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Red Canyon Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
 3.5 (4) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

This 13 mile loop climbs Red Canyon with awesome views of the Paradox Valley and beyond.


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Map Key

13.8

Miles

22.2

KM

0%

Singletrack

7,100' 2,164 m

High

4,792' 1,461 m

Low

2,336' 712 m

Up

2,336' 712 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (4°)

22%

Max Grade (12°)

Dogs Off-leash

E-Bikes Allowed

Features -none-

This is rideable most of the year. Short hike a bike section at the end of the canyon. Some soft and sandy conditions exist along the trail. Interesting rock formations make this ride a visual treat. Plan on 4-5 hours for the full loop.

Overview

This is a great "short" ride if you are in the West End looking for a challenging yet fun outing. Easily accessible off the Unaweep-Tabeguache Scenic Byway, this ride is a visual treat as it heads up the canyon through large strata of Navaho and Entrada sandstone. The old two track gets rougher as it heads up the canyon through sage flats, juniper and pinion pines while old mines can be seen near the top of the canyon rim. Views of the San Juan and La Sal Mountains are evident from the view point high atop Carpenter Ridge overlooking the Paradox Valley.

Need to Know

All West End rides are on undeveloped public lands with wilderness characteristics. Most trails are unmarked and there are no facilities readily available.The towns of Naturita and Gateway provide the only services on Hwy 141 while Nucla boasts a small bike shop for limited parts and repairs.

Description

Utilizing a section of the 118 mile long Paradox Trail, the Red Canyon Loop is easily accessible from Hwy 141 about 30 miles south of Gateway. Look for the only bridge crossing the Dolores River off the highway. Park on the west side and follow the Paradox Trail signs as the two track climbs a bench meeting the mouth of Red Canyon less than two miles from the bridge. The two track gets rougher as it climbs the canyon but follows a bench on an easy gradient.

About 5 miles up, you'll encounter a steep and rocky hike a bike section that eventually becomes more rideable as it nears the canyon rim high above the Paradox Valley. Here you can turn this loop into an out and back or continue up the trail until you see a two track coming in from the right (north) at about mile six. Follow this road down for about a half mile where it intersects with CR Q13. This rough and wild road descends Carpenter Flats back to the bridge. Stay on the main track turning right at most intersections.

History & Background

Uranium has a long and colorful history here and is the major reason for the hundreds of miles of old two track trails in the area. The original road down Red Canyon was known as the Radium Trail for the uranium ore which was hauled out of the area mines to the mill town of Uravan.

Contacts

Shared By:

Paul Koski

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 4 votes

#3

in Paradox

#2890

Overall
  3.5 from 4 votes
5 Star
25%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
25%
Recommended Route Rankings

#3

in Paradox

#375

in Colorado

#2,890

Overall
28 Views Last Month
2,948 Since Jan 14, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Looking down Red Canyon with the Uncompaghre Plateau to the northeast.
Jan 3, 2015 near Gateway, CO
Red Canyon with Paul and JB
Feb 14, 2016 near Gateway, CO
Atop Carpenter Ridge high above the Paradox Valley.
Jan 3, 2015 near Gateway, CO
The Dolores River looking upstream above Biscuit Rock and Hwy 141
Jan 14, 2015 near Gateway, CO
At the Dolores River crossing off Hwy 141.
Jan 3, 2015 near Gateway, CO
The two track up Red Canyon
Jan 3, 2015 near Gateway, CO

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Mar 12, 2017
Glenn Sliva
Sandy and soft but rideable. The descent down 13R road is fast. You can use the 13R road as an up and down for a much easier scenic training ride. :)