Elevation Gain: 10ft
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 38°12’44.09″N , 107°44’1.25″W
Maps: Ridgway Trail Map , RidgwayDutchCharlieMap, RidgwayPaCoChuPukMap
Park Website: Ridgway State Park
The Forest Discovery Nature Trail is located within Ridgway State Park. To access the park from Grand Junction Colorado you need to travel south on US-50 for approximately 60 miles until you reach Montrose. Once in Montrose US-50 turns into US-550 south. Continue straight through Montrose for another 22 miles or so until you come to Ridgway Reservoir. Take the second entrance which is the Dutch Charlie and Visitors Center entrance.
The trail itself is a self guided nature walk suitable for all ages. There are about twenty little “points of interest” along the trail that talks about everything from geology and history to birds and plants. You will need a guide sheet because each point is just marked with a number on a piece of wood. You can get a copy of the guide at the visitors center I’m sure or you can download and print out a copy here: ForestDiscoveryNatureTrailGuide
The trail starts at the visitors center and begins by traveling a short distance across a the edge of a small meadow. the first pretty neat thing you come across is a huge teepee. I think it’s generally only up during the summer months because I was up there towards fall and it was gone.
Once past the teepee the trail enters the trees and follows along the edge of the hill giving you some pretty nice views of the lake below. Be sure to keep an eye out for the numbered logs because they can be easy to miss.
The trail eventually circles around and offers up some good views of the Cimarron Mountains including Courthouse mountain and Chimney Rock. Many scenes from the John Wayne movie True Grit was filmed in those mountains.
Near the end the trail exits out of the trees and makes it way across the little meadow again and connects back with the beginning near the teepee.
This is a neat little trail that’s great for kids and is a good one to do to just keep moving.