Trail Exploration: Carbondale’s Red Hill Trail System
The Red Hill Trailhead is located adjacent to the town of Carbondale at the intersections of Colorado highways 82 and 133. The trailhead parking lot is directly above the Carbondale park and ride that occupies the lower half of the hill.
Once there, trail signs will direct you to the start of the trails just north of the parking lot. The first option, on the left, is Ruthies, a hiking only trail that offers the most direct route to the top. The other choice is Lower Three Gulch, passing the downhill bike trail B-Line.
A bit farther along is B-Line Spur, another bike-only trail that connects to B-Line. Shortly after B-Line Spur, the trail forks, with Three Gulch on the right and Blue Ribbon to the left. Both options go to the top, with Three Gulch ending farther up Blue Ribbon. Hikers heading up Blue Ribbon can also opt to take Mushroom Rock, which, paired with Ruthies, is the most direct route to the top (or back down).
The trails climb about 800 feet with a good mix of rocky terrain and soft red dirt. An hourish-long hike at Red Hill could be made in a number of ways, as a loop or out and back. The trail is a good option for decently experienced hikers, bikers and trail runners.
Not too far up Mushroom Rock trail, you’ll have the opportunity to see a beautiful overlook of the town of Carbondale, Mount Sopris and the rest of the valley bounded by the Roaring Fork and Crystal rivers. There is a large area cleared of trees that allows one to enjoy the view while taking a breather or having a quick snack.
On the backside of Blue Ribbon Trail, in the distance, one can see the White River National Forest as well as the billowing smoke from the recent Sylvan Fire.
I would recommend taking lots of water and wearing sunblock, as the red rocks tend to make the trail feel considerably warmer than the surrounding area.
This trail is good for anyone in the area who enjoys a moderate hike or mountain bike ride with a stop-worthy view at the top.
How to get there: From Glenwood Springs, head south on Colorado Highway 82 until you get to the Carbondale exit/intersection at Colorado Highway 133. Take a left turn onto County Road 107 and then a quick left into the Carbondale park and ride.The trail parking lot is above the park and ride and can be accessed via car ramp.
Length: 4ish-mile loop when taking Blue Ribbon or Three Gulch trails in one direction and Mushroom Rock in the other
Highlights: Views of Carbondale and Mount Sopris, soft red dirt
Help us highlight our trails
This is a weekly series on hikes and bike rides throughout Garfield County that are easily accessible and can be done in roughly an hour or less. Have a trail you think we should highlight? Email reporting intern Cody Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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