Hike With Us!

Mike’s Hikes

Mike’s Hikes is a series of year-round hikes throughout the Western Slope’s public lands that 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 2024. Check back regularly for updates and to sign up for our free hikes!

Check out our exciting schedule for 2024!

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 year unfolds.

June 27th – Winter Wildlife Habitat Project with the USFS Join WSCC and the USFS to visit a portion of the Paonia Winter Wildlife Habitat Improvement project that the Forest Service will be implementing in the next couple of years. We will be discussing project needs, treatments, and desired outcomes from the project. We will be visiting past treatment areas to look at post-treatment conditions. In addition, we will visit some of the town’s water infrastructure, springs, and infiltration galleries to discuss how we will protect those areas during implementation of the project and reduce fuels available for wildfire. Two 4WD/high clearance vehicles are needed to make this Hike happen!! Sign up here!!

June 8th – Birding along Hubbard Creek Join us for an easy 2-3 mile birding hike! For bird viewing our Hike leaders, Bob Sapena and Tim Shortell, will lead us mainly along the dirt road with a few possible spots to wander off in different directions. On a recent outing, 32 species were spotted! This birding area is ideal due to the mix of habitats: scrub oak, pinyon and juniper trees, open meadows, riparian areas including beaver ponds (now breached), taller Douglas fir and cottonwoods, and cliffs.

May 26th – Geology of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park: An “Old but Young feature” or “Deep, Steep, and Narrow”. Big enough to be overwhelming, still intimate enough to feel the pulse of time, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park exposes you to some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock, and craggiest spires in North America. With two million years to work, the Gunnison River, along with the forces of weathering, has sculpted this vertical wilderness of rock, water, and sky. If you have never been or if you are a regular, this scheduled hike to Exclamation Point at a locally treasured National Park awaits you. Along the way geologist, Peter McCarville, will entertain you with this “old but young” feature called the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Hike from the North Rim visitor center to Exclamation point is 3 miles round trip with and additional hike to the top of Green Mountain if interest, time and weather permit.

May 24th – Geology in the Gunnison Gorge For those who were unable to sign-up for the 5/26 Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park hike, here’s another opportunity to view the geological layers of the Gunnison Gorge. Join us in the area that is adjacent to the Gunnison Gorge  Wilderness, and within the Gunnison River National Conservation Area. The Hike will be led by Missy Rogers. Missy was the Artist in Residence for the Gunnison Gorge and as been hired to do plant and animal surveys. If a biologist isn’t available I’ve volunteered my naturalist interests to stand in. Missy has worked with CDOW and the BLM (surveying Mexican Spotted Owls, River Otters, the Uncompahgre Frillitary) and has been involved with monitoring treatments for the BLM from Crawford, Paradox, Norwood to Cimmarron.

April 20th – Sunset at Elephant Hill Join us for a 2.5 to 3 mile moderately strenuous hike to the top of Elephant Hill. Some sections of this hike are steep. Find out why WSCC is working to add protections to this area as an ACEC (Area of Critical Environmental Concern). Enjoy spectacular views, solitude and sunset in this very special area. We will look for signs of spring, identifying plant life and birds along the way.

March 2nd – What the Duck? Want to know what all the quack is about? Do you want to see some migratory waterfowl? Join us on March 2nd as we journey to Confluence Park or Sweitzer Lake State Park to see if we can spot some cool waterfowl! Location will be determined a day or two before the hike based on what has been spotted at each location. Newest volunteer leader and waterfowl enthusiast, Anthony Signorino, will be leading the hike.

February 10 – Adobe Badlands Join us on the second Mike’s Hike of the year! The Adobe Badlands WSA and WSA Adjacent LWC unit provides a critical resource as a place for solitude and unconfined recreation, not to mention awe inspiring vistas and incredible sunsets. This area is also home to the Colorado Hookless Cactus, a threatened cactus species that only grows in a small area between Grand Junction and Delta. We will be on the lookout for those. The greater Adobe Badlands are a rare and vulnerable environment. In fact, WSCC is nominating the adjacent lands north of our hike as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACED) in the BLM’s Amended Regional Management Plan due to these environmental factors. The Colorado Natural Heritage Program considers salt desert shrub lands in the area to be globally vulnerable and locally imperiled. Additionally, this region provides essential habitat linkage between the high elevations of Grand Mesa, the canyons of Dominguez Escalante National Conservation Area, and the high country of the Uncompahgre Plateau.

January 21 – Elephant Hill  Join us on the first Mike’s Hike of the year! Hikers will enjoy views of Jumbo Mountain, Lone Cabin Road, Mt. Gunnison, the Raggeds. and Paonia. It will be on BLM land, adjacent to Hidden Valley residential subdivision, and is part of a proposed Area of Critical Concern (ACEC). The BLM set up this category of protection and WSCC would like people to see and appreciate this area’s special character. Does anyone know about the name of this area? Do you want to see evidence of the last two periods of glaciation? Curious about this often overlooked community treasure? Please sign up and help us enjoy the outing!

Explore our past hikes on COTrex

This mapping database lets you see where Mike's Hikes have taken us in the Gunnison Watershed