This Sucks! Here’s Why We Can Never Go Up Gold Mine Hill Again

One of our off-road staples is no longer accessible.

Well, it was fun while it lasted For years, Gold Mine Hill has been one of TFL’s staple off-road tests. Just outside Boulder, this trail offered several telling dirt-worthiness tests in a short span. Now, though, the path leading up to Gold Mine Hill has been closed for the foreseeable future, if not permanently.

Gold Mine Hill testing - Hyundai Kona
A Hyundai Kona takes on Gold Mine Hill. [Photo: TFLcar]

Stage 1 of Gold Mine Hill was a moderately steep, rocky climb that served as the first test of a vehicle’s grip beyond a normal dirt road. Stage 2 is where things get challenging. You face a tight uphill, banked turn that tests articulation and how well a vehicle can shift its power around to the tires that have grip throughout the corner. Getting up Stage 3, though, is the toughest of all. It forces you up a steep hill, into a huge hole between two trees. That is a test of ground clearance, as well as approach, breakover and departure angles.

Everything from purpose-built off-road rigs to ordinary crossovers have taken on Gold Mine Hill, with varying degrees of success. Add some weather into the occasion, and you end up with a bit of a misadventure:

Finding the reaplacement for Gold Mine Hill

Sadly, this once publicly accessible trail is closed to motorized vehicles, but that doesn’t mean the end of our off-road testing! Oh no, it just means we need to find a new trail. But before that, Roman, Andre and Nathan head out to two of TFL’s older off-roading trails before finally saying goodbye to Gold Mine Hill.

We also managed to find an all-new test for both serious off-road SUVs and everyday crossovers. Called “Rocky Top” – literally because it’s rocky and heads to the top of a mountain, this new off-road trail is a two stage affair. First, you head up a steep incline, with loose dirt and some tricky rock surfaces. Past a fork in the trail, with an easy or more difficult section, you’re greeted by view down into Boulder below.

Check it out, and stay tuned to, and for more Rocky Top off-road reviews!