“This trail is 140+ miles long connecting Montrose and Grand Junction via the Uncompahgre Plateau.”
— Bill Harris
eMTB allowed · Commonly Bikepacked
Winter conditions November through March.
The Tabeguache Trail was developed in 1990 on the heels of the opening of its sister trail, The Kokopelli Trail. Ten miles of singletrack were built to connect existing trails and roads to create a continuous route between the 2 towns. The Lunch Loops system and Dry Creek system anchor the trail at each end. Elevations range between 4,600 and 9,700 ft over 4 major eco-zones. Scenically outstanding.
Need to Know
Travels across rugged, isolated backcountry. Cell service is spotty. Backcountry rules apply.
No potable water available. The Nat. Geo. #146 and 147 are accurate and very helpful.
Dry Creek Section - This section follows the Rim Road before dropping into Dry Creek Canyon. Descend and cross Dry Creek on the Ralph Files bridge. The route then follows a two track and climbs steep segments as the trail narrows to ATV-width. Once on Cushman Mesa, follow two track to intersection at mile 8. Turn left and follow two track up to the USFS/BLM shared boundary at mile 11.7. The trail soon narrows to singletrack as it crosses Cushman Creek. At mile 12.6, the singletrack merges with another two track. Turn right and follow two track until connecting with the Transfer Road.
Transfer Road Section - This section begins from the junction with Transfer Rd. Turn left (south) and continue along a gravel road. Along this section there are a number of scenic vistas of the West Elk Mts., Grand Mesa, Roubideau Canyon and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison to the north and northeast. Continue to climb on Transfer Rd. until reaching powerlines.
Pool Creek Section - This section travels through dense alpine forest with a few aspen groves and open meadows. Turn right onto an ATV trail that parallels the powerline. At mile 0.8, turn right onto a singletrack. The trail crosses one big drainage. At mile 5, the trail reaches the Pool Creek Trailhead into Roubideau Canyon. Continue straight on the ATV trail until reaching the E. Bull Rd. at mile 7.3. In recent months, the Forest Service has changed the name of the singletrack segment of the Pool Creek section to Grays Creek Trail.
Roubideau Trail Section - This section follows an old stock driveway used to herd cattle to market. Over the course of the segment, riders end up crossing 15 drainages. The route is a combination of 2-track, ATV and singletrack trails. This section is notorious for its technical riding challenges. There may be some hike-a-bike sections encountered. Route-finding is also a challenge due to a maze of old roads, logging ways and trail sign vandalism. The wild, backcountry nature of this ride makes all the challenges worthwhile if riders are prepared for rugged conditions. Many riders set on doing the whole Tabeguache Trail non-stop have been foiled in their attempt by the challenges of this section. Be prepared to encounter turkey, deer and elk, maybe even a black bear or mountain lion. It's advisable to carry bear repellent spray. In recent years the Parallel Trail has been extended from E. Bull Rd. to Monitor Mesa Rd., paralleling the Divide Rd. This is a more straight-forward route that bypasses this section by way of the Delta/Nucla Rd. reconnecting to the Cottonwood Rd. section.
Cottonwood Road Section - This section is fairly straight forward. Take a left off of the Delta/Nucla Rd. onto the Cottonwood Rd (FSR 504). Ride until it meets the Cabin Bench Rd (FSR 501). Turn left to follow Cabin Bench Rd. The road crosses the East Fork of Escalante Creek before reaching Love Mesa Rd (FSR 500). Turn left and follow 2 track up Love Mesa, over the crest of the Uncompahgre Plateau to meet Divide Road. Panoramic views open up once riders reach Love Mesa.
Central Divide Road Section - This section of the Tabeguache Trail is very straight forward, following the graveled Divide Road. Very scenic especially during fall colors.
Dominguez Trail Section - This section begins at the Divide Rd/Dominguez Trail intersection. The two-track descends into the Dominguez Creek drainage - very scenic. The section ends when the Dominguez campground is reached.
Cactus Park Section - From the campground follow road up and out of Dominguez Canyon. Follow a series of marked two tracks that skirt Horse Mountain and drop into Cactus Park. At mile 15, cross a cattleguard and turn right toward a low rim. At the rim, bear left and follow the rim until reaching microwave tower. Descend along the old Nine-Mile Hill Road to highway 141.
Grand Valley Section - refer to Tabeguache Trail - Grand Valley Section.
History & Background
The Uncompahgre Plateau was the home of the Tabeguache Ute band before their removal. Tabeguache means "place where the snow melts first" in the Numic tongue. It is ranching country now.