Camp Hale National Monument

See it, experience it, and most of all, respect it. 

For those of us living and working in the mountains, we have always recognized how lucky we are to have the Holy Cross Wilderness, Vail Pass Recreation Area, and the 10th Mountain Division Hut System in our backyard. And on October 12, 2022, President Joe Biden designated the area known as Camp Hale a National Monument. The official name: Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument.

This designation all but ensures that 54,000 acres of pristine wilderness within the Holy Cross Wilderness and Vail Pass Recreation Area will forever be protected. And the history of this special place will be preserved for generations to come. 

What is Camp Hale

In 1943, during World War II, Camp Hale was home to over 14,000 men and women. Located just off highway 24 between Vail and Leadville, Colorado, the soldiers of Camp Hale were part of the highly specialized mountaineering unit known as the 10th Mountain Division. These soldiers were trained for high altitude, winter combat. Their training included skiing, snowshoeing, climbing, and other skills required to prevail in the rugged landscapes of the Italian and European Alps. As part of their training, the soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division built and maintained the huts that now make up the 10th Mountain Division Hut System. At its peak, Camp Hale consisted of over 1,000 buildings including barracks, a military hospital, shooting outposts, and more.

Who were the individuals that served

From Vail to Ski Cooper, and from Leadville to Aspen, you will find plaques, statues, and memorials honoring those who served and sacrificed in the 10th Mountain Division. Of the 14,000 individuals who served in the 10th, thousands made the ultimate sacrifice during the war. For those who eventually made their way home, many went on to build what became the multi-billion dollar ski industry.

Over 60 ski areas across the US were started by members of the 10th. Along with ski areas, members also founded outdoor education programs, leadership programs, the National Ski Patrol, and even became Olympians. One of the members, Bill Bowerman, co-founded Nike with his friend Phil Knight. And when Sir Edmund Hillary made it the summit of Mt. Everest, he used lightweight gear made by the company “Gerry” which was founded by Gerry Cunningham of the 10th Mountain Division. Gerry Cunningham is credited with having invented the down-filled jacket that is a staple here in the mountains of Colorado.

How to experience Camp Hale

Camp Hale National Monument

The Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument can be enjoyed year-round with easy access by foot, Jeeps, RZRs, Snowmobiles, and by Timbersleds. We at RMAR are lucky enough to have direct access from our Red Cliff location. Whether you are visiting in the summer or winter, you can reserve your machines out of Red Cliff and be at Camp Hale within 15 minutes. While en route, you will pass through the 54,000 acres of pristine wilderness that make up the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument. Unlike roadside travelers, you will be able to see and explore the entire region, without large groups of people around you. You will be able to go at your own pace.

Choose the Experience that is right for you:

Winter 2022/23

Trail Sleds

For families and new snowmobilers

trails sled rentals colorado


For motorcycle enthusiasts

Performance Snowmobiles

For experienced snowmobilers

Cottonwood Pass Snowmobile Tours

Top of the Rockies Scenic Byway Slingshot Tour

It’s all about the great outdoors in Colorado and we’re fortunate to have countless trails for hiking, biking and off-roading. No matter what mode you choose for your backcountry adventure, a Jeep rental from RMAR/BV Jeeps is one that almost anyone can enjoy. Weather, mobility issues and dust allergies are non-issues with a Jeep rental. With dozens of Colorado Jeep trails to choose from, how do you know which ones are right for you and your group? We’re going to share our top 3 best Jeep trails in the Buena Vista area.

St. Elmo/Tincup: A full-day trip featuring one of Colorado’s best-preserved ghost towns and many miles of quintessential Rocky Mountain scenery is at the top of our Jeep trails list. Make this trip in the fall and the incredible aspen tunnels along sections of this route make the trip that much more special. 

Since the Tincup trail is a bit more technical than the ATV trail, our suggested route is taking 295 to Hancock Lake and the area known as the Hancock ghost town. The first 1-1/2 miles is the most technical portion of this trail and takes about one-half hour to traverse in a Jeep. There is a parking lot at Hancock Lake and a short hike to the lake itself. This entire route features relics from Colorado’s rich mining history and the first large structure that will take you back in time is the Mary Murphy aerial tramway. This ore mine was built in the late 1800s and is surprising still fairly intact to this day. The road up is steep and rocky requiring a slow ascent and descent. 

From the Hancock area, this Jeep trip continues on to St. Elmo where you will want to spend some time exploring the main stretch of this former gold and silver mining town which once bustled with up to 2000 residents in 1881.  Although St. Elmo is now technically a ghost town, there are a few year-round residents still residing in St. Elmo along with a thriving chipmunk population who are tourist friendly and will expect you to come bearing sunflower seeds. After exploring St. Elmo and checking out the general store and outdoor antique yard, the trail continues on for more adventure. 

The summit of Tincup Pass peaks at 12,154 feet, just above treeline. This portion of the Jeep trail includes the beauty of Mirror Lake. There’s not many places better for photo ops and a picnic than an alpine lake. The town of Tincup is also dubbed a ghost town, but there are a handful of living residents along with the “spirits” from the turbulent mining era. The Tincup cemetery is a fascinating piece of that history. Built upon knolls separated by religion, there are multiple foot bridges and a single race-segregated grave hidden in the woods. 

With so much to see on the St. Elmo Jeep trail, you’ll want to dedicate a full day for the adventure. 

Cottonwood Lake: From the BV Jeeps parking lot, this trail requires about 3-4 hours and is a nice half-day Jeep trail outing.  The Cottonwood Lake trail highlights include an optional but scenic hike to Mineral Basin, some old mine shafts, a gulch for some technical off-roading, and another alpine lake. The climb to Ptarmigan Lake is the end portion of the Grassy Gulch section and is the most technical with tight and rocky switchbacks. The road eventually ends just beneath the summit of Jones Mountain at 12,000 feet. This is an in-and-out trail meaning you’ll turn and go back the way you came from Buena Vista. Spotting things you missed on the way in is part of the fun when traveling an in-and-out trail. 

Lost Canyon: Another great half-day trip which takes approximately 3-4 hours out of the BV Jeeps parking lot and back is the Lost Canyon Jeep trail. The first leg of this adventure passes through the tiny town of Granite, Colorado which sits on the banks of the Colorado River. If you like solitude and quiet trails, you’ll love this hidden-gem area of Chaffee County where the roads are less traveled once you leave Hwy 24. Lost Canyon is an easy-to-moderate trail with intermittent rocky and steep sections. Enjoy stunning vistas of Mt. Elbert, Twin Lakes and Clear Creek reservoir. Along this trail you will also stumble upon more of Colorado’s rich mining history and some old log cabins. The panoramic overlook of Clear Creek Reservoir is a great stop for a picnic, photos and shore fishing. 

The Rocky Mountain Adventure Rentals guides live, work and play in Colorado and always have the best insider tips to make the most of your adventure. We have 35+ years of traveling the Rocky Mountains in Jeeps. Our guests head out equipped with knowledge and a well-maintained vehicle. You likely won’t need a rescue, but if you do, RMAR/BV Jeeps will always have your back. The fall months are some of the very best to get out on the trail and we hope to get you out there soon! 

RMAR Wins 2022 Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Award

Buena Vista, CO July 2022 

RMAR is pleased to announce that we have been recognized by Tripadvisor as a 2022 Travelers’ Choice award winner. The award celebrates businesses that are in the top 10% based on great traveler reviews from travelers from around the globe over the last 12 months. As challenging as the past year was, RMAR stood out by consistently delivering  positive experiences to its customers. 

About RMAR:

RMAR started out as a business adventure between two brothers  and has grown to become an established leader in the Colorado outdoor recreation industry with 4 locations throughout Colorado ranging from the Vail Valley to Buena Vista.

What sets us apart from other outfitters is our focus on safety, premium  performance machines and a more personalized experience for our clientele. The RMAR team of local experts with diverse backgrounds give adventurers, tourists, and individuals a trusted  source for location-specific information and a highly curated backcountry experience. We  continue to strive to create new and exciting adventures for our customers whether you desire  to go out on your own or prefer a private guided tour.

Supporting Our Communities:

From local fundraising events for fire crews and childrens hospitals to military events and more. We do what we can to be an active and positive member of the communities we operate in. Over the years, we have proudly supported the Wounded Warriors Project by hosting multiple events throughout the year. For those with disabilities, our staff has come up with innovative ways to modify our machines to allow all individuals to enjoy the outdoors and outdoor adventuring.

Thank You!

On behalf of the RMAR team, we would like to thank our customers for their loyalty and trust in  our product and employees. We are proud of how far our company has come and are excited about what the future holds for  RMAR. The growth and success of our company would not have happened without our  dedicated employees, support from our local communities, and most importantly support from  our valued customers. We appreciate your patronage and look forward to assisting you in  creating lasting memories with your friends and families.  

Thank you  

The RMAR Team

New for Summer 2022: Jeep Rentals from RMAR

Rocky Mountain Adventure Rentals continues to evolve to provide our customers with bigger and better adventures year after year. As a leader in the Colorado outdoor recreation industry, our mission has always been to provide our customers a highly-curated and safe backcountry experience. We are proud to announce that our guests can now take their adventure seeking even further through our new partnership with BV Jeeps & ATVs in Buena Vista, Colorado.

RMAR continues to set the bar

Since 2014, RMAR has grown from our original winter-season-only, single location near Vail, Colorado to year-round rentals in three locations- Red Cliff, Minturn and Buena Vista. We have been setting the bar for what a rental experience should be with premium-performance machines and a highly knowledgeable staff who focuses on safety first. We want guests of all abilities to have the opportunity to experience what Colorado has to offer.

Through our partnership with BV Jeeps, our guests will now have more trails and yet another mode of transportation in which to explore the Colorado backcountry and mountain passes. In addition to the ATVs, Polaris Slingshots, dirt bikes and motorcycles we already offer, our guests can now take out well-maintained 4WD Jeep Wranglers for a summer spin. This partnership takes RMAR to an unmatched level of activity options available to Colorado visitors in a one-stop shop.

BV Jeeps has an excellent reputation in Buena Vista with a history of delivering a high level of customer service and care. From the beginning, RMAR has taken great pride in providing a high quality product to our customers. We believe that BV Jeeps aligns perfectly with our commitment of excellence as an adventure sports outfitter.

Get muddy with RMAR and BV Jeeps

Call to Reserve: 719-966-5233
or Visit: BV Jeeps to book online

What does this mean for past and current customers of RMAR and BV Jeeps?

All customers will now have more equipment options, more trail options, and more activity options, enabling us to get more guests of varying levels of ability on the trail for an outdoor adventure. Combining the RMAR and BV Jeeps’ tremendous resources of US Forest permits, knowledgeable staffs and inventories of high quality vehicles and machines, we will continue to set the standard for outstanding service to Colorado visitors and local residents.

New packages will also be offered through RMAR this summer. Guests can combine an ATV or Jeep rental with a camping trip in the Buena Vista area that includes gear, insider tips and maps. Throw in a stand-up paddleboard and check another sport off the bucket list! We’ve also got photo tour packages in the future works to help you step up your Instagram game.

Book your trip today!

With a good 3 months of warmer temps left in the alpine desert of Buena Vista, there is still plenty of time for offroading adventures before the snow flies and we transition to our winter snowmobiling season. Call us today to plan your customized ATV or Jeep rental adventure near Buena Vista or Vail. Our guides have ideas to help you plan a new activity for every day of your vacation or weekend getaway.

Snowmobiling Near Denver

Denver Snowmobiling: Where to ride

Those living on the front range of Colorado near Denver have direct access to both the central mountains and northern mountains for riding. Determining where to snowmobile comes down to what you’re looking for. Some locations are more remote and offer very little in the way of amenities such as fuel, restaurants and lodging while others are located just outside of town.

Where should I snowmobile if I’m a beginner or intermediate rider?

Vail Pass Recreation Area is your best bet if you’re new to the sport. Offering 66,000 acres of snowmobile terrain, Vail Pass is considered one of the best riding locations in the state. The terrain is a mix of hard packed, sometimes-groomed road and open powder fields. The towns of Red Cliff, Copper Mountain and Vail are nearby if you need lodging or food. There are typically large groups of riders out recreating if you find yourself needing help. The avalanche danger is slightly less than other areas but make no mistake, you need to bring a map and know where you are going. Vail Pass sees a lot of traffic on the weekends and there is a daily parking fee of $10 at the summit. Vail Pass Recreation Area is located off of I-70 at mile marker 190 – just 90 minutes from Denver in good traffic.

Where can I snowmobile near Denver that is unique but also offers lodging and restaurants?

Two great options:

Southwest of Denver: Take highway 285 out of Denver and head for Chaffee County. Home of our Buena Vista outpost, great restaurants, lodging, and one of the best breweries in the state – Eddyline. From Buena Vista, you will have easy access to Cottonwood Pass which offers wide open powder fields, no crowds, and breathtaking views of the collegiate peaks. This area is still considered a secret among Colorado riders but it is gaining in popularity. 

West of Denver: Take I-70 West from Denver and exit 171 towards Minturn. Go through Minturn and over Battle Mountain to the town of Red Cliff. Park your truck and trailer at Mango’s Mountain Grill or pick up some rentals from our Red Cliff outpost. Leave out of Red Cliff on Shrine Pass Road and explore thousands of acres in the Vail Pass Recreation area. Have a meal at Mango’s and stay the night at the Green Bridge Inn for more fun the next day.

Where should I snowmobile near Denver if I’m an advanced rider or looking for something more remote?

Located off of Highway 40, you will find Rabbit Ears Pass. Rabbit Ears is about an hour drive north out of Silverthorne, Colorado. Take Highway 9 from Silverthorne to Kremmling and then head west on highway 40. Rabbit Ears is a popular riding destination for Summit County and Steamboat locals and visitors. The advantage is that there are very few tourists which means you’ll be riding next to those who really know the terrain. Rabbit Ears Pass offers no amenities so be sure to pack enough fuel and food for the trip and always carry proper avalanche safety equipment and maps of the area. This is a true Colorado backcountry experience.

Guided and Unguided Snowmobile and Timbersled Rentals from RMAR

Timbersled Snow Bike Rentals

Our Timbersled Snow Bike rentals are ideal for intermediate riders of dirt bikes and can handle any terrain and any condition. Our adult Timbersled Snow Bikes are built using a KTM 450 SXF Body and we also offer the Timbersled ST Ripper for kids who want to ride. Learn more about Timbersled Snow Bike Rentals

Snowmobile Rentals

We offer a variety of Trail Sleds for backcountry touring and High-performance Powder Sleds for big mountain riding from Polaris Industries including the Polaris Pro RMK850 Patriot. Each machine is professionally maintained by our Polaris certified mechanics. Learn more about Snowmobile Rentals

Avalanche Safety

Where Do Avalanches Occur?

Above Tree Line and Below Tree Line:

Avalanches are more likely to occur above tree line where there is more exposure to the sun, wind loading, and less terrain features to hold the snow in place. However, avalanches can and do happen below tree line. Do not make the mistake of thinking just because you’re in the trees you’re safe.

Snow Load and Slope Directions:

Slopes that face the wind tend to have larger accumulations of snow drifts along with deeper, heavier snow which can lead to an avalanche. In the northern hemisphere, slopes that are facing south, south east and south west get more exposure to the sun in the winter which leads to more faceting of the snow which can create dangerous weak layers that are prone to sliding with new snow fall. North facing slopes see less sun and this can lead to deeper snow in some instances but be aware that the wind can change any snow pack on any aspect.

Know your slope angles:

The saying is “any slope can slide at any time.” The most dangerous angled slopes are around 33 to 35 degrees, but an avalanche can occur on any slope that is between 23 and 45 degrees.

When Do Avalanches Occur?

Avalanches typically occur when early or mid season snowpack forms the first few layers of snow for the year and is then exposed to the freeze-and-thaw cycle throughout the day. During the freeze and thaw cycle, the snow crystals can facet or change shape – essentially becoming little ball bearings. As new snowfall continues throughout the season, that new snow is now sitting on what is known as a weak layer that can eventually slide under its own weight or due to other natural forces or human contact.

Human activities like hiking, snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling and snow biking can all stress the snowpack as we travel across the snow and can possibly trigger an avalanche. Snowmobiling and snow biking are especially dangerous because the weight of the machinery has the ability to affect deeper layers of the snowpack. When large amounts of new snow falls, the layers underneath must adjust to the new weight. This is why avalanche dangers are elevated after each new snow fall.

Avalanche Safety: How to Avoid Avalanches

Research and Planning:

When there is fresh snow, large temperature swings during the day and night, signs of other slides that have happened, whoomfing and cracking, and when CAIC says the avalanche danger is elevated, these are all signs that extra caution must be taken and travel plans must change accordingly.

Know Your Terrain:

Less-steep terrain, staying below tree line, traveling on ridges, not traveling alone, carrying the bare minimum beacon shovel and probe and knowing how to use them are all things that can help mitigate avalanche danger. Staying below the tree line is usually safer but not always. Slides can and DO happen below tree line.

Take an Avalanche Safety Course:

Avalanche awareness courses are offered all over the state of Colorado and most other states that have mountains and snow. Take a course, get educated, protect yourself, friends, family and all other winter recreationists of all activities.

Traveling in Groups:

When traveling in a group, your avalanche awareness starts before arriving to the trailhead. Check to see if you can spot avalanches on your way to the trailhead? Do you hear whoomfing and cracking? Is there a known weak layer or layers of snow in the area where you plan to recreate? Have you checked the avalanche conditions and reports on the Colorado Avalanche Information Center or CAIC? Has a lot of fresh snowfall occurred in the last few days or weeks in the area?

Fresh snow fall is when most people would prefer to recreate in the mountains in the winter. This is also the time when weak layers below the new snowfall are being stressed the most and slides are more likely to happen. Spring snow in Colorado tends to be much heavier and can stress snow layers below even more.

When traversing suspect slopes it’s best practice to:

1. Send one person at a time.
2. Never ride above a cornice or steep wind loaded slope.
3. Never ride near rocks and trees that are sticking out of the snow.
4. DO NOT traverse or travel above someone.
5. When gaining altitude, stick to ridge lines where there are no obvious slide paths above your line of travel.

Use Good Judgement:

Think twice before becoming a participant in high pointing. High pointing is a competition to see who can ride to the highest and steepest point on a steep mountain side for bragging rights. A little fun like this can turn ugly very quickly. Enjoy the wild places Mother Nature has to offer, but with great respect and caution.

Ride with a Guide:

If all of this scares you- it should! Many people in Colorado are caught in avalanches each year. However, it is possible to navigate Colorado’s mountainous terrain safely in all conditions. The guides at Rocky Mountain Adventure Rentals are experts at backcountry travel and can help keep you, your family, and your friends safe while timbersledding and snowmobiling. If you are new to the sport or do not have proper training, hiring a trained guide to ride with you is the best decision you can make.

Guided Timbersled Tours: Cottonwood Pass

Experience Cottonwood Pass near Buena Vista on a Guided Timbersled Tour. Learn more about Timbersledding Cottonwood Pass

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Guided Timbersled Tours: St. Elmo

Explore the advanced terrain of St. Elmo near Buena Vista on a Guided Timbersled Tour. Learn more about Timbersledding St. Elmo

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