One-way Distance: 2.9 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 9532 - 9807 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 1 hrs. 15 mins.
Trailhead: Hornet
Fee: none
Attractions: Forest hike/bike, elk

The Hornet trail is located in the Plateau Division of the Uncompahgre National Forest near Montrose, Colorado. The trail begins on one end off of the State Draw trail. After a little over 3/4 of a mile the trail crosses the Nucla Road, Highway 90. Near the 2 mile point the trail reaches a junction with the Antone Spring trail. At that point the trail descends into a drainage where it loses almost 100 feet of elevation afterwhich it begins a climb that nets a 300 foot elevation gain over the last 8 tenths of a mile to where it meets up with the Parallel trail and comes to an end.

Getting to the trailhead from Montrose is pretty straight forward. From the intersection of Townsend and Main Street head west following the signs for Highway 90. Around the 14.8 mile point Highway 90 is met by the Divide Road. Another tenth of a mile past that intersection the State Draw trailhead will be on the left hand side of the road. Parking is available at this point or you can continue along the State Draw trail to where the Hornet trail begins if you feel your vehicle is suitable enough for the road.

The Hornet trail begins about 7 tenths of a mile from the State Draw trailhead.

After passing through a trail squeeze that limits the width to dirt bikes, but not ATVs, the Hornet trail takes off along an easy to follow route.

Around the 0.8 mile point the trail crosses Highway 90, the Nucla Road, and continues through the trees on the other side.

The trail base varies from smooth packed dirt to the occasional sections that get a little rocky to areas where tree roots are more the norm.

Right about the 2 mile point the Hornet trail is connected to on the right by the Antone Springs trail. If for some reason you need to bail it is less than a quarter mile from here to the Divide Road.

After that trail junction the route continues dropping a little where it crosses a small stream. From there it begins climbing its way back up to the top of the plateau.

The elevation profile is exaggerated a little by the shortness of the trail but the final dip on the right is the Antone Spring drainage. It just happens to be the low spot of the trail. The highest point is the very end of the trail. The climbing elevation for the entire trail is only 588 feet with a couple hundred feet of that already completed before the final climb begins.

We came across some elk, including at least one bull, just past the stream. It was during bow and black powder season when we took the pictures for this post and the elk were pretty skiddish. Most hunters don't seem to like to venture too far from the road because it is a lot of work packing out the meat so these elk were probably pretty safe.

The trail comes to an end when it meets up with the Parallel trail which is running along the swath made by the powerlines. From here it is about a hundred yards out to Divide Road.

We were on our mountain bikes for this trail. When we got to the end we made use of the Divide Road to loop back to the State Draw trailhead and to where we began. The entire loop was 5.9 miles with the Divide Road section being pretty easy as it was mostly downhill. If you opt to take the same route you might like to have a dust mask or neckerchief just in case there is any traffic. (We only met one vehicle and they were nice enough to slow down.) The Hornet trail gets a little bumpy in places but its still a pretty good option to beat the summertime heat. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.