Many of Colorado’s most outstanding places are accessible only on foot. Montrose is literally surrounded by opportunities to explore some of the most beautiful countryside in the West. All levels of hikers, from families and novice adventurers to hardcore backpackers and campers, can enjoy the thrill of discovering Colorado’s ‘hidden’ gems.

Choose from short jaunts on the city’s riverside trail system or venture into remote mountain and wilderness areas for multi-day backpacking trips. Lower elevation terrain in the river valleys is suitable for hikes throughout the year, but especially during the cooler temperatures of the transition months. Mountain hikes offer scenery, flora and fauna that are truly spectacular. 

If you choose to venture into remote areas, please go prepared for a pleasant and safe journey. Trail maps and navigation aids, such as a GPS device, are recommended. Be sure to wear suitable footwear and bring water, high-energy snacks and extra clothing in case of a longer-than-expected trek. Check the weather forecast before departing – some unimproved roads and trails, particularly at lower elevations, can become difficult to navigate after heavy rain or snow. Finally, let someone know your intended route in case of an emergency.

Hiking in the San Juans

Black Canyon National Park

A menu of mild to rugged hiking options are available at the Black Canyon, each adding its own special flavor to your visit to the park. Learn more ...

Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area

Four hiking trails descend from the rim of the gorge to the Gold Medal fishing waters of the Gunnison River. Chukar Trail is the most heavily-used trail in Gunnison Gorge National Conservation and Wilderness Area, providing access for kayakers, rafters and fishermen. This is a 2.2-mile round-trip, moderately difficult trail that offers an interesting look at the geological makeup of the gorge, as it transitions from hard, dark metamorphic rock to softer sedimentary layers. Mountain sheep and other wildlife may also be seen along the trail.  Learn more …

Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest

The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest lands provide an astounding variety hiking and backpacking opportunities. In the San Juan Mountains you’ll witness incredible views full of wildflowers, sheer cliffs, aspens, and mountain streams. There are also trails that lead to abandoned mines, remote and rugged landscapes, and plenty of waterfalls. Adventurous hikers can scale one or more of the San Juan’s “fourteeners.” Enjoy breathtaking 360-degree views of the surrounding valleys atop the Grand Mesa’s Crag Crest Trail. See the Maps and Online Resources tab on this page for access to trail information for each area.