Mike’s Hikes is a series of summer hikes throughout the Western Slope on public lands WSCC is actively working to protect. We offer hikes for all abilities and interests, with the goal of connecting our community to local public lands. We’re currently putting together a diverse and educational schedule for 2023. Check back soon for updates to sign up for our free hikes!
If the hike has an active link, we are accepting sign ups. Click the link for more info and to register.
We will be opening additional hikes for sign ups as the spring/summer unfolds.
April 8 – Solitude and Sunset in the Adobe Badlands Join us on the first Mike’s Hike of the year, and hopefully a jaw-dropping sunset, in the Adobe Badlands! The Adobe Badlands, located to the north and east of the city of Delta, provide a critical resource as a place for solitude and unconfined recreation, not to mention awe inspiring vistas and incredible sunsets. This hike will begin at 4pm and wrap up in time to watch the setting sun’s rays light up the picturesque Mancos shale slopes.
April 22 – Birds and Wildlife of Jumbo Mountain Local birding expert Bob Sapena and his son Dillon, a Wildlife Tech for CPW, will be leading this moderate 2.5 mile hike and birdwatching excursion. Jumbo Mountain in Paonia is far more than an easily accessible playground for hiking and mountain biking. It’s a critically important habitat for a variety of wildlife, including the vulnerable Pinyon Jay whose population levels have plummeted over 80% throughout their range since the 1960s. Join us on this outing to observe resident and migratory birds, and learn about the natural history of Pinyon Jays and how they and other birds and wildlife depend on Jumbo’s habitat for their survival.
May 6 – Archaeology of the Uncompahgre Plateau Join us on for an exploration of the Uncompahgre Plateau with Archaeologist John Zachman. We will be hiking along the eastern rim of Roubideau Canyon, on the border of the Camel Back Wilderness Study Area (WSA) and the potential nominated BLM Area of Critical Ecological Area (ACEC) land. John will be talking about the vast cultural history of the plateau and pointing out artifacts and rock art those cultures left behind.
May 21 – Geologic Overview of the North Fork Valley and Beyond Join us for a Mike’s Hike focused on the geology of the North Fork and beyond with geologist Peter McCarville. We’ll meet near Crawford and hike up to a hilltop that has a 360 degree view of the private and public lands that make up our region. Peter will discuss the geologic landscape and the finer details of the “big picture” story as they relate to the North Fork Valley. Given the wet winter/spring, we’re hoping to encounter lots of wildflowers too.
June 26 – McDonald Mesa Hike This moderately strenuous, 4-mile hike will explore McDonald Mesa, which is on the flanks of Lands End Peak bewteen Paonia and Crawford. WSCC has proposed that McDonald Mesa be designated an Area of Critical Environmental Concern by the BLM. ACEC designations highlight areas where special management attention is needed to protect important historical, cultural, and scenic values, or fish and wildlife or other natural resources. Join us on the hike to find out why it is deserving of this designation!
TBD (being rescheduled) – Wildfire Mitigation around Paonia Springs with USFS Join WSCC and staff from the Paonia Ranger District for a fieldtrip to the flanks of Mt. Lamborn where the USFS will be implementing prescribed burns over the next couple years as part of its Paonia Winter Wildlife Habitat Improvement Project. USFS personnel will be discussing project needs, treatments, and desired outcomes. We will be visiting past treatment areas to look at post-treatment conditions, and taking a short hike to two of the Town of Paonia springs to discuss protective measures.
July 23 – Coal Basin Methane Hike Are you interested in learning more about the impacts from methane leaks from abandoned coal mines in our area, and the innovative local projects attempting to capture and dispose of those emissions? If so, join us on this hike into the Coal Basin to the west of Redstone, CO, to see methane vents and the equipment used to measure methane emissions. This hike will be lead by Chris Caskey of Delta Brick and Climate Company. Chris is one of the lead scientists in the Coal Basin Methane Project.
July 29 – McClure Pass Hike with Wilderness Workshop Join WSCC and our partners Wilderness Workshop for a hike along the Raggeds Trail off of McClure Pass. Along the hike we will take in the stunning beauty of the Ragged Mountains and learn about the ongoing efforts to support an administrative mineral withdrawal of the Thompson Divide and how the community can engage with and support the withdrawal.
August 13 – Little Coal Creek Hike This nearby hike is a walk in the woods with unusual views of familiar landscapes. Starting from the Cottonwood Road access to Forest Service land northwest of Crawford, we’ll hike through an alpine valley adjacent to the West Elk Wilderness. This area has been proposed to be included in an expansion of the Wilderness area. Since the trail is on the back side of Lands End peak, it offers dramatic views into the Smith Fork basin including features like Needle Rock and Saddle Mountain.
August 26 – Mushroom Foray If you want to learn more about the mushrooms in our forests, and which ones are edible (and delicious!), you won’t want to miss this outing. This “hike” will be more of an easy, slow stroll near Overland Reservoir.
September 2 – Edible Plants of the Interocean Pass This is an all-time favorite Mike’s Hike! Participants will be introduced to the local flora that is in season in the beautiful montane forest and shrubland ecosystem below the Interocean Pass on the Crawford side.
September TBD – Timber Harvesting at Steven’s Gulch
September 25 – Munsey Ruby Stock Trail This moderate to strenuous hike starts at the Erickson Springs Trailhead and climbs above the Anthracite Creek to a beautiful vista after a 4-5 mile hike to a maximum elevation of 9,700 feet. We’ll return down the way we came, with some steep sections. We will be hiking through areas that are part of the Thompson Divide Withdrawal Plan (also included in the CORE Act Legislation that is working its way through Congress).
October 13 – Terror Trail POSSIBLE FINAL MIKE’S HIKE OF THE YEAR!! This easy hike starts at the Terror Creek trailhead in the Hubbard Park area up Stevens Gulch. It descends gently though meadows and eventually through aspens. There will be a shallow creek crossing, and after a mile or so we will return the way we came. Staff from the Paonia USFS office will be there to send us off with some great information to enhance our hike through the aspens. They’ve just completed their summer’s data gathering on the health of this trail’s aspens. The trail will have a staring elevation of 8,800 feet. In honor of the trail name and Halloween approaching…wear a costume if you’d like!
November 24 – Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area Join us on our finale of the 2023 Mike’s Hike season! The Colorado Canyons Association has organized this lovely hike has part of #OptOutside from REI! For the past 8 years, REI has closed their stores during Black Friday With little elevation gain, this 7 mile hike features stunning views of the Gunnison River between the Dominguez and Escalante Canyons, Grand Mesa, Adobe Badlands, Uncompaghre Plateau, and much more! We will also get to pass by an area that we are planning to nominate for Area Critical Ecological Concerns (ACEC) on the upcoming comment period on the upcoming BLM RMP (amended)! Sign up at this link!