Gunnison Route Trail is a 1.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Montrose, Colorado that features a river and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October.

Distance: 1.8 miles Elevation Gain: 1,781 feet Route Type: Out & Back

fishing

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

rocky

scramble

washed out

no dogs

Both day and overnight hikers are required to obtain a wilderness permit in order to hike this route. A limited number of permits are available from the South Rim Visitor Center on a first-come, first-served basis. Hikers should be prepared to carry 4 liters of water or should bring a water filter.

hiking
over grown
3 days ago

Tough but rewarding. Got lost a few times on the way back up. Took about 3.5 hours not including the time to hang out at the bottom.

hiking
off trail
over grown
rocky
scramble
5 days ago

Hiked on 5/30, arrived at the visitor at 7:15 and there were 4 permits left. Definitely worth the trip, the river is a great spot to have lunch and check out the canyon from a completely different angle. The way back up was very strenuous, and make sure to be careful of falling rocks if hiking in a group.

hiking
scramble
9 days ago

Tried to get permits for Sunday of MDW and they were gone before 8 am (they allow 15 people per day on this route). Even though the visitor center is “closed” physically, the rangers have a booth set up our front and are super friendly/helpful. Came back Monday at 7:30, used the self serve permit station, and were able to get a permit (when we got back up at 10:30 there were still 3 spots left so much quieter than Sunday). It’s definitely a steep trail - it took us 1:15 down and 1:15 back up at a steady pace. We also got lost on the way back up as other reviewers have mentioned and had to cut over. We were glad we had a map downloaded. The bottom of the canyon is very pretty and serene. I would love to come back and camp here when the campsites are open again (although it would be a bear of hike with gear!)

hiking
rocky
10 days ago

Started about 5:30am and was the first one down. Was amazing having the inner canyon to myself. The river was so much bigger down below. Took a wrong side trail heading back up and had to cut across to get back on the trail.

hiking
scramble
12 days ago

It's very easy to lose trail when going back up. There are tracks that take you to the ridge on the east side (I was there). The app can be helpful. I find the GPS pretty accurate. Go to the Pulpit Rock Overlook after the hike, and you can see the Gunnison route and see what you have achieved.

hiking
rocky
scramble
13 days ago

fun trail,not too hard to follow

hiking
scramble
16 days ago

Just did this route today and it kicked my butt. Going back up the trail from the river at the base of the canyon is seriously difficult. You’ll be scrambling over rocks and boulders up a very steep incline for practically the entire return route. By the way, you need a permit for this route which you can easily get at the visitor center next to the start of the trail. Also, I used this app’s GPS function to keep me on the trail several times. I got off the path many times (which is apparently very common for this route) and relied on the map in this app to get back on the path. Views are great the whole time, especially at the bottom of the canyon. And you’ll feel really good about yourself if you make it through this super challenging route. If you like intense hiking, you’ll love this one. Awesome experience.

hiking
icy
snow
6 months ago

Hiked on 12/1. Clear skies and about 10 degree weather when we set off at 9am after getting our wilderness pass from Jeremy in the Visitor's Center. Oak Flat Loop was well-packed and required little more than good boots, but once we were past the backcountry sign, our microspikes and poles became necessary. 12-15 inches throughout the proper route. The snow actually made things relatively easier, in terms of both footing and pathfinding on the return, but this was still a slog. The weather, rather than the trail, was the challenge this time of year, since there was no sun on the North Rim, which led to some very, very cold extremities. Overall, beautiful, beautiful area and hike, and we had essentially the entire park to ourselves.

running
icy
rocky
scramble
snow
7 months ago

Beautiful canyon and hike. Was about 4 inches of snow and ice. Salomon speed crosses did the trick with all the rock scrambling micro spikes would have made it just as difficult. Not easy 1800 feet of elevation in 1.5 miles. The park estimates 4 hours but even with snow took me hour 45 mins all depends on fitness level. Enjoy! Garmin watch got very confused.

hiking
7 months ago

hard to call this a trail. It was 30-45 degree slopes and loose rock most of the time. scenic at the bottom, but too much fear of slipping and falling

hiking
scramble
8 months ago

Steeper than imagined Easy to break an ankle on this one, take your time

hiking
8 months ago

hike then scramble! gorgeous views the whole way.

hiking
scramble
washed out
9 months ago

This is a great adventure if you want to camp at the bottom of the canyon. If you want a satisfying challenging hike or want a river camping experience I would look elsewhere. I wouldnt recommend this to most people as the 1.5 mi scree gulley you climb out of is more of a grind than type 2 fun. You get a beautiful view from 1/3 into the hike but then it's the same one through the whole hike as you try to not slide out at every step. The camping was peaceful and serene and I was lucky to have it to myself, but from what I explored there's not much to it. Challenging hike? Do one of many 13er or 14er. Serene river camping? Pick any of the beautiful ones across CO.

hiking
10 months ago

the most ridiculous (in a good way) elevation profile of any hike I've been on. Once you've tackled this, you can tackle anything Altough the incline is insane, you can take your time and there are plenty of ropes to help out when needed. Stroll along the canyon at the bottom is a pleasant respite. Recommend starting early as the sun can get brutal later in the day

hiking
rocky
scramble
10 months ago

Wear hiking shoes and be prepared to use your whole body on this trail - it is not for the physically weak or out of shape. This trail is super fun, with breath taking views, and is an extreme workout for most people. The photos give you a good idea of what you'll see, but don't cover the sense of accomplishment you'll feel at the end when you get back to the top.

hiking
10 months ago

I highly recommend this trail! The hike down took us 1 hr 26 minutes (while it was raining) and 1 hr 45 minutes to hike back up. I’m afraid of heights and this trail didn’t bother me at all. Strenuous but definitely doable! The canyon is amazing from below.

hiking
rocky
11 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

Was harassed by a bear on the way back up. Bear came onto the trail so we turned around and headed back down trying to lose its interest. If may have just been following the trail. But in any case it followed us all the way back down to the river. At the river we were hot so we waded in the river a bit. But I made the mistake of forgetting about the bear and took off my camelbak with our food inside. The bear punctured the reservoir, and ate our cheese, salame, chocolate, and an apple. Then it shifted focus to some guys who were camping and fly fishing and tried to enter their tent. We took the opportunity to head back up to the rim a second time. Amazing place!

hiking
11 months ago

This trail is rad, featuring chain sections to scramble down and up. This is the first trail that I actually felt warranted a hiking stick. It was pretty sick. We took hammocks and took a four hour nap next to the Gunnison river before climbing out.

hiking
off trail
scramble
11 months ago

Keep in mind, the majority of the descent is the last .6 miles of which drops 1,500. The way down took us 2 hours, the way up took us 1. The way down was wayyyy more challenging. I was on my butt half the time on the way down to not lose my balance. The river is pretty high and I’m not sure if that’s why we didn’t see .75 miles of river access. The way up was much easier but I do see how some get lost so just make sure to turn around and we aware of your surroundings.

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