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Best Hikes in Gunnison, Colorado

Explore the southern end of the Gunnison Valley on the region's best hikes.

Hiking Easy, Moderate, Difficult

Dillon Pinnacles
Photo: Greg Heil


Almost every hiker that's visited Central Colorado is familiar with the famous destination of Crested Butte, often hailed as the pinnacle of mountain adventures. However, just 30 minutes to the south lies Gunnison, a less-explored gem that also deserves attention.

Where Crested Butte is a haven of wildflowers and aspen groves, Gunnison emerges as its earthy counterpart. Adorned with dry landscapes, the scent of sagebrush, and majestic granite outcroppings, Gunnison is a natural mosaic. Its distinct climate lends itself to an extensive hiking season, and when Crested Butte is still shaking off its winter snow, the trails in Gunnison beckon with open arms.

You can't talk about hiking in Gunnison without mentioning Hartman Rocks. Known primarily as a trail system for mountain biking, the multi-use trail system at Hartman's also offers great hiking opportunities. With a rich history carved initially by moto riders, the trails have evolved into a labyrinth of possibilities for hikers. Hartman Rocks offers a spectrum of terrain – from sandy paths to rocky challenges that will test your mettle, sprawling across an immense area.

Accessible directly from the edge of town, Signal Peak emerges as a secondary destination. Starting right from the Western State University campus, Signal Peak's trails offer a convenient getaway into a sagebrush paradise. This region has witnessed a surge in trail development, thanks to the ongoing work of Gunnison Trails.

Further out of town and deeper into the mountains, the Mill Castle area includes a variety of trails. The Mill Castle Trail, for instance, weaves through the wilderness, culminating at the Castles - a formidable assembly of rocky outcroppings overlooking the landscape.

For an even more remote hiking experience, the Fossil Ridge Wilderness awaits to the east. Secluded trails such as Pine Creek and Boulder Lake via Fossil Ridge Trail climb into alpine settings, complete with tranquil lakes, gushing streams, and lush forests.

Finally, don’t forget to explore the Curecanti National Recreation Area, where trails such as Dillon Pinnacles offer a unique combination of water and mountain views. The geological formations at Dillon Pinnacles, surrounded by the Blue Mesa Reservoir, are a sight to behold and provide an ideal setting for a day hike.

You'll find all these adventures and more with this in-depth guidebook to Gunnison's very best hikes!

Routes included

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