• Black Canyon National Park's East Portal Road will be closed for the 2021 season • Morrow Point Boat Tours will not be offered during the 2021 season • Roadwork in Little Blue Canyon, on Hwy 50 east of Montrose, will cause significant delays on weekdays

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Hiking Near Montrose

Many of Colorado’s most outstanding places are accessible only on foot. Montrose is surrounded by opportunities to explore some of the most beautiful countrysides 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 Connect 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 winter months. Mountain hikes offer scenery and flora and fauna that are truly spectacular but best accessed in the warmer summer months.

If you choose to venture into remote areas, please go prepared. Trail maps and navigation aids, such as a GPS device, are recommended. Be sure to wear sturdy 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.

View from Curecanti Creek Trail

Gunnison River Hikes:

Mesa Creek Trail (Curecanti National Recreation Area) - All vehicles. 1.5 miles round trip. Easy. Follow Morrow Point Dam Road to the parking lot below Morrow Point Reservoir. The river here is wide and deep, offering plenty of opportunities for big fish.

Pine Creek Trail (Curecanti National Recreation Area) - All vehicles. 2 miles round trip. Moderate difficulty. Hike along an old railroad bed next to the reservoir with fishing opportunities. You can also launch a small raft or kayak here if you're up for carrying it down 180 feet worth of steps.

Curecanti Creek Trail (Curecanti National Recreation Area) - All vehicles. 4 miles round trip. Moderate-strenuous difficulty. A steep but well-maintained trail down to Morrow Point Reservoir and the Curecanti Needle.

Gunnison River Pleasure Park (Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area) - All vehicles. Easy access to the confluence of the North Fork and Gunnison rivers. You can also cross the North Fork and hike along the Gunnison River to the Smith Fork for up to 8 miles round trip. The hike itself is moderately difficult but the river crossing can be challenging in high water.

Chukar Trail (Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area) - High clearance vehicles. 2.2 miles round trip. Moderate difficulty. Heavy foot, horse, and boat traffic due to the raft launch on this trail. Chukar has 560 feet of elevation gain.

West River Trailhead (Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area) - Moderate clearance vehicles. 5 miles round trip. Moderate difficulty. Excellent fishing access along South River Road on the way in.

Ute Trail (Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area) - High clearance vehicles. 9 miles round trip. Strenuous. Well maintained trail with many switchbacks leading down to the river. Ute Trail has 1200 feet of elevation gain.

Duncan Trail (Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area) - High clearance vehicles. 3 miles round trip. Strenuous. The last half-mile is very steep with loose rock. Duncan Trail has 840 feet of elevation gain.

Bobcat Trail (Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area) - High clearance vehicles. 2 miles round trip. Strenuous. The last half-mile is very steep, requiring basic rock climbing skills. Bobcat Trail has 800 feet of elevation gain.

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.

Spotlight on Montrose