Thursday, August 25, 2022—Willow Park and Beaver Creek Reservoir

Today’s travels took us to South Fork, Colorado, for a guided Side by Side (SXS) or Utility Task Vehicle (UTV) trip. So what is a Side by Side or UTV, you might ask. Side by Sides or UTVs are simply off-road vehicles in which two people sit beside each other. The seating configuration is the same as in a car or truck. You have a steering wheel, pedals and a gear shift just like a vehicle. The UTV is larger than an ATV and typically costs a little bit more. Today these vehicles are made for utility/work uses, sports, and a mix of both work and fun! A SXS often comes with similar features to a car like a roll bar or cage, and wind protection that creates an enclosed look. Designed with a sturdy protective exterior, these vehicles are a top choice for recreational adventuring outdoors. 

Kay and Logan at the Side by Side

Our guide today was a young, talkative Logan, some 21 years old. He trailered about a mile east of town to start the trip in the Willow Park area. With Kay driving, the route started on a smooth road and then we got on a fun and rocky trail within a couple of miles. This rocky trail started out in some huge aspen tree groves and worked its way up to Willow Park.

Along the trail

From there we continued on a rocky trail that wound its way up to a great view at about 11,500 feet.

Willow Park

The trail continued down through a variety of woods and open meadows until intersecting with a well maintained smooth road. We then followed the smooth road down towards Beaver Creek Reservoir. A few miles above the reservoir we intersected with another fun trail that wound back to our original trail at Willow Park, and then back to the vehicles. Of note is that Kay was “cautioned” twice about speeding! She drove about half the trip, and Logan drove the other half.

Neither Kay nor I would do the trip again, and the scenery was underwhelming as we were in aspen groves or logging operations much of the time. A mule deer doe was the only large animal seen. The sound of the SXS motor was deafening, even for someone with hearing issues. It was not our cup of tea.

On the return to the cabin, we stopped in Creede for lunch, and ran a couple of errands. At the cabin, it began to lightly rain—it has rained everyday here—but a few Rufous Hummingbirds nectared at the feeders and a few photos were made.