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Cactus Ridge Trail
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Cactus Ridge Trail
Superlift 4xAdventure

Montrose, CO
by: Lee Arney
Photos by: Cathy Croy, Kelly Matthiew, and Lee Arney

Cactus RidgeThe Superlift 4x4 Adventure Series rolled into Montrose, Colorado September 15-17, 2000 with activities like a technical seminar, raffle, good food and trail rides. Sports in the Rough hosted the event with the Western Slope 4-Wheelers served as trail leaders. As a club member, I brought up the rear of eleven 4x4s headed for Cactus Ridge lead by seasoned trail leader, Sherman Matthiew.

Cactus Ridge is one of five hard-core trails in the Montrose area. The most extreme of the trails is Die Trying followed by Topless, Calamity Canyon, Cactus Ridge and Scratch and Dent. Lockers in both ends and a minimum of 33" tires are required for the latter three trails. Die Trying and Topless require at least 35" tires as well as lockers.

Cactus RidgeAs the Cactus Ridge group approched the first major obstacle, the group lost two participants. One wheeler recognized he was in over his head and another wasn't sure his iron was up to the challenge. I was impressed with the wisdom of these guys. Montrose isn't for the inexperienced rockcrawler, and the rocks have a way of finding any mechanical weaknesses (believe me, I know).

The first obstacle requires placing the left front tire on a large bolder while turning right and avoiding losing paint to the rock on the right as the front left drops off the boulder.

Plenty of smaller obstacles follow the first major challenge, but two more major obstacles faced the wheelers. The next major challenge consists of cresting a large rock to enter an off-camber section (leans right) of loose dirt with a rut running across the right side, followed by a rock garden. Everyone in the group successfully worked their way past this series of obstacles without major incident.

Cactus RidgeThe final obstacle is Rattle Snake Falls, named after a small viper found there during the trail's construction. The approach to the falls requires working one's way through and around axle-high rocks while trying to line up for a shot at the falls. This rock face has a serious pucker factor. Just as the front tires crest the falls, the rear tire placement results in the left front tire rising into the air. Smooth, foward motion is necessary until the rear tires start to climb, lowering the left front. A couple 4x4s had to be winched, but everyone made it to the top without incident.

What might be considered an obstacle by some is found on the road out. This part of the trail decends steeply over loose dirt and small rocks. Those chosing 4-low and first gear in the tranny to rely on engine braking made it down without using the brakes.

The nine 4x4s covered the approximatly 1.5 miles, including the long hill, in 6.5 hours. The only mechanical problem was a small glitch with a fuel injection system that was fixed in short order.

For more information on the Superlift series check out their website at www.superlift.com.

Cactus Ridge Trail Cactus Ridge Trail
Cactus Ridge Trail Cactus Ridge Trail