Porcupine

Rating: 
One-way Distance: 1.4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 7995 - 8136 feet
Cellphone: 2-5 bars
Time: 45 mins.
Trailhead: Cerro Summit
Fee: none
Attractions: Fun singletrack




The Porcupine trail is located in the Cerro Summit Recreation Area near Montrose, Colorado. Beginning off of the Elk Run trail at the bottom it climbs up the side of the oakbrush covered mountain to the upper trailhead along P77 Road. A series of 8 or 9 switchbacks makes easy work out of the 141 foot change in elevation. As the trail climbs the side of the mountain it is crisscrossed, and shares routes at times, by the Escalator trail which is making the climb in similar fashion.


To get there follow Highway 50 east toward Gunnison from Montrose for about 10 miles to the top of Cerro Summit Pass where the recreation area will be on the right hand side of the road.


This post is beginning from the upper trailhead along P77 Road at the top of the Porcupine trail. As the trail starts out it passes the spot where the Grouse Loop branches off on the right.


The side of the mountain has a thick growth of oakbrush with small grassy open areas mixed in. For the most part you never see other hikers or mountain bikers until you are almost upon them.


About 250 feet from the upper trailhead the Tuff Canyon trail branches off on the left. The Tuff Canyon trail takes a more direct route down the mountain and comes out on the Elk Run trail not too far from the lower parking area.


Measuring in a straight line it is 1 tenth of a mile from the top of the Porcupine trail to the bottom. The trail has so many switchbacks that its length is stretched out to 1.4 miles.


There are multiple intersections with the Escalator trail which is similar in nature except at times it is sharing its route with the Porcupine trail.


In over a handful of places the trail is going uphill even in the downhill direction.


We saw fresh deer tracks on the trail and we could hear them at times but the oakbrush is so thick that we couldn't see anything.


The Porcupine trail comes out near the middle of the Elk Run trail. It is only about 400 feet to the right to the bottom of the Escalator trail which leads right back up the mountain again. The changes in elevation on the Porcupine trail are so gradual that it is only slightly harder going in the uphill direction. We hiked every single trail in the Cerro Summit Recreation Area all on the same day so it might only take someone on a mountain bike a couple of hours to do them all. Everyone that we saw on the day that we were there were other hikers although there were a few tire tracks in the dirt. Cerro Summit is easy to get to and a nice place to kick around on a summer's day. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.