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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests > Ouray Ranger District

Quick Facts

Alpine Trail

Beginning Elevation: 9,207 Feet (2870.0 Meters)
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 393 Feet (122.5 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 9,600 Feet (2992.5 Meters)
Length: 17 Miles (28.33 Kilometers) to the Alpine Guard Station
Recommended Season: Summer to Fall
Trail Number: 225
Usage: Light
USGS Maps: Sheep Mountain, Courthouse Mountain




Satellite and Topo Map




General Description

The Alpine Trail is the primary access to High Mesa and Big Park. Both areas have excellent elk habitat, with long open flat meadows surrounded by dense Engelmann spruce and sub alpine fir forests.

Summer use is light with heavier use during fall big game seasons. Travel time is an easy two day ride. There is a good water supply in Little Cimarrona and Big Park and good horse feed throughout. There is also good camping in High Mesa, Little Cimarrona and Big Park areas.

During the early to mid 1900's, pack horses were the mode of travel for the Forest Service in the Cimarrona area. Originally the Alpine Trail connected the Jackson Guard Station to the Alpine Guard Station. This was one of the primary travel routes through this part of the District. Remnants of the old phone line connecting the stations may be seen attached to trees along the trail.

Today the Alpine Trail is used mostly for hunting access and recreation. The trail continues to also be important for Forest Service administration of range allotments and general administration purposes.

Motorized vehicles are permitted on the Alpine Trail. Care must be used on the steeper switch backs, however.

Directions from Highway 149: From Hwy 149 take Alpine Plateau Road #868 toward Alpine Guard Station. Follow the signs to the Big Blue Campground. Alpine Trail begins on a curve one half mile north of campground.

Directions from Highway 50: From Hwy 50 take Owl Creek - Cimarron Raod to Silver Jack Reservoir. The trailhead is signed 1/4 mile south of gated access from the road to the dam.From the trailhead, the trail switches back and forth steeply many times to climb to the flat top ridges of High Mesa and Big Park. In most areas the trail is distinct and easily followed. Just beyond the East Fork of the Little Cimarron river the trail uses the Coyote park road for about 1/3 mile. At the top of the hill, the trail separates again and drops into the Big Blue drainage.Parking at the Owl Creek-Cimarron Road Trailhead is minimal. Trucks with horse trailers should park at the pull off 1/4 mile south.

Directions from Highway 50 via Little Cimmermon Road: From Hwy 50 take Little Cimarron Road located one mile east of Owl Creek - Cimarron Road. Little Cimarrron - Alpine trailhead is signed two miles inside the National Forest Boundary.Facilities at the Little Cimarron Trailhead include, parking facilities with adequate room for horse trailers, a toilet and camping area. The trail to Big Park starts across the road from the trailhead entrance. To locate the trail to High Mesa, follow the signs to the left of the entrance road as you enter. The Little Cimarron river must be forded or crossed on trees dropped over the stream. Follow the Little Cimarron Trail 1/4 mile to the signed Alpine Trail junction.

Directions from Highway 149: Access #1:From Colorado Highway 149 take Alpine Plateau Road # 868 toward Alpine Guard Station. Follow the signs to Big Blue Campground. Alpine Trail begins on a curve one half mile north of campground.

Directions from Highway 50: Access #2:From U.S. 50 take Owl Creek - Cimarron Raod to Silver Jack Reservoir. The trailhead is signed 1/4 mile south of gated access from the road to the dam.

Directions: Access #3:From U. S. 50 take Little Cimarron Road located one mile east of Owl Creek - Cimarron Road. Little Cimarrron - Alpine trailhead is signed two miles inside the National Forest Boundary.



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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking Alpine Trail
Yes
ICON Horseback Riding
ICON Motorcycle Riding



More Information

Visitor Information:

Montrose County Chamber of Commerce, 550 N Townsend , Montrose, CO, 81401, Phone: 800-873-0244

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