Montrose Adobes: New Parking Lot

Montrose Adobes looking north from Flattop

The Montrose, Colorado, adobes. I'm atop Flattop and looking north. The new parking area in the Gunnison Gorge NCA makes the adobes more accessible. I took this from a marked trail atop the adobes, looking east with the sun behind me.


Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area sports a new parking lot designed specifically for dirt bikers who want to ride in the adobe formations north of Montrose. Further, the road all the way to the parking area has been graveled so it can be traveled should it begin to rain. This makes it easier for those who want to explore deep into the adobes. The photo below shows the new parking area. Also provided is a GPS map to help you find it from Montrose.
Gunnison Gorge NCA new parking area north of Montrose, Colorado

Here's the new parking area in Gunnison Gorge NCA. See GPS map for details. It's reached by traveling north on 6530 Rd from Montrose.


The parking lot can be reached from the same road used to reach the Flattop riding area, except keep going straight. The street to take from Montrose going north is 6530 Rd, then travel all the way north without making any turns. At the bottom of this post is a GPS track that shows how to get from US Hwy 50 to both the Flattop Open Riding Area and the trails-only (but with a million trails) Gunnison Gorge NCA. The picture above shows the new parking area. Note 10 parking places for vehicles with trailers plus other parking for vehicles without trailers. There’s a new pit toilet and a sign with dire warnings to please stay on marked, named trails, although one never knows exactly where he/she is atop the adobes because the trails are marked only occasionally. More than half of the trails follow the ridge lines.

I’ll say this for the adobes as of yesterday: The dirt was very soft and fluffy. I followed a trail up what should have been a moderate climb and the rear wheel was spinning out, making for a precarious climb. Once atop, I needed to show some real discipline in steering because the bike kept wanting to drift in the crumbly soil. I think as the season continues, these trails will be more compacted. To get a closer look at the Montrose adobes courtesy of YouTube, see this movie I put up last year, one of the first posts on this site. (As I view this early attempt at making videos, I cringe. Hopefully I’m getting better! I’m holding the camera with my left hand and steering with my right, which is why the video sticks to the main road.)

Here’s the promised GPS map, showing how to get from Montrose to the two official parking areas in the adobes.

new parking on elephant skin road

You'll see the new parking area on Elephant Skin Road near the top. Notice also the parking area for the Flattop open riding area.

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