Trails at Ridgway State Park
Ridgway's trails - open year-round - are renowned for their beauty and traverse virtually all the eco-zones found in the park. Seven miles of trails connect the north and south ends of the park. About three miles of universally-accessible concrete trails and 11 miles of natural surface trails enable visitors to enjoy the scenery yet remain within easy distance of park facilities.
All three park areas (Pa-Co-Chu-Puk, Dallas Creek, and Dutch Charlie) provide some universally-accessible trails close to picnic areas and restrooms. Three of the park’s trails, including the Forest Discovery Nature Trail, are self-guided educational nature trails for visitors to learn more about the vegetation, wildlife and geology of this area.
During the winter months, come snowshoe or cross-country ski on any of the trails. Other times of year, bikers can use all trails except the Dallas Nature Creek Trail. Equestrian use is prohibited on gravel trails but allowed on road shoulders and through meadows. Pets on a six-foot leash are allowed on all park trails, but all pet waste must be carried out and disposed of properly. Park trails range from moderate walks to challenging hikes, so keep in mind that hiking at 7,000 feet can be a challenge. Wear sturdy hiking boots or snowshoes, carry adequate drinking water and rest immediately if you feel tired. During the colder months, dress warmly and be sensitive to hours of daylight, since the temperature can drop dramatically after sunset. Please check maps carefully and don't hesitate to contact the park staff with questions.
Our most popular trails include:
Mear’s Bay Trail:This is a roughly level universally-accessible one-mile concrete trail that winds along the shoreline of Mear’s Bay in the Dutch Charlie area. Waterfowl such as Western grebe, Canadian geese and great blue heron can be seen here during the more quiet hours of the day. Enjoy beautiful views of the San Juan Mountains reflected in the bay.
Marmot Run Trail:Located in the Dallas Creek Day Use area, this 1.8-mile universally-accessible trail runs along the east shore of the Uncompahgre River and the Ridgway Reservoir. The trail was named for the large number of marmots that live at its southern end, and connects the south end of Ridgway State Park to the town of Ridgway four miles away. It is a perfect trail to observe waterfowl and wildlife along the riverbanks and lakeshore and there are picnic sites and restrooms conveniently located along the way.
Enchanted Mesa Trail: This is the longest and most physically challenging trail in the park, but it is arguably the most beautiful. It runs along the western side of Enchanted Mesa, a beautiful flat top pasture that harbors Mule deer and elk. This 2.5-mile trail is the only non-motorized link between the Pa-Co-Chu-Puk area on the north side of the park and the Dutch Charlie area. The trail offers spectacular views of the Ridgway Reservoir as well as of the Sneffels and Cimarron ranges of the San Juan Mountains. Yuccas and cactus bloom along the trail in the spring. Trailheads exist on both the Pa-Co-Chu-Puk and Dutch Charlie (via Mear’s Bay Trail) sides of the trail as alternate access points to reduce the overall length of the trail.
Cookie Tree Trail: This steep, one-mile long trail was named for the Cookie Tree Ranch which was flooded by the creation of Ridgway Reservoir in 1989. The trail links the Dutch Charlie area of the park to the Dallas Creek Day Use area. Cookie Tree offers great views of the San Juan Mountains and of the Ridgway Reservoir. Given its dry southern exposure, this trail is also a good place to see prickly pear and claret cup cacti bloom in May and June. The trail connects to Marmot Run Trail in Dallas Creek and to Wapiti and Pinyon Park Trails in Dutch Charlie.