Round Trip Distance: 1.5 miles
Elevation: 6800 - 7281 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars
Usage: Hiking - Rock Climbing - Dogs
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Unaweep Canyon Access Fund
Attractions: Scenic views, geology, rock climbing
View Access Fund in a larger map
The Access Fund is a 'national advocacy organization that keeps U.S. climbing areas open and conserves the climbing environment' (Access Fund vision statement). The trail in Unaweep Canyon, along with 3 main climbing walls, was purchased from local land owners by a group of local climbers and the Access Fund. The main purpose of the trail is, of course, to provide access to the walls for rock climbers but hikers looking for a good view of Unaweep Canyon can make use of it also.
The trailhead is a pullout along Highway 141, 15.7 miles west of the turnoff from Highway 50, just south of Whitewater. Or, you can measure 2.2 miles from the Divide Road turnoff. The pullout is on the right hand side of the road.
There is a stile to make an easy job of crossing the fence.
The trail is very well built and easy to follow. It begins by crossing the wash and going through a thicket of oak brush and then it climbs at a moderate pace up to the base of Sunday Wall.
The granite face of Sunday Wall is pretty imposing when you are standing at the bottom looking up.
From Sunday Wall the trail traverses around the base of the cliffs to the other 2 main climbing walls.
The next main cliff is called the Fortress Wall.
The trail has a fork where the left branch leads to the base of Fortress Wall and the right branch goes on over to Hidden Valley Wall.
The trail continues up the gap between the 2 walls but it gets more difficult to follow the further you progress until the trail is no longer discernible at all. It is possible to fight your way through the brush until you come out on top of the ridge. My maps show that the land on top of the ridge is private property so you will need to be respectful of that.
The Hidden Valley Wall is pretty impressive no matter where you look at it from.
The views of Unaweep Canyon are very impressive from the Access Fund trail. Just in case you didn't know; the Unaweep Canyon has two mouths. There is a very slight high point in the middle of the canyon where East Creek runs toward one end and West Creek runs in the other direction. The most popular belief is that the canyon was abandoned by the Gunnison River river due to a landslide and the creeks were never powerful enough to cut through the divide. Unaweep is a Ute Indian word that means 'where land comes together'.
I added this post for the Access Fund trail because I had read about it in a popular local hiking book and thought that some people might want to check it out for themselves. After investigating the trail I found it to be a lot of fun and well worth hiking even though it was primarily created for climbers. The Access Fund has at least one more trail further down the road at a cliff called Mothers Buttress. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.