Riding Colorado's Rabbit Ears

All Fluffy & White

Published in the November 2010 Issue November 2010 Feature
"When it's foggy and snowing, head to the trees. When we rode the Rabbit Ears area that's where the best snow was anyway.
"To get the visual effect of the Rabbit Ears, it's best to view them from a distance. The distance shot is from an open meadow west of the Ears. The closeup is of the west Ear from its base. The Ears aren't much to look at from up close. But the view from up there is worth the trek up.
"Despite the fog and low-hanging clouds near Elmo Point you can still see the major drop-off to the valley below. Even when there is plenty of sunshine, you need to be careful around here.
"Despite Rabbit Ears being near Wilderness areas and other non-motorized spots, there is still plenty of open space to explore or miles of groomed trails to ride.
"This old miner's cabin is near the Bowls at the Ears, a popular hillclimbing spot at Rabbit Ears.

Very rarely do we complain about too much snow. We've long claimed there was no such thing as too much snow.

However, here is one of those rare occasions where one of our rides was snuffed out by copious amounts of the white stuff.

The first time we tried to ride Colorado's famous Rabbit Ears area, it was a major disappointment. Of course, there was a raging blizzard at the time which forced us to abandon our ride that day. We couldn't even see across the road so we pointed our truck towards home and vowed we'd try another day.

We've heard how good the riding is and wanted to know for ourselves why it's such a popular snowmobiling destination, especially in a state that is rife with excellent sledding spots.

So we tried again-a year later-and that next time was somewhat better. We still had to contend with snowfall and low-hanging clouds, but it was worth the wait. Fortunately we had two days to play with on this trip and the weather broke the second day.

Looking back at the Rabbit Ears riding experience, we've decided there are two things you need to know before you ever hit the trail-or backcountry.

First, there is more than plenty of Wilderness and other non-motorized closures in this area and it's your responsibility to know where the boundaries are, regardless of if you're riding in a fog or not. Having said that, while there are a lot of Wilderness and other closures, there is still plenty of groomed trails and wide open country to play. Stick to the legal side and you'll be fine.

Second, this is a very popular snowmobiling area. Parking areas fill up fast. However, as is the case in many snowmobiling areas, the farther away you get from the parking areas, the fewer people you see. We rode Rabbit Ears on weekdays and the parking areas got pretty full. You can imagine how fast the parking areas fill on the weekends. There are five snowmobile parking areas along U.S. Highway 40 on Rabbit Ears Pass (9,426 feet), but it's the same story for each of them. All five parking areas are close to the pass, providing easy access to the three trailheads.

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