Warner Route

HARD 9 reviews

Warner Route is a 4.2 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 March until October.

DISTANCE
4.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3028 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

camping

fishing

hiking

nature trips

walking

river

views

wildlife

muddy

rocky

scramble

no dogs

A beautiful and steep hike down to a fantastic canyon and Gold Medal Water and Wild Trout Water designated river. A backcountry pass (required) can be obtained at the South Rim Ranger Station which you'll pass on the way to the trailhead. The rangers can also be helpful in directing you to the trailhead. Access is not straightforward. The trail achieves most of it's 3,000 foot elevation change in under 3 miles so it's not for the faint of heart. Camping at the bottom is limited but adequate for the number of backcountry passes allotted per day. Some are upriver of where the trail meets the river, as is the one camp toilet. Others are slightly downriver and are, arguably, better. This is a wilderness designated area so the utmost care must be made to leave it as it is. No fires, no cairns, no trail markers of any kind, no assembling benches or tabled from rock and logs. Aside from the luxury of a toilet at the bottom, it's true backcountry. You need a "inner canyon permit" for this route and the rangers at the visitor center can give you valuable advice.

hiking
10 days ago

good hike; a bit more exposed to the sun (and hotter in the pm) than the Gunnison Route. Also less scree/talus than Gunnison, but more loose dirt and packed dirt covered with small/medium sized pebbles that can sit you down in a hurry. as of 5/16/18, all snow/ice is long gone and the walk is quite dry. roughly 1:45 down and the same time back up. the bottom has some great sunning/relaxation spots, so plan to spend some time down there before slogging back up. you can filter nice cold water straight from the river for a great refresher.

hiking
1 month ago

Did this hike in mid-April when snow was starting to melt considerably. The path was not icy, but we did not get to the bottom!

Beautiful views at the start, and the pathways were largely snow free (although muddy). As you turn for the 'final' descent downwards it gets considerably trickier. As someone with eyes bigger than my stomach, I was up for it, my partner who isn't a fan of slope-scrambles didn't want to go any further.

This is a hike where you have to be confident about slip sliding down some pretty rocky path whilst knowing you're coming back up there a few hours later!

It is an amazing, easy to follow hike and the river (which we visited in another spot later) would be well worth the trip. But it is difficult, tiring, and the view as you descend further starts to disappear behind trees, so you have to be committed.

Saw some very large tracks - maybe elk. Also saw a very stupid wild turkey pottering about at the top.

As everyone else says, go to the visitor centre, get advice from a ranger and remember you cannot do this without a wilderness permit.

10 months ago

Did this hike with my son on 7/21/17. It was tougher than we expected, especially going down. It took us nearly 3 hours to get down thanks to the sheer steepness. It was 2.5 coming back up. Beautiful at the bottom where we did a little swimming in the very cold Gunnison River. Don't underestimate this hike due to its shortness.

10 months ago

A very fun hike. We went down in the morning and spent the afternoon fishing, and then returned the following day. For a relatively inexperienced hiker (but an avid runner), it wasn't terribly hard. Went with a group of 4 (no experienced hikers), and we went down in 2.5 hours and back up in 3 hours. There's large, flat rock about halfway down that offers an amazing view and shade to relax.

backpacking
11 months ago

Solid hike very steep coming back up!

hiking
11 months ago

You need a "inner canyon permit" for this route and the rangers at the visitor center will give you valuable advice. E.g. they explained me the difference between "route" and "trail", the former being rough and unmaintained.

The root itself starts between markers 13 and 14 on the Warner lookout self-guided trail. You can see it by a sign on the left hand side saying "wilderness permit required".
Then it gently goes down to the saddle. From the saddle, the fun begins, unmerciful descend down the canyon. Hiking poles recommended, some places are tricky and recommend using your butt. As a reward, you get amazing views and a sandy beach on the bottom of the deepest point of the canyon. There is also a toilet to relieve all stress accumulated by the steep downhill.
Going up is technically much simpler, although your tights would disagree.
If you in a pretty good shape and an experienced hiker, you can run down in ~1h, and go up in ~2:30h. But would recommend allocating the whole day in any case.

hiking
1 month ago

fishing
11 months ago