Uncompahgre National Forest in Colorado contains nearly 1 million acres of nature, history, and recreation. Hundreds of miles of trails and disused routes cross the forest landscape. Some of these routes are very old, first being carved out by Native Americans of the region centuries ago. This forest is known for being less crowded than other forests in the area, making it a popular destination for those who enjoy communing with nature in solitude. Scenic drives, hikes, camping, rock climbing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling can all be enjoyed in this forest. Uncompahgre National Forest is also a popular spot for ATV/OHV excursions.
Arguably the most popular trail in the forest, Bridal Veil Falls Trail is a straightforward out-and-back trail leading to the majestic Bridal Veil waterfalls. The trail is suitable for all skill levels but does have some challenging spots. Visitors can expect this trail to be quite crowded due to the popularity of the Falls.
Length: 4.8 miles
Before even reaching the trailhead, visitors get a unique experience here. This trail must be accessed via a gondola (free of charge) that brings hikers to the trailhead at the top of Coonskin Mountain. Hikers can then take the out-and-back See Forever Trail along the mountain ridge to take in some of the best views in Colorado. This trail is appropriate for most skill levels, but it does have some areas of steep terrain that present minor challenges.
Length: 5 miles
This point-to-point trail offers a serious challenge with a serious reward. It ends at the Bridal Veil Falls, but the difficulty of the terrain means that a hiker can avoid the crowds and see new sights on their way to the falls. This trail should be tackled by experienced hikers who are comfortable navigating rocks and bouldering through difficult portions of trail.
Length: 8.5 miles
This loop trail near Telluride, CO, features a waterfall, river, and excellent opportunities for spotting wildlife. The trail is easy and appropriate for all skill levels. Visitors can expect to see a river winding through a huge field of wildflowers if the time of year is right. Keep in mind that the Keystone Gorge Loop is open to hikers only, and no bikes are allowed on the trail.
Length: 2.2 miles
This out-and-back trail starts in the town of Telluride and continues into the mountains following the Telluride River. The path is lightly trafficked and accessible to all skill levels. It offers unique views of the mountain gorges near Telluride and can be easily navigated in just a couple of hours.
Intensity: 4.1 miles
Offering year-round opportunities to experience nature and recreate in style, the Uncompahgre National Forest has an activity for everybody. The terrain makes nature accessible in this park, and it is known for its incredibly scenic views. Wildlife spotting is popular in this forest, and there are dozens of hot spots for viewing the local fauna and flora.
Both river and lake fishing are available throughout Uncompahgre National Forest, and visitors who come to fish have no shortage of fishing holes to choose from.
Bird-watchers come to Uncompahgre for the opportunity to see the hundreds of unique avian species in the forest. At any time of year, visitors can travel by foot or on one of the many scenic drives through the forest to catch a glimpse of birds or other native species unique to this area. The wilderness preserves in the forest offer a protected space for local wildlife, and this park is one of the best spots in Colorado for seeing the unique creatures of the mountain.
At night, the Uncompahgre National Forest area makes for excellent stargazing thanks to the solitude and lack of light pollution from surrounding cities or towns.
Address: 2250 South Main Street, Delta, CO 81416
Fee: Entry fee $0
The solitude of Uncompahgre National Forest makes this destination great for travelers who are looking to avoid the more populated hiking areas. This site is also a must-visit for ATV and OHV riders because there are numerous riding areas for these vehicles. The easy access and scenic drives of this national forest also make it a great destination for an RV trip.