Explore the most popular rock climbing trails in Uncompahgre National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

This was a great hike! Didn’t make it to the peak for a couple of reasons. The main being there was way too much snow on the ground. My lifted Jeep made it up until we started sliding back on the ice. Also, we started at about 3pm, so obviously we were losing sunlight. It’s doable if you start early and wear snow boots. Hiking stalks would’ve been a plus as well.

Fun, steep and primitive! Some great times getting lost and bushwhacking up the mountain. Above the treeline is very steep, and there is a short scramble and a little exposure right before the summit. Not for the faint of heart. Car to car took me just over 8 hours (might take 6 if you know EXACTLY where to go/ done it before). Expect to get lost in the woods!

Now one of my favorite 14ers!
If you have 4 wheel drive and high clearance try to go as far up this road as you can! It will help eliminate you hiking up the whole road to get to the trail head! If you can make it far up that road, you will thank yourself on the way back down

Loved it. First time off road with a Jeep and wasn’t to bad.

off road driving
1 month ago

This was our first trail on our visit to Ouray. The trail starts off pretty easy and gets rockier the father you go up. We got to the top portion where the sign states short wheel base, high clearance only past this point. We are driving a lifted Tacoma and a lifted 4 Runner, so we figured we would attempt it. We made it up a couple of the switch backs, but then decided to not push any further as it was raining and sleeting and traction was not great on the rocks. We turned around and headed back down. It was a beautiful trip, even if we didn't make it all the way to the top.

Favorite 14er so far

off road driving
1 month ago

Absolutely beautiful views and such a fun drive up the mountain. Saw some wildlife and experienced spectacular views. Would 100% do it again and maybe go camping.

backpacking
1 month ago

A hidden gem in my opinion. Packed in and camped at the top of the lower valley. Had the Canyon to ourselves. As others have said, the trail is not well marked.
For day hike, we scrambled up the drainage and eventually met up with another trail that follows the perimeter. Learned that this trail can be found if you take a right turn on to a single-trek trail off the main road you come in on. The trail was a saving grace after scrambling through the scree field. Be prepared for quick weather changes at this time of the year.
Eventually scrambled to the saddle for a view of Island Lake. All in all, a beautiful Labor Day adventure.

off road driving
1 month ago

Great 4wd drive. Great views. loved the waterfalls.

Hardest hike/climb I've done so far for it's distance (started 6 miles down), amazing view at the top, well worth it.

It was an unending stairclimber until it became a climb instead of a hike.

Have you ever heard of the boy who cried wolf getting eaten?
Don't try to take your 2wd low clearance rental car up this one, you may have to back up 50ft straight.
Class 3 scrambling? It actually exists and you can learn what it is on this trail. Some very exposed maneuvers, try to stay on the shale going up and don't trust any rock regardless of size.

Remember the dirt roads you took up to the actual trailhead sign, you'll see many options going downward.

Somehow the waterfalls were ignored by nearly everyone. They made the area way more than just a crowded 14er for me.

Start early to avoid the crowds renting Jeeps. 8:30am summit, a few other people. 9am summit, a dozen with more on their way up.

I saw a medium-small dog make it up, but he had to be passed between group members at the very top section (Larger dogs probably wouldn't make this section either). I heard him bark a good amount on their way down, I'm assuming out of fear.

This was definitely a tough hike! If you don’t have a high-clearance vehicle be prepared to hike about 7-8 miles in & out. Once you finally get to the actual trail, there’s a deceiving sign that says 1.2 miles to the summit—it’s pretty much a straight incline up the full 1.2 miles and there are rocks/boulders that fall while you’re hiking up. Since the hike is so steep, the rocks slip constantly so we recommend a helmet, like some people had, and possibly hiking poles for the trip back down. Heading back down was honestly the hardest part because it puts a lot of stress on your knees. There are several false summits so be prepared! When you finally reach the top & are close to the summit, you’ll have to scramble through a tight notch to reach the actual summit. Get someone to help you because that part can be tricky—especially if you’re hiking alone. All in all, it’s a beautiful mountain & I promise you’ll remember the hike forever.

off road driving
2 months ago

Great views. Can be tricky with loose rock and off camber sections. Worth the time.

Challenging hike/ climb, but one of my favorite 14-ers ever. Beautiful views and totally worth it. Be prepared to climb/ scramble.

Great trail. Scenic and a good trail for your first one.

hiking
2 months ago

Awesome hike. Scramble up the saddle and drop into island and ice lakes.

off road driving
2 months ago

Went early and avoided tourist traffic. Easy 2wd until the last ¼ and hen aired down and put in 4 hi most of the time. A few spots needed 4 low and we stayed in low most of the way down during the steep part. Great hiking and views at the top. Next time we are there we’ll try some of the basins to the south of the trail. Stock Sahara, 32 AT no lift.

This is a TOUGH hike with a short bit of Class 3 climbing required. Straight up the steepest face of boulders and scree I can recall.
Nearly everyone had trekking poles, and I found myself very jealous of that as I scrambled down excruciatingly slowly. Bring poles. Lean on them every step of descent. Get down to the upper trailhead in 1 hour instead of 2 like me.
The summit was worth the effort.

Steep elevation gain after trail sign. Had to park at lower trail head (upper section is a legit 4wd road. Saw a Tacoma get stuck and towed out). South slope is steep but solid when we did it early morning. The gully is fun bouldering on the right. depending on which side you take it’s fairly stable rocks. The v notch has solid hand holds and is mostly a mental game pretty easy to get through depending on your size. Final push has some exposure but nothing that is extreme. Strenuous climb but views are amazing.

off road driving
3 months ago

My husband took the Jeep up, no problem and I hiked to the lake with the dog. Easy hike, gorgeous views

Wow this was a tough climb. After being at altitude for six days, I thought I was ready for a 14er. This hike kicked my tail but I was so impressed with the guidance from AllTrails. The pics and reviews helped my prep towards success.

off road driving
3 months ago

Drove to the trailhead in mostly stock 02 Dodge Dakota QC Shortbed. Took a ding or two to the undercarriage, but I was rushing. No problem if you’re more patient than me.

Super tough but also pretty exciting!

This trail is very hard. It is the hardest 14er we have completed. We started from the upper trail head. Ascending and descending the gulley is very difficult. Glad we did it. One and done!

Did this trail yesterday, June 28, 2018. Wild flowers were in full bloom, absolutely beautiful. Trail goes from easy to moderate the higher up you go. My F150 4x4 had no problems. Highly recommend this trail. Stoped in Ouray at the hot springs for a swim on the way back to Telluride.

on Swamp Canyon Trail

hiking
3 months ago

The start of the trail is accurate, and we drove (high clearance 4x4) up to a gate prior to the true trailhead.

Followed what seems to be an old mining/now USFS road all the way up past marshlands (past cairn-designated trail off to the right that shows on this app but is not named) into the basin before realizing we were actually on a local single track trail. Could not find the shown Swamp Canyon trail past this point - The single track turns back toward Ophir Pass and we wanted to go further up the basin to summit the pass and look over to Island Lake. So we bushwhacked up to the point where we ran across the previous cairn-designated trail we’d decided against.

Following this up to the pass, the last mile is loose scree. The scramble up and over the pass is exactly that - take a hard look at it! We spent over an hour getting up and down this short section and while the views are beautiful, it wasn’t exactly safe or designated route. There’s a reason the highlighted Swamp Canyon trail ends well before the summit of the pass!

Overall, beautiful adventure of a morning. Tons of wildflowers, columbine everywhere in the lower meadows, lots of waterfalls and creeks flowing.

Gorgeous views, lots of water and wildflowers!! We took our Tacoma and it did great up the 4x4 roads!

Difficult but worth the views! Lots of elevation gain in a short distance and a lot of hiking on scree. Get ready for a workout on the way up and be cautious on the way down, I slipped on the the scree and landed on my butt a couple times! Also, be careful taking your pups on this one, the rocks can make for very sore and bloody paws! My schnauzer made it all the way up but I had to carry him the last half of the top on the way down.

off road driving
9 months ago

Fairly easy trail but one of our favorites in the area. We did it in a stock jeep unlimited sport with no problems. Great views. Passes by the waterfall they use in the Coors commercials.

Lots of elevation gain for an absolutely breathtaking view on top. Ran into a red fox, which was cool. Most challenging and rewarding hike I've done so far.

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