The Uncompahgre Plateau is one of Colorado's beautiful and unusual backcountry territories that flies under the radar for travelers seeking a unique experience on the lesser-traveled, unbeaten path.
The 1.5 million-acre Uncompahgre Plateau, is a geologic uplift west of Montrose that rises from the surrounding river valleys and forms a vast expanse for outdoor enthusiasts looking for room to breathe. While not sporting any dramatic, craggy peaks, the plateau is a tapestry of remote landscapes and scenic vistas that attract travelers with a menu of recreational interests as varied as the place itself.
A gradual incline from Montrose takes visitors to the plateau’s summit ridge at an elevation of just under 10,000 feet. Along the way, the landscape transitions from sage, pinyons, and junipers to aspen groves, ponderosa pines, and mixed conifer forests at higher elevations.
The plateau’s relatively flat mesas are interrupted by numerous canyons and gulches. The larger canyons, such as Big Red, Tabeguache, Spring Creek, Roubideau, Escalante, Big Dominquez, and Unaweep add to the unique beauty of the plateau and provide an ideal setting for a host of activities, including hiking, mountain biking, and bouldering.
Camping on the Plateau
There are three campgrounds within the plateau’s National Forest area, each located just off Divide Road. Dispersed camping is allowed elsewhere on the plateau, but please take advantage of existing sites whenever possible.
Trails, Roads, and More Information
An extensive system of trails and roads for motorized vehicles offers numerous opportunities to explore ‘hidden’ places on the plateau and mountain biking is also very popular.
The main access routes, such as Highway 90, Dave Wood Road, Divide Road, Delta-Nucla Road, and Transfer Road are graveled and traversable by regular passenger vehicles.
No matter how long you plan to visit the plateau, be sure to go prepared with adequate supplies and gear as there are no services on the plateau.
Explore the accompanying list of online resources to learn more, or stop by the Montrose Public Lands Center, located at 2505 S. Townsend Ave. for additional information and maps.
Public Lands Center Location