|Location||Montrose County, Colorado|
|Trailheads|| Kokopelli Trail, Colorado;|
Tabeguache Trail, Colorado Nucla, CO.
|Use||Mountain Biking and hiking|
|Elevation change||9,500 – 4,800 ft.|
|Highest point||Uncompahgre Plateau, 9,500 ft (2,900 m)|
|Lowest point||Dolores River 4,800 ft (1,500 m)|
|Season||Early spring to late fall|
|Sights||High desert environments with broad cliff faces, deep arroyos and riparian habitats.|
|Hazards||wilderness characteristics — carry water, food, map and GPS.|
The Paradox Trail is located in western Montrose County, Colorado and traverses a route of over 118 miles (190 km) through various terrain. The trail was rerouted 17 miles due to a trespass issue near the Tabeguache area north of Nucla in 2017. The trail links with two other long distant trails in the region, the Tabeguache Trail to the east on the Uncompahgre Plateau and the Kokopelli Trail to the west in the La Sal Mountains of Utah. These three trails together form the "Grand Loop", a grueling 360 mile course.
Montrose County is one of the 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 41,276. The county seat is Montrose, for which the county is named.
The Uncompahgre Plateau in western Colorado is a distinctive large uplift part of the Colorado Plateau. Uncompahgre is a Ute Indian word that describes the water: "Dirty Water" or "Rocks that make Water Red".
The Kokopelli's Trail is a 142-mile (229 km) multi-use trail in the Western U.S. states of Colorado and Utah. The trail was named in honor of its mythic muse, Kokopelli. The trail was created by the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association (COPMOBA) in cooperation with the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the United States Forest Service (NFS) in 1989.
The 118-mile (190 km) trail was established in 1995 by the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association, Montrose West Recreation, the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Funding for the reroute came from the Telluride Foundation, the Colorado Historical Society, Montrose County and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Trails Grant fund for the 17 mile reroute project bringing the Paradox Trail within a quarter of a mile to the Town of Nucla. .
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior responsible for administering public lands. With oversight over 247.3 million acres (1,001,000 km2), it governs one eighth of the country's landmass. President Harry S. Truman created the BLM in 1946 by combining two existing agencies: the General Land Office and the Grazing Service. The agency manages the federal government's nearly 700 million acres (2,800,000 km2) of subsurface mineral estate located beneath federal, state and private lands severed from their surface rights by the Homestead Act of 1862. Most BLM public lands are located in these 12 western states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
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Most of the trail is a two-track path that ranges from altitudes of 9,500 feet (2,900 m) on the Uncompahgre Plateau to the lower elevations of 4,800 ft (1,500 m) along the Dolores River. Some areas qualify as single track because of the trail width and there are a least five "hike-a-bike" sections to be negotiated. While there are trail sections that utilize some seasonally graded county roads, much of the Paradox Trail is inaccessible to motorized vehicles although vehicle access points exist at many places. Wildlife such as elk, mountain lions, coyotes and rattlesnakes abound throughout the trail.
The Dolores River is a tributary of the Colorado River, approximately 241 miles (388 km) long, in the U.S. states of Colorado and Utah. The river drains a rugged and arid region of the Colorado Plateau west of the San Juan Mountains. Its name derives from the Spanish El Rio de Nuestra Señora de Dolores, River of Our Lady of Sorrows. The river was explored and possibly named by Juan Maria Antonio Rivera during a 1765 expedition from Santa Fe.
A county highway is a road in the United States and in the Canadian province of Ontario that is designated and/or maintained by the county highway department. Route numbering can be determined by each county alone, by mutual agreement among counties, or by a statewide pattern.
San Miguel County is one of the 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 7,359. The county seat is Telluride. The county is named for the San Miguel River.
Mesa County is one of the 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 146,723. The county seat is Grand Junction. The county was named for the many large mesas in the area, including Grand Mesa.
Gunnison County is the fifth-most extensive of the 64 counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 15,324. The county seat is Gunnison. The county was named for John W. Gunnison, a United States Army officer and captain in the Army Topographical Engineers, who surveyed for the transcontinental railroad in 1853.
Montrose is the Home Rule Municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Montrose County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 19,132 at the 2010 United States Census. The main road that leads in and out of Montrose is U.S. Highway 50. The town is located in cardinal-western Colorado, in the upper Uncompahgre Valley and is an economic, labor, and transportation waypoint for the surrounding recreation industry. Demographically, the town is majority white, with a large Hispanic population. It is also the home of a few major engineering projects, namely the Gunnison Tunnel.
Nucla is a Statutory Town in Montrose County, Colorado, United States. The population was 734 at the 2000 census. Its name comes from the town's founders intent that it serve as a "nucleus" for the surrounding farms and mines, although it has since come to be associated with the growth of uranium mining in the region.
Ridgway, coined Gateway to the San Juans, is a Home Rule Municipality in Ouray County, in the southwestern portion of the U.S. State of Colorado. The town is a former railroad stop on the Uncompaghre River in the northern San Juan Mountains. The town population was 713 at the 2000 census and 924 according to the 2010 census.
The San Miguel River is a tributary of the Dolores River, approximately 81 miles (130 km) long, in southwestern Colorado in the United States. It rises in the San Juan Mountains southeast of Telluride and flows northwest, along the southern slope of the Uncompahgre Plateau, past the towns of Placerville and Nucla and joins the Dolores in western Montrose County approximately 15 miles (24 km) east of the state line with Utah.
Uravan is an abandoned uranium mining town in western Montrose County, Colorado, United States, that is now a Superfund site. The town was a company town established by U. S. Vanadium Corporation in 1936 to extract the rich vanadium ore in the region. As a byproduct of vanadium extraction, small amounts of uranium were also produced, at the time mostly used as a yellow pigment.
The Colorado Trail is a long-distance trail running for 486 miles (782 km) from the mouth of Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver to Durango in Colorado, United States. Its highest point is 13,271 feet (4,045 m) above sea level, and most of the trail is above 10,000 feet (3,000 m). Despite its high elevation, the trail often dips below the alpine timberline to provide refuge from the exposed, storm-prone regions above.
Uncompahgre Peak is the sixth highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The prominent 14,321-foot (4365.0 m) fourteener is the highest summit of the San Juan Mountains and the highest point in the drainage basin of the Colorado River and the Gulf of California. It is located in the Uncompahgre Wilderness in the northern San Juans, in northern Hinsdale County approximately 7 miles (11 km) west of the town of Lake City.
Uncompahgre National Forest is a U.S. National Forest covering 955,229 acres in parts of Montrose, Mesa, San Miguel, Ouray, Gunnison, Hinsdale, San Juan, and Delta Counties in western Colorado. Only its headquarters is in Delta County, in the city of Delta. It borders the San Juan National Forest to the south.
Unaweep Canyon is a geologically unique canyon that cuts across the Uncompahgre Plateau, Mesa County, in western Colorado. It is unique because two creeks, East Creek and West Creek, flow out of opposite ends of the canyon, separated by the almost imperceptible Unaweep Divide. State Highway 141 runs inside Unaweep Canyon between Whitewater and Gateway, one segment of the Colorado-designated Unaweep/Tabeguache Scenic Byway. The Unaweep Divide, elevation 7,008 ft (2,136 m), is near mile marker 135 on SH 141.
The Uncompahgre Wilderness is a U.S. Wilderness Area in southwest Colorado comprising 102,721 acres (415.70 km2). Elevation in the Wilderness ranges from 8,400 feet (2,600 m) to 14,309 feet (4,361 m), at the summit of Uncompahgre Peak.
The Columbia Plateau Trail is a 130-mile-long (210 km), 20-foot-wide (6.1 m) corridor in eastern Washington state maintained as part of the Washington State Park system. The trail runs along the abandoned right-of-way of the former Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway from Cheney to the confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers at Pasco, Washington, passing through five counties in the southeastern part of the state. The trail's recreational uses include hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, in-line skating on paved portions, and wildlife viewing.