Robilio’s Offroad Park featured in CRAWL Magazine!

CRAWL Magazine Article for Robilio's Offroad Park

CRAWL Magazine Article for Robilio's Offroad Park

Back in the Fall,  Harry Wagner came out for CRAWL Magazine to see what Robilio’s Offroad Park was all about. Read below to see what a group of hardcore crawlers thought of the park.

You may also click here to read the full article with pictures in PDF format

CRAWL is a great magazine for the off-road enthusiast. Please visit www.crawlmag.com to sign up for a subscription.

Words and Photos by Harry Wagner

When We think of private offroad parks, we usually think of places like the Badlands Off-Road Park in Indiana and Rausch Creek in Pennsylvania. These parks offer people an opportunity to go wheeling in areas that, to be honest, have very few choices. Who would be courageous enough (and arguably, crazy enough) to open an off-road park on the border of Colorado and New Mexico?

The man in question is Richard Robilio, and this is not his first rodeo. Robilio was the driving force behind the highly success- ful Hot Springs Off Road Park in Arkansas. For twenty years, he performed cleanups, cut trails, and hosted events in Hot Springs. But Robilio’s gift for creating trails goes even further back

CRAWL Magazine Article - Page 1

CRAWL Magazine Article - Page 1

than that. “When I was seven, my aunt recruited me to make horse trails on her property in Tennessee.” Robilio explains, “I guess it stuck, because I have been cutting trails ever since.” In 2003, Robilio headed west to Raton, New Mexico, situated along the state line with Colorado, on Interstate 25.

So, besides Robilio’s country hospital- ity and knack for spinning a yarn, what would compel people to pay to go wheeling in an area surrounded by places like Chokecherry Canyon, Blanca Peak, and Penrose? Colorado’s Homegrown Crew was drawn by the opportunity to run new hardcore trails relatively close to home.“Penrose, Buena Vista, Montrose, we have just run them all so many times they be- come monotonous,” according to T.J. Bris- coe. “It seems like every year we have less places to go wheeling, so when there is the opportunity to wheel new trails we are absolutely going to support it, in whatever way possible.” Briscoe called Robilio about securing his 100-acre park for Memorial Day weekend. This is the only way to access the park: with guided tours offered by Robilio him- self and custom tailored to the wheeling requirements of the groups. “I have trails for everything from tjs on 33s to competi- tion buggies,” he explains. “But, I don’t want to just be a ticket taker; I want to offer people more when they come to my park.” This might sound cost prohibitive, but the rates are surprisingly reasonable and ensure several things: you will not get lost, you will maximize your time by run- ning the trails that are best suited to your needs, and the area will never be crowded.

CRAWL Magazine Article - Page 2

CRAWL Magazine Article - Page 2

The Homegrown Crew and friends from Albuquerque stayed at the koa in Raton, which offered pancakes and hot coffee in the morning and clean showers at the end of the day. Getting from the koa to Robilio’s Off Road Park was quick and easy, and Robilio even spoke to the local police chief about allowing our buggies to drive on the street between the two locations. We started off on Trail 1, the first route that Robilio had cut through the property, before continuing on the Black Bear Trail. Both were tight and technical, with loose rocks that would move under the vehicles, making it difficult to determine the right line based on the vehicle ahead of you. There did not seem to be a perfect wheelbase, as the longer vehicles struggled with the tight turns, and the short- er vehicles had problems climbing some of the bigger rocks. In the right hands, rear steer and portal axles would likely thrive on these trails. From there, we continued to the Five Fingers hill climbs, a tribute to Robilio’s former park in Arkansas. The five different lines varied in steepness, but all were loose and contained ledges to unsettle your sus- pension during the climb.

CRAWL Magazine Article - Page 3

CRAWL Magazine Article - Page 3

Sunday we decided to up the ante, and headed to Two Ponderosas Trail. “Only eight vehicles have tried this trail,” Robilio warned, “and only two of them have completed it.” With this in mind we started the trail early and used spotters to prevent getting hope- lessly diff hung, a common occurrence on the previous day. We were only 100 yards into the trail when an axle shaft let go in the rear of Briscoe’s Toyota buggy, the Sawzall. Years of hard wheeling and a new set of sticky 39″ Krawlers had combined to do in the axle shaft, but fortunately there was an easy exit nearby. The rest of the group continued on, wondering if Briscoe’s breakage was a harbinger of things to come. Fortunately, this was not the case, and the trail was completed in, according to Robilio, record time. “The hardest part about these trails is the variety of rocks.” Zach Utley observed. “Some of them have great traction, like we are used to in Colorado, but there are these gray river rocks that don’t offer any grip. Once we figured that out things got a lot easier.”

CRAWL Magazine Article - Page 4

CRAWL Magazine Article - Page 4

From the Ponderosa, Robilio led us to a climb he calls Little Moab, which consists of a series of sandstone ledges on a steep hill- side. Everyone took their turn attempting the climb, but none successfully reached the top. Joe Risavi managed to break a rear ring and pinion in his Toyota 8.4″ axle, putting an end to our fun for the day. Breakage like we encountered is not uncommon, and Robilio is prepared for it. “I know the manager of the CarQuest in town, and he’ll open up the store for us whenever necessary.”

Additionally, he mentioned the variety of activities in the area beyond rockcrawling. “I want people to bring their wives here, their kids. The Shuler Theater is one of the oldest continuous running theaters in North America. Capulin Volcano National Monument is fun and educational. Sugarite Canyon State Park has excellent fishing and is beautiful. All of these are close to Raton, but people don’t know that they are here. They are some of the best kept secrets around.” Given Robilio’s track record and boundless energy, we don’t expect them to be a secret for long.

New Mexico/Colorado group has fun in Raton on Memorial Day weekend!

Off-Road Truck Picture 1Harry Wagner and a crew from New Mexico and Colorado came into Robilio’s Off-Road Park for Memorial Day weekend. Harry was nice enough to write a few words describing their visit. You can also find some more information and pictures on the weekends events at the NMVJC Forum by clicking here.

Message from Harry

Colorado and New Mexico provide more four-wheeling opportunities than
most states, but after years of traversing the traditional trail
options my friends and I were looking for something new. We found
exactly what we were looking for in Raton, where the two states meet.
Richard Robilio has crafted a private off-road park with trails to
challenge everyone from the novice Jeeper to the most seasoned buggy
driver. At first I was concerned that a private, guided tour of
Robilio’s Off Road Park would not be in my budget, but Richard
provides an exceptional value and after a few phone calls our trip was
scheduled for Memorial Day weekend. Getting to Raton was an easy
drive from Denver, and the park actually sits right above the
interstate for incredibly easy access. The weather was perfect, with
warm, sunny days and cool nights, and the company was just as good.
Richard showed us a variety of hill climbs and rock strewn canyons and
let us choose the route that best fit our capabilities. In the
afternoon he even pulled out some go-karts to let the kids in the
group get in on the driving! With only two days to explore Robilio’s
Off Road Park we barely scratched the surface of what the area has to
offer, so a return trip is already in the planning stages.

Harry Wagner
Freelance 4WD Writing & Photography
Vehicle Features, Tech, & Trail Reports
www.harrysituations.com

What is the Park all about?

Robilio's Off-Road Park in Raton, NM is a private park ready to serve Groups from 5 to 15 vehicles. During your time at Robilio's Park your group will have the personal guidance of trail boss and owner Richard Robilio and his 30 years of experience.

What should a driver expect on the trail?

The trails that Robilio's Off-Road Park provide are sure to challenge the most seasoned of drivers. Richard can offer a good time for vehicles of many different configurations, so please contact Richard with your groups needs and interests.

How much will the park cost?

Cost is $25 per vehicle. Considering the one-on-one attention your group will get during their time at Robilio's Off-Road Park, we assure you the cost for the park will be a great value.

What length of rides are available?

Generally rides are either one or two days, and occur on Saturday and Sunday. Our schedule fills up fast, so schedule your group ride as far in advance as possible.

How do I schedule a group ride or find out more information?

Use our Contact Richard Robilio form to submit your information and questions so that Richard can get back to you with the information you need.

Previous Articles
Off-Road in the Southeast?
If you are looking for a great place to wheel your off-road vehicle in the Southeast than look no further than the Superlift Off-Road Vehicle Park in Hot Springs, AR. Richard helped build this park and it is sure to offer a good time. Find more information at http://www.orvpark.com
Great Place for Offroad Information!
Check out http://offroaders.com for tons of great information including technical articles, reviews, and events.