MTB Project Logo

Paradox Trail

Difficult
 5.0 (3)

This epic 118 mile trail spans the entire length of Western Montrose County in Colorado.


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

124.3

Miles

200.0

KM

Doubletrack

9,909' 3,020 m

High

4,788' 1,459 m

Low

13,195' 4,022 m

Up

11,342' 3,457 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

33%

Max Grade (18°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Allowed

Features Commonly Bikepacked

The Paradox Trail lies entirely on BLM and Forest Service Public Lands. Fire restrictions apply when in effect. Trail may not be marked in all areas so use of a map and the MTB Project MTB Project mobile app is strongly recommended. Treat all water in drainages before use and leave gates the way your find them.

Need to Know

Fun descent off Pinto Mesa into Coal Canyon. New singletrack trails east and north of Nucla.

Description

Established in 1995, the Paradox Trail was a collaborative effort between COPMOBA, Montrose West Recreation, the BLM and USFS. Although it lies entirely on various doubletrack surfaces, the trail boasts at least five hike a bike sections that demand a dismount. The terrain of Western Montrose County is laced with massive cliffs, deep drainages and dry arroyos plus views of the La Sal Mountains to the west and the San Juans to the southeast.

Years of mineral exploration and ranching have created hundreds of miles of roads and trails on one the largest tracts of publicly controlled lands in Colorado. There are five large tracts in the region which are administered as Wilderness. The Paradox Trail uses many of those old lost roads to traverse the entire length of Western Montrose County in a not so straight 118 mile long course.

Connecting the Tabeguache Trail on the Uncompahghre Plateau at 9,900 feet, the Paradox creates the southern leg of the Grand Loop (GL) as it joins with the Kokopelli Trail in the La Sal Mountains at over 8,000 feet elevation. The trail is marked with brown carsonite posts bearing the Paradox Trail sign at key intersections and regularly along the route.

Riding the entire length of the Paradox Trail is challenging and takes some planning. There are many access points for sag vehicles and many great places to camp, most with water. Undeveloped camp sites exist on Pinto Mesa, Tabeguache Creek, Mesa Creek, Dolores River and a USFS camp at Buckeye Reservoir. The small town of Nucla is the only supply source on the trail where you can get food and limited bike parts. Most GL riders will take three days to traverse the Paradox. Carry a map, GPS, the MTB Project MTB Project mobile app and plenty of water in this high desert environment.

This is wilderness riding, and riders need to be personally responsible. Bear and elk sightings are not uncommon and the sound of coyotes is never far. Mountain lions are also common here, so use extra caution on the trail. Wear blaze orange during rifle season.

Contacts

Shared By:

Paul Koski

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 3 votes

#1053

Overall
  5.0 from 3 votes
5 Star
100%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#112

in Utah

#1,053

Overall
155 Views Last Month
18,049 Since Jan 2, 2015
Difficult

0%
0%
0%
0%
100%
0%

Photos

Looking up Red Canyon from the mid way up.
Jan 7, 2022 near Paradox, CO
The entrance to the Nucla Range Loops off the Paradox Trail near the trailhead parking area.
Dec 27, 2021 near Norwood, CO
Looking down Red Canyon with the Uncompaghre Plateau to the northeast.
Jan 3, 2015 near Gateway, CO
Checking out the new Paradox Trail singletrack.
Jan 8, 2022 near Nucla, CO
Upper Spring Creek mesa from the Paradox Trail
Jan 3, 2015 near Gateway, CO
Pinto Mesa looking west towards the LaSal Mountains in Utah.
Jan 10, 2022 near Nucla, CO

0 Comments

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Unknown See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

none