“A trail that clings to the high slopes of Uncompahgre Plateau with dramatic views of Unaweep Canyon.
— Janice Shepherd
Birding — River/Creek — Views — Wildflowers
From the intersection with Snowshoe Trail, this singletrack follows the contours of the slope affording fantastic views of the white-capped La Sal Mountains, the green Unaweep Valley and the dramatic red butte of the Palisade that towers over the resort town of Gateway. This trail offers plenty of solitude. At times the trail is lined with low bushes and at other times it passes through an aspen-pine forest. Keep an eye out for Dusky Grouse that are sometimes seen walking along the trail.
When the views shift to Unaweep Canyon, you may recall learning in geology class that Unaweep Canyon has a unique feature of two creeks that flow in opposite directions. There is even a sign along the highway marking the Unaweep Divide location where West and East Creek head their separate directions.
Rim Trail Road out to the trail is at times quite rough and requires a 4x4 high clearance vehicle with a skilled driver. But the beautiful views and solitude are worth the effort. Our group made a loop out of this one by parking at the intersection of Rim Trail road and Basin Trail Road, then hiking over to the Snowshoe Trail, down Snowshoe to the Unaweep Trail, continuing back up on the Middle Fork Bear Canyon Trail and then along Basin Trail Road back to the vehicles. Our group stopped to look at and identify many of the wildflowers along the route so we were 7 1/2 hours on this 11.9 mile loop. Having extra water back at the vehicles was important. We saw no one else in the area all day.
If you look carefully you might spot the dainty fairy slipper along the trail.