tarmac, and hit the dirt. Our plan was to hit a few new-to-us passes, a few oldies-but-goodies, and slowly head back to our home state of Arizona.

    After parting with the folks from Cummins we hit the road towards Mosquito Pass near Alma, Colorado. We turned off the road, locked the hubs, and aired down the Falkens to run the pass westward into the town of Leadville. From there we set up camp near Turquoise Lake, cooked dinner over a camp fire, and relaxed in the cool mountain air before a restful night of sleep.

    The next day we drove south to Buena Vista, where we met up with a few friends and then headed uphill towards the town of St. Elmo, Tincup Pass, Mirror Lake, and the town of Tincup. After that was Gunnison and on to Lake City, where we set up camp for another campfire and a cool night in a tent.

    The next morning we hit part of the Alpine loop, running Cinnamon Pass, cruised past the ghost town of Animas Forks, down Mineral Creek trail, and on to the small town of Ouray. There we met up with our pals Mike Tarvin and Joel Swedberg, both tour drivers for Switzerland of America Jeep tours. We also hooked up with off-road legend Ned Bacon and his wife, Kat. Being the off-road nuts we are, all decided to head toward Imogene Pass for a quick up-and-back trip. After a rainy night in Ouray we headed south over Ophir Pass and finally back towards home in the low desert of Arizona. We covered a lot of ground both on-road and off- in the UACJ-6D. Check out the photos, and start planning your Colorado off-road trip.

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