Gunnison Spur of the Colorado Trail

Length: About 20 miles from Gunnison to the Taylor Canyon Road
Difficulty: Easy to moderate walking
Season of use: May through October
Amount of Use: Light hiking, trail running, mountain biking, vehicle and horseback use
Elevation Change:
    Beginning: 7,760 ft.
    Ending: 10,100 ft.

How to Get There: From the center of Gunnison, drive east on Hwy. 50 about 6 blocks to Mc Donald’s. Turn left and go a long block to the first stop sign. Turn right and follow the curving road around the edge of the WSC campus. About halfway up the hill you will see a large parking lot for the WSC library. Park on the eastern edge of the parking lot and cross the road to the entrance of the trail.

Trailhead Parking/Camping: Adequate parking for any size vehicle is available at the College parking lot. No camping is available at this trailhead. Camping is allowed on public land along the trail.

Attractions: It is convenient to start this trail right from town for a hike or mt. bike ride. The view from the radio towers provides a nice overlook of Gunnison particularly in the fall when the town’s trees have turned yellow. Further along, the long flat ridge above Signal Peak provide very nice views of the Ohio Creek Valley, West Elks and the more distant San Juan mountains to the south. Further from town you enter aspen and spruce forests toward the top of Lost Canyon.

Narrative: The first part of the trail climbs steadily through College property to the radio towers. From there you follow along a 2 track road that follows the crest of rolling hills providing interesting views of the valleys below. Beyond Signal Peak, you continue eastward climbing to a long flat mesa. Follow the 2 track road through several gates as you enter Forest Service land. You will intersect with a dirt road that heads north to the Lost Canyon Road. Follow that for a short way then look for a single track trail that heads east - parallel to the Lost Canyon Road for awhile finally ending up on the main road. This will take you to the top of the hill where you can find some nice camping spots. From there, the trail follows the road as it heads south then curves north as it drops down into Beaver Creek. It will continue north for about seven miles to meet the Taylor River Road at the Forest Service’s One Mile Campground. When you reach the Lost Canyon Road you can turn downhill (west) to loop back to Gunnison. This forms about a 24 mile loop for mountain bikers in good condition.

Hazards/Considerations: Make sure to stay on the trail when crossing College land. Signs are posted in some places indicating the direction of the trails that need to be followed. It is important to be prepared for typical July and August afternoon thundershowers. Stay off ridges and away from open ground to avoid lightening strikes during storms. Be sure to bring sunscreen, rain gear and drinking water. Be sure someone knows where you are going and when you plan to return. You are sharing the trails - be courteous to other users. Please help us take care of your public lands - Leave No Trace of your visit.

Created by the Bureau of Land Management, Colorado
Point of Contact:
Jim Lovelace

Last modified: January 6, 2011