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Gravel Biking in Gunnison, Colorado with Nick Gould

Follow professional gravel cyclist Nick Gould as he explores Hartman Rocks in Gunnison, Colorado. As Nick trains for the Gunni Grinder gravel bike race in September, he is sampling gravel rides around Colorado and especially in the Gunnison Valley. This video features a tour of the high desert trails just outside Gunnison in a recreation area called Hartman Rocks.


Watch gravel biking in Gunnison, Colorado with Nick Gould


Gravel biking at Hartman Rocks

Nick explores the vast network of gravel roads in Hartman Rocks Recreation Area, which is mostly BLM land. This area is classified as a high desert ecosystem that receives bountiful sunshine year-round. It usually is the first area in the Gunnison Valley to dry out in the springtime, and rides well through late fall. Lichen-spotted rock formations and sage forests cover the landscape. Roads are all unpaved here. The roads range from dusty and fairly flat to rocky and steep. Hartman’s has roads for beginner, intermediate and expert gravel bikers. As Nick mentions in the video, some of the singletrack trails at Hartman Rocks are gravel-bike friendly, too, including Lost Dog, Sea of Sage and Broken Shovel. No matter where you ride at Hartman’s, you’re surrounded by many ranges of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. The San Juans can be seen to the south, and the peaks of the West Elk Mountains are visible to the north. You’ll see Fossil Ridge and the Sawatch Range to the east.

Gravel biking at Hartman Rocks in Gunnison, Colorado

Gravel roads near Hartman Rocks

The area surrounding Hartman Rocks is also crisscrossed by a wide variety of roads that are perfect for a gravel bike. Highway 114, which is paved, winds through a canyon where you might spy bighorn sheep. Gold Basin Road, also paved, runs south from Gunnison through ranchlands and rocky ridges. There are even more roads to explore around Blue Mesa Reservoir, Curecanti National Recreation Area, and Gunnison National Forest north of Blue Mesa.


Who is Nick Gould?

Nick Gould is a fixture in the gravel biking world. He’s been racing for more than 20 years. This year he hopes to add another feather to his cap in the form of a win at the Gunni Grinder gravel race.


The Gunni Grinder

The Gunni Grinder is a gravel bike race held every September in Gunnison, Colorado. There are multiple mileage options, and the routes center around Hartman Rocks and the scenic roads south of the city of Gunnison.


Other gravel rides in the Gunnison Valley

Gunnison and Crested Butte have a wide variety of both gravel and paved roads to explore on your gravel bike. Check out this other gravel biking video of a stunning ride through Taylor Park and Almont. If you’re a beginner, try one of these easy gravel bike rides near Gunnison. Looking for a challenge? Explore the high-altitude dirt and paved roads around Crested Butte, including the roads over Schofield Pass and Paradise Divide. For even more ride ideas and tips, check out this Gunnison Valley gravel biking guide.


Gravel biking in Colorado

Colorado’s plentiful public lands make it a popular gravel biking destination. The two million acres of public lands surrounding Gunnison County make it a convenient base camp for a gravel biking trip. There are more than 1,000 miles of Forest Service roads in Gunnison County that are rideable on a gravel bike. And that’s not even counting BLM roads, county roads and state highways.


Two people ride mountain bikes at Hartman Rocks in spring.

What else is there to do at Hartman Rocks?

Hartman Rocks is a year-round outdoor playground! In spring, summer and fall, mountain bikers make the pilgrimage to Hartman’s to explore its technical cross-country trails. Dirt bikes and e-bikes are allowed on most trails. Trail runners and hikers are also a common sight. Hartman’s distinctive rock formations are perfect for climbing and bouldering. There are 50 designated dispersed campsites dotted throughout Hartmans. In winter, some roads are groomed for cross-country skiing. Several trails are also groomed for the unique new sport of fat biking.


What type of gravel bike should I ride at Hartman Rocks?

Almost any type of gravel bike can be ridden at Hartman Rocks. Rocks and sand are commonly encountered here, so wider tires are recommended.


When is a good time to gravel bike in Colorado?

The gravel biking season at Hartman Rocks is quite long. Usually Hartman’s thaws out in April. With tacky dirt and blooming wildflowers, this is a favorite time to ride here for many. With daytime highs rarely exceeding 90 degrees, Gunnison is a great place to beat the heat in June, July and August. Gunnison receives significantly less snowfall than Crested Butte and other mountain towns around Colorado, so the trails and roads at Hartman Rocks often remain rideable until late fall.


What is Gunnison, Colorado like?

Gunnison is a small city on the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains. It’s located between Salida and Montrose on Highway 50. Gunnison, a former ranching town, is now a hub of outdoor recreation, higher education and entrepreneurship. Western Colorado University, a small public university, is located on the east side of town. The ICELab, located on Western’s campus, is the hub of the quickly growing business community in Gunnison. Hiking, fishing, rafting and mountain biking are enjoyed by visitors and locals alike. Gunnison is located just 28 miles south of Crested Butte on Highway 135. It’s an easy 40-minute drive to all of Crested Butte’s outdoor amenities, including skiing at Crested Butte Mountain Resort.


Mountain biking in Gunnison

Signal Peak is another popular gravel and mountain biking trail system near Gunnison. Located just east of town and next door to Western Colorado University, it’s easy to get to. Whether you ride on roads or trails, you’ll gain panoramic views of the city of Gunnison and the surrounding mountain ranges.


E-biking in Gunnison

E-biking is another way to explore the Gunnison Valley via bike. Electric bicycles range from road cruisers to high-performance trail bikes. Rent one from a local bike shop, or bring your own. Please be aware that e-bikes are not allowed on every trail that a mountain bike is. This e-biking guide explains where to ride.


Flowers and store fronts in downtown Gunnison, Colorado in summer.

Planning your trip

Now that you’ve learned about the awesome gravel biking at Hartman Rocks, it’s time to plan a gravel bike trip to Gunnison. Make hotel reservations, book a flight and research local restaurants all through this Gunnison Valley trip planning guide.

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