The Penrose Commons Recreation Area is a Bureau of Land Management property managed out of the Royal Gorge Field Office in Colorado. The recreation site features an exciting off-highway vehicle area for spills and thrills. The climate is warm and dry, and the peak season is between September and May when temperatures are cooler. Pinion and juniper stands dot the area, and rocky outcroppings project from the slopes of the hilly areas. The Sangre De Cristo Mountain Range makes a beautiful backdrop to the region and the peaks are snow covered in the wintertime.
The OHV area has almost 30 miles of trails ranging from level, smooth, tracks to race down to rocky, rough, climbing terrain. Other activities in the area include hiking, huting, camping, and horseback riding.
The Penrose Commons recreation site area has a pit toilet restroom, parking area, and an information kiosk with a detailed trail map. There is no fee to visit the recreation area but recreational vehicles using the area require a permit.
Nearby wilderness areas and parks are well worth a visit when staying in the area. The Beaver Creek State Wildlife Area is located just north of the Penrose Commons Recreation Site and the Pike and San Isabel National Forests & Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands, Cheyenne Mountain State Park, and Mueller State Park are also in the vicinity.
The Penrose Commons Recreation Site is located 10 miles east of Canon City, Colorado. From Canon City take Highway 50 east to Highway 115/Vietnam Veterans Memorial Highway and head north to Penrose, Colorado. At Penrose Drive, turn west on 3rd Street. There is a sign here to the Brush Hollow Reservoir, continue for .3 mile, then turn north on E Street, Route 127, and continue 3 miles to the parking area at the recreation site. The access road from E Street is dirt surfaced.
During extremely wet and inclement weather there is a gate which will be closed to restrict the area so that damage does not occur to the recreation sites and trails when conditions are muddy and ruts would be formed by vehicles accessing and using the area.
There is a large open parking area at the site and dispersed camping. RV units can access the area but there is some washboard on the access road so go slow. Check road and weather conditions prior to travel. Many visitors haul their OHV, ATVs, and dirt bikes to the site, so the road is appropriate for tow vehicles and generally well maintained.
Plenty of amenities and services are available at Canon City and the town of Penrose for travellers using the area.
Free dispersed camping is permitted at Penrose Common Recreation Site where OHV enthusiasts enjoy the 30 miles of off-road trails for ATVs, jeeps, 4x4s, and dirt bikes. OHVs require a permit to stay at the site. There is no specified limit on RV or tow trailer size at the site. Camping is primitive and there is no trash removal, hookups, or dump stations at the site. Camping is on a first come, first serve basis, and open all year round with the peak season being between September and May when temperatures are cooler. The area is open with no shade, so summer time camping is pretty warm! The recreation area and campsites are situated at an elevation of 5872 feet. The maximum stay is 14 days. A vault toilet is located in the staging area and there is a large parking area here. RVs can access the staging area near the entrance to the area where there are sites for RV units, and there is dispersed camping beyond that pint, however it may only be accessible to 4x4s. Due to OHV activity, this may not be a peaceful place to camp, but most visitors are here to enjoy OHV activities and are not bothered by the noise. There are spectacular views of the mountains and the nearby lake, and sunsets and sunrises are stunning. There are lots of cacti in the area, so you will need to use caution when hiking around the camping areas and if you bring a pet, protect their paws from the prickly vegeton.
Hiking opportunities abound in the area. The Tunnel Drive trailhead is located on the westside of Canon City . This is a 3.7 mile, out and back trail that is appropriate for all ability levels. The trail has just over 500 feet of elevation gain, and due to the moderate climate is accessible all year long. Pets are permitted on the trail providing they are kept leashed.
The Beaver Creek State Wilderness Area loop trail is a 7 mile trail that is more appropriate for experienced hikers. It has 1860 feet of elevation gain and the trail lops about 40000 acre Beaver Creek State Wilderness Area. The trail has rough terrain but is lightly trafficked and perfect for those looking for solitude. Pets are not permitted on the trail.
The peak season for OHV activity in the area is from September to May when temperatures are cooler. The OHV area at Penrose Commons Recreation Site has 30 miles of OHV trails to accommodate ATVs, dirt bikes, jeeps, and registered 4x4 vehicles. Trails range from smooth fast tracks to extreme rock crawling areas. There are even areas along the trails and rocky climbing areas for spectators to watch. Youth are required to wear certified MX helmets, and all vehicles must have a spark arrestor exhaust silencer or end cap. OHVs require a permit to use the area. The staging area has an information kiosk, vault toilet, and parking area with dispersed camping. The OHV recreation area is open all year around, but may be closed during wet inclement weather.
Just down the road from the Penrose Commons Recreation Site, the agricultural town of Penrose has orchards and U-pick farms to visit in the area. Visit the Happy Apple Farm, a U-pick farm with blackberries, raspberries, apples, ane even pumpkins while camping in the area or visit the Jenkins Farms Apple Valley Orchard which also provides u-pick opportunities. There is no reason to go hungry when staying at the dispersed camping at the OHV site. All that great fresh fruit will give you energy for the next days ride!
The Beaver Creek State Wilderness Area stretches along the Skaguay Reservoir north of the Penrose Commons Recreation Site. The area makes great wildlife habitat and is popular for hunting in designated hunting seasons, and fishing in the coldwater stream. Wildlife in the area include bear, deer, elk, rabbits, doves, and turkey. The region covers 2227 acres of designated state wilderness land. Fish from the stream banks in this isolated area for a peaceful experience where you will encounter few others. Ensure you follow all hunting and fishing regulations and have valid licenses.
A few hours drive to the west and north, visitors can access excellent cross country ski and snowshoeing areas. The Breckenridge Nordic Area offers nordic sports terrain with lessons and rentals, and a lodge style restaurant. The Crested Butte Nordic Area has cross country ski trails and also offers lessons, rentals, and even has an ice rink for skating. Glide along the base of the areas mountains, in forested terrain, on cross country skis, or take a hike on snowshoes to enjoy the region.
Multiple downhill skiing and snowboarding resorts can be found a few hours drive from the Penrose Commons Recreation Site. Ski resorts are abundant in the mountain ranges to the north and west, and offer plenty of amenities and facilities for downhill skiing enthusiasts. These resorts have on site accommodations, lodges, miles of groomed runs on hundreds of acres for everyone from beginner to experienced skiers, chairlifts, rope tows, rentals, and lessons available. Get ready for excellent alpine adventures on the snow-covered slopes in the region!