ElevationAscent: 13,195' 4,022 m
Descent: -11,342' -3,457 m
High: 9,909' 3,020 m
Low: 4,788' 1,459 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 33% (18°)
Popular rides nearby
14.7 mi 23.6 km • Point to Point • 1,195 ft Ascent 364.3 m Ascent
Gateway Trails Tour
8.0 mi 12.9 km • Loop • 577 ft Ascent 175.89 m Ascent
9.0 mi 14.5 km • Loop • 1,216 ft Ascent 370.51 m Ascent
Bar M Loops
10.8 mi 17.5 km • Loop • 782 ft Ascent 238.35 m Ascent
7.9 mi 12.8 km • Loop • 289 ft Ascent 88.1 m Ascent
Klonzo - Lower Loop
3.3 mi 5.3 km • Loop • 350 ft Ascent 106.56 m Ascent
“This epic 118 mile trail spans the entire length of Western Montrose County in Colorado.”— Paul Koski
Electric Mountain Bikes Allowed
Features Commonly Bikepacked
Need to Know
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.