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Category: Hiking

Gunnison Gorge: Smith Mountain Jeep Road

After Work Adventures | Friday, June 14, 2024

This weekend I was going to be staying close to home so I could spend a little time on the Colorado River, but since a cold font had come through the area and dropped temperatures significantly for the day, I thought it would be a good idea to head over to the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area after work so I could go for a scenic drive on the Smith Mountain Jeep Road and hike to a couple of highpoints along the way. After leaving work on Friday afternoon I drove over to Delta, grabbed dinner in town and then headed over to the Smith Mountain Saddle Trailhead where I started driving up to the top of the ridge above the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. As I was making my way up the mountain a fast-moving storm storm moved across the valley from the Uncompahgre Plateau and quickly dropped the temperature another 15 degrees as the wind picked up.

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( ЯR ) The Rimrocker Trail: Montrose to Moab

Getting Lost in the West End: Across the Uncompahgre Plateau & La Sal Mountains
Friday – Sunday, June 7-9, 2024

After having an amazing time on the river in Cataract Canyon last weekend, I wanted to take it easy and stay a bit closer to home this weekend. With warmer temperatures in the valleys and still too much snow in the high country for me, I thought this might be a great opportunity to finally take a scenic weekend drive across the Uncompahgre Plateau and La Sal Mountains from Montrose to Moab on the Rimrocker Trail, while also taking the time to stop for a few short hikes and side trips along the way. The Rimrocker Trail was created in 2016 by linking up existing roads in this remote area of Western Colorado, many of which I have already driven over the past twenty years, especially while I was working on mapping out a 4X4 route of the Tabeguache Trail and Paradox Trail. But even though I have already driven many of these roads before, it’s been a long time and I really don’t remember very much about them, so I was looking forward to the refresher on this 160 mile route. So after spending Friday evening in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, I drove across the Uncompahgre River Valley and found a campsite near Temple Park and the beginning of the Rimrocker Trail so I could get an early start on Saturday morning.

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Final Trails at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

After Work Adventures | Friday, June 7, 2024

After finishing my last hike at the North Rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park two weekends ago, that left me with only one short trail in the entire park that I had not hiked yet, along with maybe a couple of other short walks to overlooks that I could not remember if I had ever been out to before, though I most likely had a long time ago. Since I was going to be in the area to start driving the Rimrocker Trail from Montrose to Moab on Saturday morning, I figured that I might as well head over to the Black Canyon on Friday evening so I could spend a few hours there and finish hiking all the trails in the park. As usual, I left work on Friday and made my way down to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Although it is currently the busy season for the park, I was hoping it wouldn’t be quite as busy because of the ongoing US 50 bridge closure and road construction inside the park.

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Big Water in Cataract Canyon: The Colorado River

Utah’s Biggest Whitewater in Canyonlands National Park | Average CFS: 31,500
Friday – Sunday, May 31 – June 2, 2024

As many of you already know, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time exploring, hiking, backpacking, Jeeping and floating the rivers within Canyonlands National Park over the years. However, Cataract Canyon has been the one section of the Colorado River in Canyonlands that has eluded me over that time. Since there’s a pretty good chance I might never have the opportunity to navigate the large rapids of Cataract Canyon on a private river trip, I figured this would probably be a good place to try out a commercial river trip for the first time and see how it goes. So late last year I booked a 3-day motorized trip with Mild To Wild Rafting and then my friend Jackson did the same for his family so we could go on the trip together. Since we would be in a large raft with an experienced guide on this trip instead of in our little inflatable kayaks, we tried to time the trip to coincide with the highest water of the year that typically happens during spring runoff in late May and early June, and I think we ended up doing a pretty good job on the timing.

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Memorial Day Weekend Along the Black Canyon

Memorial Day Weekend | Friday – Sunday, May 24-26, 2024

This Memorial Day Weekend I decided to stay a little closer to home so I could spend some time along the Gunnison River in both the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Since it’s getting to be that time of the year when the desert is starting to get a little too warm for me and there is still too much snow up in the high country, luckily this area along the rim of the Black Canyon is in-between and usually just right at this time of the year.

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