We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

4WD car rental at Denver airport?

San Francisco...
Level Contributor
418 posts
4 reviews
Save Topic
4WD car rental at Denver airport?

Any suggestions? Have been on Costco and Travelocity car rental sites with no luck.

We'll be in CO first week of August and want to be able to access some back country hiking trails outside of Crested Butte..

thanks!

WestSlope,CO
Destination Expert
for Colorado
Level Contributor
10,563 posts
166 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: 4WD car rental at Denver airport?

You will likely need to rent a jeep in Gunnison or Crested Butte. Even if you were to find a 4wd rental, the regular car rental agencies will not cover you for off road use. Rent a small car and with the price of gas these days, you'll probably save enough on gas to rent a jeep for a couple of days!

There have been quite a few discussions about the subject. If you go to the Colorado forum page, look to the right column and you'll see a top question about what kind of car rental, insurance, etc.

Fruita, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Fruita, Grand Junction
Level Contributor
6,649 posts
231 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: 4WD car rental at Denver airport?

The backcountry roads in the Gunnison county area can be very rough on vehicles so you really don't want to get caught taking a 4WD buggy from a national chain there. I couldn't find any 4WD rentals in Gunnison or Crested Butte but there are several in Lake City, which is just about 1 hr 20 min from Gunnison and in some pretty terrific country.

lakecity.com/index.php/…jeep-a-4x4-rentals

Eastbourne, United...
Level Contributor
1,090 posts
364 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: 4WD car rental at Denver airport?

I just booked a Jeep through Car Hire 3000 from Dollar.

Fruita, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Fruita, Grand Junction
Level Contributor
6,649 posts
231 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: 4WD car rental at Denver airport?

paul66 - will Dollar allow you to drive the Jeep off road? If not then you might want to save your money. Their website doesn't answer that question so an email to them could help. By the way, they don't provide tow service as part of the basic package so you may want to purchase road side assistance in case you need to be towed out of a mud hole in the back country.

Fruita, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Fruita, Grand Junction
Level Contributor
6,649 posts
231 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: 4WD car rental at Denver airport?

I sent an email to Dollar concerning off pavement driving and they responded that they do not allow their vehicles off of pavement in Colorado. It actually took several attempts to get them to actually come out and say that - they didn't seem to want to give me much of an answer at all for awhile. It wasn't until I pointed out that this question kept coming up on travel forums (I didn't say which ones) and we knew that other car rentals were not allowing it and that we wanted to give people accurate info that they confessed that they also have a no dirt/gravel road policy. That is why you can't always assume the person answering the phone will tell you the whole story. Took 3 emails and a little pressure to get this info.

Rio Rancho, New...
Level Contributor
1,225 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: 4WD car rental at Denver airport?

great job SusieLou!!

Level Contributor
44 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: 4WD car rental at Denver airport?

Try to rent a bronco. Lol like that will find that

Netherlands
3 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: 4WD car rental at Denver airport?

I'm aware that most car rental companies (chains) do not allow people to take their rental cars off the pavement, but so what? If you take some care in which offroad trails you choose, and drive slowly and carefully, and try to avoid trouble, it should be alright. My partner and I have driven rental cars on unpaved roads where we shouldn't have been driving before, without trouble. That included some long rough roads on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria (probably quite comparable to what you can encounter in Colorado) and also a few shorter trails in Colorado.

Next summer we plan on going offroading in Colorado, with a rental SUV from one of the chains (possibly Dollar). BTW, you don't always necessarily need 4WD, a good high clearance vehicle will also take you a lot of places.

Fruita, Colorado
Destination Expert
for Fruita, Grand Junction
Level Contributor
6,649 posts
231 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: 4WD car rental at Denver airport?

As long as you are aware of the risks and willing and able to pay for the extra charges, then the decision is all yours. We just take the time and effort to point out the risk so someone doesn't get blindsided by charges they didn't expect and can't pay. Nobody's vacation should be ruined by a financial nightmare at the end.

If you really want the offroad experience then there are plenty of places in CO that specialize in renting 4WD vehicles just for that or who will take you to the best places without you having to do the driving, allowing for more time to see the scenery. And they know the countryside very well, something a tourist can't.

One day I was out in my Jeep on what seemed to be a reasonable dirt road when I sensed something wasn't right. I asked my friend to take a look at what was ahead and they reported the road ended around a blind curve in a huge mud bog. If I had driven into that I would have had a huge bill for a tow out since even my 4WD Jeep wouldn't have done the job. I couldn't turn around so I had to back down a single track road for a long way - interesting day. If I had been in a rental (that wouldn't have authorized me being on that road to begin with) the tow charges would not have been covered by the rental's roadside assistance coverage.

So I would suggest talking to locals before driving out & about to get the scoop on the roads - weather can change everything quickly.

WestSlope,CO
Destination Expert
for Colorado
Level Contributor
10,563 posts
166 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: 4WD car rental at Denver airport?

Heepgirl, it isn't necessarily about whether you have to have 4 wheel drive or a high clearance vehicle. or whether it should be all right. It's very often quite all right until it isn't, and then you can be in real trouble, even in a high clearance 4WD vehicle. My DH is an expert driver with many years of jeeping, and we very nearly got stuck in a boggy spot that didn't really look like it would be a problem recently on a very tame road I've driven on in our sedan... and it was looking like we were going to have to walk out. We were in our own vehicle, but I hate to think what the tow charges would have been. Much less the awful prospect of deciding whether to walk out or spend the night in the truck and then walk out.

As SusieLou points out, you need to be prepared to pay for backcountry rescue and towing plus damages (and you can bet if you are off road they will find damages) plus the rental charges for the time the car was out of service. And keep in mind there's often no cell phone service. Hypothermia can be a real danger even in the summer in the high country. If you've rented a jeep from an off-road tour company and you don't show up at the appointed time, at least they will know where and when to start looking for you. This is another reason we often recommend taking a tour. They tour companies know the roads and the road conditions, plus if they have a mechanical failure they can send out another vehicle so a breakdown is an inconvenience instead of an emergency.

Get answers to your questions about Denver
Recent Conversations