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An epic alpine trail through the San Juans.


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Map Key

20.4

Miles

32.9

KM

Point to Point

12,919' 3,938 m

High

10,045' 3,062 m

Low

4,238' 1,292 m

Up

3,448' 1,051 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

29%

Max Grade (16°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

While the trail itself is never closed, its trailheads are often closed in the winter. Most hikers of the RSD probably aren't too afraid of mileage, but should expect to add a few miles on either end during winter.

This trail passes through national forest, so dogs must be leashed.

Description

This trail runs from near Ouray (West end: Alpine Flats; Bear Creek and Horsethief Trail junctions) to a remote area in between Gunnison and Lake City (East end: Alpine Plateau), and can also be accessed by way of the Matterhorn Creek Trailhead (see Uncompahgre Peak).

It consists mostly of rolling singletrack, taking hikers from near Ouray to Matterhorn Creek Trailhead and catching up with the approach to Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre Peaks at 7.5 miles. It winds through the basin between these two 14ers before departing this route to the right, at 13 miles and 12,600 ft. From here it continues for about 15 miles, winding by several alpine passes before descending gradual singletrack into the Alpine Plateau, an area of lower altitude tundra between Lake City and Gunnison.

Flora & Fauna

Wildflowers in this part of the state are stunning. While you'll spend some time above tree line, the aspens and pines in this area are beautiful as well.

As with any alpine trail in the San Juans, expect to see marmots, pika, and maybe some bighorn sheep and mountain goats.

Contacts

Shared By:

Tyler Prince

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#15440

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  4.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#1,349

in Colorado

#15,440

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5 Views Last Month
1,126 Since Apr 2, 2015
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Photos

Looking NE at the Uncompahgre summit.
Oct 3, 2023 near Lake City, CO
Marmots are common along the trail, and some aren't shy at all.
Apr 5, 2016 near Lake City, CO
Fiery sunrise from the Uncompahgre Trail.
Oct 3, 2023 near Lake City, CO
Some autumnal views off of the Ridge Stock Driveway. with permission from dreamer 200
Mar 19, 2016 near Lake City, CO
Looking up at Uncompahgre from the trail.
Oct 3, 2023 near Lake City, CO
My friend nears the top of the shoulder on a snowy but beautiful day.
Feb 9, 2017 near Lake City, CO

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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Check-Ins

Jun 28, 2016
Valerie Norton
Sleep at 12.6k is rough: https://valhikes.blogspot.com/2015/06/silver-jack-mine.html
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