Bunch Ground

Round Trip Distance: 3 - 4.8 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
Elevation: 7894- 8728 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 2 hrs.
Trailhead: Forest Road 410
Fee: none
Attractions: Difficult route finding

The Bunch Ground trail is located in the Plateau Division of the Uncompahgre National Forest near Grand Junction, Colorado. The trail begins off of Forest Service Road #410 where it descends the Bunch Ground branch of the Blue Creek drainage until after 1.5 miles it connects to the Blue Creek trail and comes to an end. At present the trail is heavily overgrown by brush and requires expert route finding and hiking skills to successfully navigate.

To get to the trailhead drive west for 14.2 miles on Highway 141 from its junction with Highway 50 near Whitewater, Colorado. Turn left onto Divide Road and continue for another 20 miles, crossing a cattleguard at the forest boundary after about 6 miles and passing the turnoff for the Uranium Road just before 15 miles. Look for the 410 marker on the right hand, or west, side of the road.

A high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicle, or a mountain bike, can continue down FR #410 for just under 1 mile to the trailhead. The road can be impassable when wet so if there are any chances of thunderstorms it would be best to begin at the turnoff from the Divide Road.

As the trail starts out it is overgrown to the point that it is almost impossible to pick it out. From the trailhead sign it is a straight line to where the trail makes a short drop into the drainage. There is a brown mylar trail marker just on the other side of the aspen trees that is within a hundred feet or so of the road.

The next post was on the ground under the log in this picture when we stumbled upon it. We propped it up with rocks but how long it will stay like that is anyone's guess. If you look down the log and just inside the trees about 20-30 feet away there is a square wooden post that looks like it will be there for quite sometime to come. The square post marks the point where the trail makes a short drop into the drainage. (N38 37.926 W108 41.746)

Once the trail comes near the trickling stream it bends to the right and begins following it down the drainage. The trail never crosses the stream until it gets close to the end. As can be seen from this photo the trail is mostly indiscernible. Small fragments will appear in places and before going very far another wooden trail marker can be seen. (N38 37.872 W108 41.763)

Feeling your way along the same side of the stream leads to one more wooden post. (N38 37.836 W108 41.794)

At the time we did the hike for this post there were numerous fallen trees to climb over and under. Some of the trees are unstable and could easily shift positions so great care should be taken. As a reassurance that we were still on the correct path we passed a log that had been cut quite some time ago. (N38 37.741 W108 41.910)

Continuing down the valley the trail passes through a gate. (N38 37.667 W108 41.964) We are mentioning these various landmarks so that you can get a feel for whether or not you are staying on the trail.

There are several places where the trail looks completely blocked but it is possible to pick it out of the undergrowth and stay the course.

Eventually what is left of another wooden trail marker comes up that sits next to what looks like a well worn cross trail. If you follow the trail to the right you should be able to find your way over to the Mailbox trail although that route gets difficult to navigate also. To continue on down to the Blue Creek trail go to the left at this point.

The trail is easy to follow for a couple hundred yards or so. There is one spot where willows and other brush form an arc over the trail that looks like only a bear could get through. About a hundred feet before reaching the creek the trail turns sharply to the right. The well worn trail continues past this spot to a marshy area where the stream is trickling by. If you reach that point then you will need to backtrack to find the correct route. We tossed part of a log onto the trail to mark the turn but who knows how long it will remain there.

The trail continues to be allusive in several spots but if you stay the course you will come to the junction of the Bunch Ground and Blue Creek trails. The Blue Creek trail is just on the other side of the brush in this photo. We had saved the waypoint (N38 37.091 W108 42.222) for this junction when we hiked the Blue Creek trail several weeks earlier so we could look at our GPS and see exactly where we were headed.

The hike back up to Bug Point goes a lot faster after already discovering the route. A quick study of the map shows that the trail starts out making a beeline from the trailhead to the creek. From there it travels almost in a straight line until it reaches the 1.2 mile point. Then it turns east for 2 tenths of a mile where it turns sharply to the right for the final 500 feet or so to the finish. When we hiked the trail all we had was the waypoint at the Blue Creek trail to go by. Even if you load our GPS file into your device you will still have to fight your way through the brush which might leave you a bloody mess if you are wearing shorts. Our advice for the Bunch Ground trail is don't attempt it if you are a casual hiker and if at all possible take a GPS and a map that has the trail marked on it. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.