5 Ways to Enjoy a Taylor Park Vacation this Summer!

Taylor Park might very well be one of the prettiest places in all of Colorado. A veritable outdoor playground containing a beautiful reservoir hemmed in on every direction by huge mountains. This massive area spreads out in all directions, and stretches from the town of Almont on Hwy. 135 up the river canyon to the large open area of Taylor Park. From there it continues along the upper reaches of the river all the way up to Taylor Pass just above Aspen. To reach it you’ll either need to come up the Taylor River canyon, or drive one of the mountain passes into the Park from Aspen, St. Elmo, Buena Vista, or Pitkin.

camping in taylor park taylor reservoir

Soaking in a Taylor Park sunset

The most used and easiest of these mountain passes is Cottonwood Pass from Buena Vista. Currently (2017) this road is closed while the Gunnison County side is straightened and paved. It should be back open no later than Summer 2019. You can get the latest updates on openings on our Getting Here page.  With the exception of Cumberland Pass from Pitkin, the rest of the passes are high-clearance 4×4 roads.

If a trip to Taylor Park, the Taylor Reservoir, or Taylor Canyon are on your tick list this year, here are five ways to get the most out of your vacation.

1. Rent a Cabin or Camp

camping in taylor parkThere’s nothing quite like rolling out of bed in the morning and opening your eyes to a fantastic sunrise. Since Taylor Park itself is so flat and open (that’s what a park describes in Colorado) it’s easy to find a place to take in both the sunrises and sunsets without having to leave your RV or cabin. For cabins in Taylor Park and Taylor Canyon you can check out our partner pages to search through lodging. Places like 3 Rivers, The Almont Resort, and Harmel’s are down in the canyon. The Taylor Park Trading Post and the small town of Tincup are your best bet for cabins in the upper park.

Camping is limited to designated campgrounds in the Taylor area. These campgrounds range from public to private, and primitive to full-hookups. Most of them, especially in the canyon and above the reservoir have great fishing access to the river.

day use areas and campgrounds gunnison crested butte taylor parkClick for Larger Image

2. Go Off-Road

One of the most popular ways to enjoy Taylor Park is by ATV,  OHV, or Jeep. Remnants of the mining boom in the late 1800’s has left much of the area crisscrossed with jeep roads and motorized singletrack. Many riders coming for the week can log well over 1000 miles just in the Taylor Park area alone. Not to mention that drives and rides exist all the way into Aspen via Taylor Pass and Richmond Ridge, and into the Arkansas Valley near St. Elmo and Mt. Antero.

tincup pass toyota pickup taylor park

Top of Tincup Pass

The Forest Service puts out a map of Taylor Park ATV trails that shows connections and usage for the entire valley.  For those wanting to go paperless, CBGTrails is the Gunnison Valley’s source for trails. This app is available free for Iphone and Android users and can be downloaded by searching CBGTrails in either app store.

3. Catch a Trout

fly fishing near Crested Butte, ColoradoIf there’s one thing the Taylor River is known for it’s fishing. Whether it’s the Catch and Release “hog trough” below the dam, the reservoir itself, or the upper reaches and tributaries above Taylor Reservoir, one of the best ways to spend a day is with a pole or rod in hand.

Boat rentals are available from the Taylor Park Marina, and fishing guides abound in the valley. Your best bet for hiring a guide is down the canyon closer to Almont, but don’t worry, the guides will be more than happy to show you the fishing in Taylor Park or on the reservoir if that’s what you want to do.

4. Experience Wilderness

Taylor Park is surrounded by some of the largest peaks in Colorado, as well as by two designated Wilderness Areas, Collegiate Peaks and Fossil Ridge. Both areas prohibit motorized and mechanical use and are the perfect place to escape on a backpacking trip or a day of solitude.

taylor park from park coneThe trip up to Henry Lakes in the Fossil Ridge area is a favorite of mine and is about 14 miles round trip. The trail starts at Lottis Creek Campground, just a few miles below the dam. Another beautiful hike in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness is to Ptarmigan Lake high above Dorchester Campground. You’ll need a sturdy 4×4 to make the trek up the Tellurium Creek Rd., but once you reach the end the lake is only a short hike away.

5. Ride a Bike

Of all the trails (750+ miles) in the Gunnison Valley, one of the best is right smack-dab in the middle of Taylor Canyon. For experienced riders, Doctor Park trail is the next best thing to a cold beer, and after riding this trail you’ll want one for sure. For beginners looking to ride in the Taylor Park area check out the 4×4 roads in the Onemile Campground area.Riding Doctor Park Trail above the Taylor River

Gunnison, with four bike shops, is your best bet to rent a bike and pick up a map. Make sure to download CBGTrails for Iphone or Android. This free app has every piece of singletrack and road in the area and even works offline!

However you choose to play during your visit to Taylor Park we hope this helps a little with your trip. In addition to these awesome activities there are also horseback rides, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, and hunting just to name a few.

Looking for more information? Cruise through our website to start planning lodging, activities, meals and more.
Author: Bryan Boyle

21 Responses to 5 Ways to Enjoy a Taylor Park Vacation this Summer!

  1. We want to camp in a dispersed area possibly above Taylor Lake. And want to be on the river. Going in June 2019. Seeking privacy and quiet days and nights. We’ve primitive camped many times in Texas and know what we need. Suggestions? Deborah

    • Hey Deborah! There’s plenty of dispersed spots along the Upper Taylor once you get past the reservoir. For privacy and quiet, a big factor will be when you come in June. Later in June that can be a little difficult, but a good rule of thumb is that the further up the road you go the more wooded and private the spaces become. Look to drive to at least the Dorchester Campground to begin your search. Having a vehicle with higher clearance can help you get off the main road and onto a more private spur as well. Bigger RV’s have more limited options. Hope you have a great time!

  2. My friend mentioned he had heard about a company/service where they set up a camper for your group and they provide additional water/sewage pumping etc. in or around Crested Butte/Taylor Park open camping areas. Can you point me in the right direction for locating this company, we are interested in a week long trip in July and would like to inquire rates and details? Thanks!

    • Hi Dan, we’ve asked around and that isn’t a service that we’re familiar with. If you have any more clues to help us find it we’d love to learn more.

    • If you’re still looking for a camping service – Dog Daze Outfitters offers camping equipment rentals and luxury camping packages in Gunnison National Forest. They’ll set the entire camp up for you or you can have gear delivered to you.

  3. Spending a month camping through your beautiful state. I would like to camp near are on the water at Taylor Park Reservoir. Will I be able to get there with a truck and small travel trailer? Mid September, what kind of weather could I expect? Thanks for any help or suggestions.

    • Hi Jean, the only two places you can camp around Taylor Reservoir are at Lakeview and River’s End campgrounds. Both are easily accessible by almost any regular vehicle. Mid-September you can expect some beautiful, clear sunny days, the occasional rain shower that snows up high, good fall foliage, and nights below freezing. Have fun!

  4. We are looking to rent a cabin for 7 people and close by to do our Atv during the day somewhere in the Tayor park area, wanting to go about July 21 or 22.
    Thank you,
    Pearl Goyett

  5. It looks like there has been alot of rain recently and in the coming days forecast. We were planning to be there Aug 5-11. There is rain in the forecast daily. Is this typical? Has there been flooding or damage to ATV trails?

    • August is typically known as monsoon season around here. Almost all the weather moves through in the afternoon and there’s often a good window of weather between 9am and noon to get out before the storms move in. Sometimes the evening can be another good window to get out after things have had an hour or so to dry out. There hasn’t been any flooding on the ATV trails that I’m aware of, but occasionally some damage occurs when people get stuck out on the trails during the rain.

  6. Planning a trip that last week of September. Interested in some good day hikes with great scenery! I’m a photographer. Have. Cabin reserved on Almont. What would you recommend?

    • Hey Debbie, I’d recommend Texas Ridge to the CDT and up to Lake Anne Pass, Italian Connector up to American Flag Mt., and South Lottis Trail to Henry Lakes. Have a great trip!

  7. We were interested in coming around Thanksgiving. Is that an easy time to get reservations for an RV? How cold and what’s the weather like at that time?

    • Very easy, if places are open. All the Forest Service campgrounds will be closed at this point, but you can search our partner pages for private campgrounds that might be open. The best bet would be the ones in Gunnison, and it’s ver unlikely that anything in Taylor Park will be open for anything but snowmobiling. As far as weather goes expect highs between 20 and 30, possibly colder, and lows around 0.

  8. Hi! I am planning on camping in the area the last week of September in our pop up camper. We have three young boys but would like to do some hiking. Are there some family friendly hikes you would recommend?? Thanks

    • Hi Jeni, a couple good hikes for kids in the area would be the Continental Divide Trail from the top of Cottonwood Pass, hiking around Mirror Lake near Tincup, and Texas Lakes (need a 4wd for this one).

  9. Is there any place around Taylor Park Reservoir or in the Taylor River valley where campers/hikers can pay to take a shower?

    • Even under normal circumstances–minus COVID-19–there is not a spot in the Taylor Canyon where campers/hikers can pay to take a shower. To my knowledge, at least. If someone who is reading this knows otherwise, please share. Thanks for your interest, Suzanne, in the Gunnison Valley.

  10. My family is heading up to Taylor Park this next week. Are there any ATV trails that are good for beginners?? My kids have their own 4-wheelers so we try to ride the smoothest trails possible. Thank you

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