Rimrock to Uplands Loop
ElevationAscent: 404' 123 m
Descent: -406' -124 m
High: 8,335' 2,540 m
Low: 7,975' 2,431 m
GradeAvg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 53% (28°)
Current trail conditions
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“An easy and accessible route leading to some of the most scenic portions of the park.”— Mikhaila Redovian
Family Friendly This loop follows along easy to navigate paths, and gets close enough to the rim to provide excellent views without getting dangerously close.
Start out at the visitor center, where you'll find ample parking and the start of the Rim Rock Nature Trail. This trail leads out on a gentle tour of the plateau rimming the canyon. From this vantage point, you'll have plenty of views down to the Gunnison River below. In addition to the river, take time to admire the stratigraphy of the canyon below you and across the water. There is spectacular geology to be seen, much of which provides a historical record for the past of the American west. This portion of the trail can be a bit exposed, so be sure to bring a hat.
At just about 3/4 of a mile, hikers will come to an intersection with the Uplands Trail. You'll depart from the canyon rim and begin making your way through the pinyon/juniper forest. This section of trail is particularly pleasant, and can be enlightening. Most of the vegetation along the way has specially adapted to cope with the extreme environment in the area. Juniper and pinyon trees, while generally low growing, can live for hundreds of years and withstand both drought and extremely cold temperatures. Take your time meandering among the forest, enjoying the fragrant hike. You'll cross Rim Drive twice along the way before this trail ends at an intersection with the Oak Flat Trail.
Take a right on the Oak Flat Trail to enjoy the rest of the way back to the visitor center. You'll have made your way back to the rim, where beautiful views of the canyon and river will again open up beneath you. From here, either head back to your car or get one last view of the canyon up close by taking the Gunnison Point Overlook Trail and South Rim to Visitors Center spurs in conjunction. The views from here are amazing!
This last short portion is easy to navigate, and will allow you to admire the scenery.