Uplands Trail

Round Trip Distance: 2 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 8107 - 8320 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: South Rim Visitor Center
Fee: $15/vehicle
Attractions: Wildlife, wildflowers

The Uplands Trail is located in the South Rim section of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park near Montrose, Colorado. The trail connects the Visitor Center with the other end of the Rim Rock Nature Trail near the campground passing through Gamble Oak and other shrubs along the way. A person camping in the campground might hike to the Visitor Center on the Rim Rock Nature Trail and then return to the campground by taking the Uplands Trail.

Finding the trailhead for the Uplands Trail isn't at all obvious when you arrive at the Visitor Center. It is simple enough to ask one of the park rangers inside the Visitor Center if it happens to be open. To access the Uplands Trail, as well as the Gunnison Point and Oak Flat Loop trails, head for the veranda on the west side of the Visitor Center. Toward the back of the veranda take the set of steps down to the beginning of the Oak Flat Loop trailhead.

Follow the Oak Flat Loop trail for less than 2 tenths of a mile and take the left fork at the next trail sign where the loop begins. If you walk carefully and quietly you might come upon some deer either on the trail or in the oak brush next to it.

The Uplands Trail begins about a quarter mile from the parking area.

Within a half mile of the parking area the Uplands Trail crosses the road for the first time.

After crossing the road the trail arcs around through the brush for about a half mile before it crosses the road again heading back toward the rim of the Black Canyon. Throughout this area you can keep your eye out for deer, elk, wild turkeys and maybe even bears.

Another hiker commented that there weren't very many wildflowers, which seemed strange to me, so I started taking pictures of each different variety and came up with 25 in all. That didn't include varieties that had already bloomed or those like mariposa lilies that don't bloom until mid summer.

Just over a mile into the hike the Uplands Trail comes to an end where it junctions with the Rim Rock Nature Trail. If you take the right fork it is only a short distance to the campground whereas the left for will take you back to the Visitor Center.

There are some spectacular views of the Black Canyon along the Rim Rock Nature Trail.

The trail crosses just beneath the Tomichi Point Overlook where there is another restroom.

The Uplands Trail offers a good chance to see some wildlife. It is probably one of the least used trails in the park but it is maintained very well and easy enough for smaller children. Once you get onto the Rim Rock trail you have to watch or hold onto your kids near the edges. Dogs are allowed on the Rim Rock trail but not on the Uplands Trail so that is something to consider also. The Uplands Trail by itself would probably only rate 3 stars but to complete the loop you have to make use of the 5 star Rim Rock Nature Trail so it averages out to  a 4 star rating. The trail is still very much worth hiking and a very pleasant experience if you are already in the area. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.