Dead Horse Loop  
Maps:            
USGS 7.5' Map: Lost Park, Ripple Creek
Statistics:
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Moderate 5 FR 230 11.00 7,935 to 10,400 ft. NA 2-3 hours
County: Rio Blanco
Adopted by:      
Managed by: White River National Forest,
Blanco Ranger District
220 East Market Street
Meeker, Colorado 81641
(970)878-4039
Summary: The Dead Horse Loop 4WD road is a loop road that climbs up the south end of Sand Peak.
Attractions: Challenge, Scenery
Seasonal
Closure:
Agency - November 23 to May 20
Best Time: June - Possible snow drifts
July - Best
August - Best
September - Best
October - Early snows possible
Trail Heads
Accessed:
FT1804 Pagoda Lake - Motorized, 50 inches or less.
FT1809.2 - Motorized, 50 inches or less.
FT1809 - Motorized, Motorcycle only.
FT1810 - Motorized, Motorcycle only.
Camping: There are two dispersed sites along the road.
Base Camp: This would be a good area to base camp and explore the road networks around Sand Peak and Long Park.
Fall Colors: Very Good - Lots of aspen along the lower section.
Navigation: To start at the west end of the loop, from Meeker, CO. head east on Market Street towards 6th Street and go 1.7 miles. Turn right onto County Rd 8/State Hwy 132 and continue to follow County Rd 8 for 33.6 miles. Turn left onto the Dead Horse Loop road, FR230.

To start at the east end of the loop, from Meeker, CO. head east on Market Street towards 6th Street and go 1.7 miles. Turn right onto County Rd 8/State Hwy 132 and continue to follow County Rd 8 for 35.5 miles. Turn left onto the Dead Horse Loop road, FR230.
History:  
Description:
The Deadhorse Loop 4WD road is a more difficult road on the Blanco Ranger district. It starts right off of County Road 8 and immediately climbs the steep side of the North Fork of the White River canyon. The road is narrow with loose rocky sections. It will go up a wide switchback in a shallow gully before coming to a sharper switchback. The road seems to keep getting steeper as it continues to the third switchback. The third swtichback is a very sharp hairpin turn that is open with some nice views of the White River Valley below. After this switchback the road cuts across the hillside staying narrow and rocky. The fourth switchback is not as sharp, but it has the same rough ridge to climb up. After this switchback your still not done. The road goes up at a steeper incline to the fifth switchback. The climb is longer than the others to get to the next switchback. The fifth switchback is another sharp off camber turn that heads up at a shallower incline once you pass it. In a short distance you will round the side of the hill and the road will level out a bit as it follows above a gulch.
West side after the climb

photo by:
Adam M

After running along the ledge road above the gulch you will round a corner and head into a dense pine forest. The road will become less rough and more of a two track. After about a mile you will come to an open area where you will cross an open shallow gulch and then climb a ridge to a saddle between two hills. The road will continue down the other side of the ridge and enter into the east end of Long Park.
Long Park

photo by:
Adam M

About half way down Long Park you will come to an intersection with Trough Camp, FR231, to your left. It will continue following Long Park passing FT1809, motorcycle only, and ending at FT1809.2, less than 62 inch wide limit. FR230 will head north out of the park by doing a large sweeping curve. It will enter the aspen forest again and head straight north. The next intersection is with FR230.2 to your left, which is a very short spur road to a possible hunting camp. The road will now head mainly east through less forested open areas.
Upper section in the aspens

photo by:
Adam M

After passing through an aspen grove you will come out into an open area with a short spur road down to a camp along the edge of the aspen grove. From here the road will begin to climb again as it heads up through large open areas.
Heading to the top of the Sand Peak ridge

photo by:
Adam M

The road will get rougher and narrower as it continues up above the pine forests.
Climbing to the top

photo by:
Adam M


Final climb to the top

photo by:
Adam M

The road will finally top out on a high spot of one of the ridges off of Sand Peak. From this spot you will have great views of the White River Valley and Flat Tops Wilderness to the south and the Williams Fork drainage to the north. From this high point the road will head down the south side of the ridge below Sand Peak. The next intersection will be with FT1804 to the left, which heads over to Pagoda Peak. It is for 50 inches or less vehicles. After the intersection the road will head down through open areas scattered with pine groves. You will do a sweeping curve and then enter a larger forested area. At the other side of this patch of trees there will be a campsite with open views to the south. Below this campsite you will come to the intersection with Missouri Camp, FR234, to your right. From this intersectin the road will head down a narrowing ridge to a switchback.
Coming down the east side

photo by:
Adam M

After the switchback you will head back into the aspen forest and continue down hill doing three more switchbacks before coming to the creek. The road will then head down the gulch following the creek. After about a mile and a quarter you will come to County Road 8. To the right will head back to Meeker, to the left is Ripple Creek Pass.
Data updated - January 5, 2016      4WD Road driven - September 7, 2016      Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2017