Cabin Trail

Round Trip Distance: 10 miles
Difficulty: Moderate +
Elevation: 8171 - 9085 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 3 hrs. 45 mins.
Facilities: none
Trailhead: Lower Cabin Trail
Fee: none
Attractions: Forest hike, deer, elk, wild turkeys

The Cabin Trail is located in the Uncompahgre National Forest near Grand Junction, Colorado. Beginning at the lower trailhead on the Big Creek Road the trail climbs from the valley where it follows the ridge to its junction with the Rim Trail about 5 miles away. The Cabin trail is popular with ATV enthusiasts as well as mountain bikers and hunters. For uses other than hiking the trail is often combined with other nearby trails to form large loops for extended outings. Primitive camping opportunities exist near the lower trailhead and on the upper portions of the trail.

To get to the trailhead you find your way to the northern boundary of the Uncompaghre National Forest on Divide Road and measure about 3.5 miles where you make a right turn onto the Big Creek Road which actually has a sign that says FR 403. Follow FR 403 for about 5 miles where there is a ranch house on the right side of the road opposite the Cabin trailhead.

The trail climbs pretty good for the first mile as it heads for the top of the ridge.

The first half mile of the trail is the steepest but the climbing continues at a moderate pace for almost another half mile after that.

It is worthwhile to stick with it because after you get on top the hiking couldn't be more pleasant.

There is an overlook at about 1.8 miles on the right side of the trail where you can look down at the point where the Corral Gulch trail splits off from the Little Creek trail. This is one of the first spots where we noticed we had about 3 bars on our cellphone. Service on the Uncompahgre is normally kind of hit and miss. It is usually good enough to send and receive text messages if you aren't in any hurry about doing it. They tend to come in when you happen to pick up a good enough signal. We only mention that in case you get into a situation where you need to get help.

After passing the overlook the trail gives up a little elevation but then gains that back plus a little more. The uphill section here is fairly short only lasting about a hundred yards or so before it levels off again.

A green gate that separates two grazing areas comes up at about 2.9 miles. The gate needs to be kept closed at all times so even if you find it open and they aren't in the process of moving cows through it then be sure to close it.

The Little Creek trail meets the Cabin trail at about the 4.1 mile point. The Little Creek trail is open to hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking if you would like to use it to make a loop.

The Cabin trail comes to an end when it meets up with the Rim trail which is also Forest Road 416. This is where we turned around and headed back to the lower trailhead.

An abundance of wildlife is one of the things that makes the Cabin trail a lot of fun to hike. We came upon a half dozen of more bucks and a few does and fawns. The smaller bucks like this one were a little easier to get a picture of than the big boys.

There were also elk to be spotted along the trail both coming and going. We saw three large bulls that we never could get a picture of. They were pretty skittish and we figured that was why they had lived long enough to get so big. The elk in this picture is a spike. It was still traveling with the cows which happened to be laying down just out of view on the left.

The area along the Big Creek Road looks like a cattlemens paradise this time of year. The Uncompahgre Plateau itself is a paradise for the big game animals as well as all the other critters like some wild turkeys that we spotted around the pond near the Little Creek junction. The one thing we didn't see were any signs at all of bears in the area. No scat and no tracks. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.