West Elk Trailhead


The West Elk Trailhead is a year-round parking area for motorized and non-motorized recreational activities. The trailhead is located along Forest Road 245 (Buford-New Castle Road) approximately 7.5 miles north of the Forest boundary. The parking area has room for several dozen passenger vehicles and trailers.

During the summer, the West Elk Trailhead serves as the southern access point for Motorized Trail #2290 (also known as the Buford-New Castle Parallel Trail). During the winter, the trailhead is one of the access points to the Flattops snowmobile trail system, providing parking for snowmobilers who wish to follow the Buford-New Castle Road. The trailhead also provides parking for the West Elk non-motorized trail system, which is located immediately east of the parking area.  

Recreational opportunities in this area are provided through partnerships with a number of local organizations. The White River Trail Runners provide maintenance and stewardship of Trail #2290, while the Rifle Snowmobile Club grooms the Buford-New Castle Road for snowmobiling. West Elk Trails, Inc. (WETI) maintains the cross country ski and snowmobile trails to the east of the trailhead. 

At a Glance

Fees No fee
Usage: Medium-Heavy
  • Please note that OHVs are not allowed on the Buford-New Castle Road.
  • November 23rd to May 20th -snowmobiles are permitted to use the Buford-New Castle road during winter travel management as snow conditions allow.
Closest Towns: New Castle, Colorado
Water: No
Restroom: Vault Toilets (2)
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Rifle Ranger District, (970) 625-2371

General Information


From New Castle, CO travel north on County Road 245 (the Buford-New Castle Road), starting from the northwest edge of town. Travel approximately 17 miles to the trailhead parking lot on the left.

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