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Early info Gathering- Gunnison, CO Area

 
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2rocky



Joined: 10 May 2010
Posts: 71
Location: Northern California

PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 4:04 am    Post subject: Early info Gathering- Gunnison, CO Area Reply with quote

My research has lead me to looking at the Gunnison Area like the West Elk Wilderness and Fossil Ceek Recreation area. Anybody got Boots-on-the-ground info on trailheads, and places worth checking out around the region? How about Fairgrounds overnight accommodations for the Horses?
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mo qh trail rider



Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 560
Location: SW Missouri

PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 6:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Horse Ranch Park near Crested Butte is a GREAT place to camp, with a lot of trails. From there, you can ride into the West Elk Wilderness and also into the Raggeds Wilderness. We have been there twice and loved it!

We have also ridden at Silver Jack, which is west and south of Gunnison. There aren't as many trails from there, but it is still a good place to spend a few days. The trails from there go into the Uncompahgre Wilderness.

Both places have dispersed camping.

There is a big rodeo in Gunnison in July, so you might be able to overnight there at other times. We have never tried to do that.
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Elaine
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FtValleyPS



Joined: 05 Feb 2009
Posts: 164
Location: Southwest CO

PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like Elaine, we sure like the West Elks and Silver Jack country, neat places. You might try searching here in the forum and find some more detailed information about the areas; I think we were discussing Silver Jack here not too long ago.

We've been around the Gunnison area quite a bit, have relatives there, have enjoyed it a lot. The Taylor River area is sure nice, we've stayed at Harmel's Guest Ranch a bunch of times, and depending on their mood, they'll sometimes let you keep your animals there if you rent a cabin; they have a pretty fair sized facility right at the junction of the Taylor River and Spring Creek with cabins, restaurant, great fishing and a herd of about 75 horses for the dude string, which is why they are not crazy about people bringing their own horses, but will usually be OK with it; you'd have to set up a portable corral or electric fence. There's a ranch just about a mile west of Harmel's along the county road toward Almont (Almont's at the junction of Taylor River and East River - the start of the Gunnison River) that I understand will board your horses; their barns are on the south side of the road, the ranch house is on the north side, near the cutoff road to Crested Butte. We haven't kept our animals there, but the guy who used to run the dude string at Harmel's, Jim Greer, said a number of folks have kept their animals there. Harmel's may have better information on that.

We've ridden into the Fossil Ridge Recreation area (is that what you meant?) from the Harmel area, and where the Taylor River is kind of the northern boundary of that area. It's really nice in there once you get away from the few roads that are there, is a great hunting area, too. Also, there's nice riding and backcountry stuff southward into Fossil Ridge and other areas from several trailheads (Otter Creek and Henry's Creek, for example) along the road from Harmel's up to Taylor Park Reservoir - this road runs east and west from Almont through Harmel's to Taylor Park Reservoir. My Dad was in the CCC's in this area, we spent a lot of time there when I was a kid, my sister has a place in Gunnison, so it's sort of a special area for me.

And then there's the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness from the Taylor Park Reservoir and other parts of the area. There aren't a bunch of trails into this wilderness area due to the ruggedness, but the trails that are there sure are nice. You can also get to this wilderness area from the Buena Vista side of the mountains.

Over east of Gunnison along Highway 50 is a place I can't recall the name of that overnights horses near Pitkin, I've heard it's nice. It's near the junction of Hwy 50 and the road that goes up to Tincup, as I recall. I'll research that, get the name of that ranch again.

And man, this is all great fishing country, too!
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bob



Joined: 27 Jan 2008
Posts: 82
Location: E Central Missouri

PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Coming from CA, you might want to take a look at this site.

http://www.horsetraildirectory.com/Feb03_Select_one_trail_detail.asp?ID=1314&Location_Name=Horse%20Prairie%20Pack%20Station-Continental%20Divide%20Trl


We will be there the first 3 weeks of July this year.
We have ridden the Gallatin range, just to the east of this camp, and have heard lots of good things about the riding just to the west of this camp.
1000 miles of trails from camp sounds very good.
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saddlesore



Joined: 26 Jan 2012
Posts: 90

PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hunt the area quite a bit.

You can probably let the horse stay a night at the fairgrounds on the east side of Gunnison,but I'm not sure. On the west side of Gunniosn,there is NAPA/feed store that carries Certifide hay( at least in hunting season)

970-641-2900

If you go north out of Gunnison, take the Ohio Creek road off to the left.Go about 22 miles north of Gunnison to the Swampy Pass trail head.

You can stop before that and go into the Mill Creek Trail head, but Swampy has a new toilet and 4 corrals and good gravel parking lot.There is a good stream close by for livestock water and back down the road is a developed spring that has been tested and is good drinking water. You can see a white PVC pipe sticky out at it.

A mile or so before the trail head, the road Y's and you take the left hand Y.

At the trail head, the trail starts on the opposite side of the road and goes up across the hill . Follow it and you will come to the Wilderness boundary sign at about a mile or so. The trail splits and if you take the left you go up Little Pass Creek trail and to the Castles, a unique rock formation. From there you can go up over Castle Pass, or before that , turn left at Castle Creek left and you can go SW and up over Storm Mt pass.

If you do not turn left at the wilderness sign, you keep going on Swampy Pass trail. Another mile or so there will be another sign that says Pass Creek, off to theleft but don't take it, continue on.

This trail flows west along the south side of the Anthracite range 5-6 miles and you intersect with a trail from Beckwith Pass after you go over Swampy Pass. Turn left ( it's actually more of a Y ) and you kinda double back a bit from where you just came from. You are going south now. I think that Beckwith Pass trail comes down from Horse Park Ranch,but I'mnotsure.

This trail leads you back to the Pass Creek Trail that turns in to the Castle Pass trail.It is about 5 miles across and about 1/2 way is a nice good sized lake.

You will end up kinda below the Castels and you don't want to cross the North Castle Creek but turn left and find the trail that comes up from Pass Creek. This will be in a large meadow with a good size stream flowing thru it. ( North Castle Creek). That will take you back down to the trail head.This is about a 15 mile loop.

View of the Anthracite Range on the drive in along Ohio Creek Road.



The Castles from on top the hill at the parking area. If you go on the left side of the Castles, you go up over Storm Mt pass ( a rugged trail.) To the right and you will go up over Castle Pass.



The parking area.



The Castles from along the Anthracite Range ramparts.



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LOVEDUFFY



Joined: 04 Apr 2008
Posts: 452
Location: new york

PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

very nice pictures
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Lady Luck



Joined: 15 May 2008
Posts: 621
Location: Mo

PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great pix! We have rode the horse ranch park area and Rainbow lake. Would like to try the castles. Thanks for pix and great info. Ready for riding season and glad we are all starting to think about it. Keep the great pix and info coming! Very Happy
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Have horses, will trail ride!
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mulegal



Joined: 21 Mar 2012
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:43 am    Post subject: Gunnison area Reply with quote

Great info Saddlesore. So is there enough riding here for say, a week? Enough parking for 4 rigs? What a great forum this is!
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mo qh trail rider



Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 560
Location: SW Missouri

PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mulegal, there are several trails out of Horse Ranch Park and you could definitely ride a week there. It is a short ride from Horse Ranch Park to Beckwith Pass TH. The view from there is one of the prettiest that I have ever seen.

Saddlesore, we have seen The Castles off in the distance, from the Beckwith Pass Trail. Last fall, David and I took a road trip to CO and drove over Ohio Creek Road from Gunnison. This is a very pretty drive to view the aspens in the fall. If you stay on that road and drive past Swampy Pass TH, you will end up on Kebler Pass Road, which will take you to Horse Ranch Park. I don't really think you would want to take a trailer of any size from Swampy Pass TH to Kebler Pass Road, though. Kebler Pass road from Crested Butte to Horse Ranch Park is a very good road and a lot of it is paved now. It is a very easy pass to drive over.

Here is a link to my post and pictures from our last trip to Silver Jack and Horse Ranch Park in July '09: http://fourcornerstrails.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=485&highlight=horse+ranch+park
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Elaine
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mulegal



Joined: 21 Mar 2012
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2012 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Mo Qh, Also researching accessing West Elk from the south, Soap Creek Trailhead. Some corrals and potable water 1/2 mile away . Anyone ridden into West Elk from here? I'm liking Horse Ranch by the reading and pics...a friend is leaning toward Soap Creek. Just doesn't look like as many trail options to me. Anyone ride this more south western area?
sal
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saddlesore



Joined: 26 Jan 2012
Posts: 90

PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have never ridden the Soap Basin area, except for once when we went from Mill Creel TH on the east side, over 3 pass and dropped into that area. About 27 miles I recon. Took us two days to get back.
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saddlesore



Joined: 26 Jan 2012
Posts: 90

PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moer than enough room for 4+ rigs at the Swampy Pass TH, and depnding how far you want to ride, more than enough trails for a weeks riding.
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mulegal



Joined: 21 Mar 2012
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2012 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks much Saddlesore. All this info makes trip planning so much easier...and much more fun too!
sal
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