Whitewater Bluffs

Round Trip Distance: 4.4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 4640 - 5070 feet
Cellphone: 2-5 bars
Time: 3 hrs.
Trailhead: Whitewater Boat Launch
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic river corridor

Whitewater Bluffs is a name we are giving to an unmarked trail that begins at the Whitewater Boat Launch and travels along the edge of the bluffs above the Gunnison River for several miles. The trail, which is within part of the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, does show signs of maintenance from both hikers and mountain bikers but seems to lack any official designation.

To get to the trailhead turn off of Highway 50 just west of Whitewater onto Highway 141 as though heading to Gateway. Turn left onto Desert Road at the sign for the Whitewater Boat Launch, just before crossing the river, and follow it around until you reach the trailhead.

All of the signs at the trailhead are for the boat launch itself and not for any official trails. Up ahead you can see a trail contouring along the edge of the bluffs but between the trailhead and that point there is a deep wash. Go to your left a little and pick a suitable route either across or around the head of the wash to get underway.

Once you make it across the wash find a suitable route through the greasewood flats to the base of the hill where a more established trail begins appearing.

Near the quarter mile point the trail will pass through a gate.

From there the trail continues climbing steadily at a gradual rate up the bluffs overlooking the Gunnison River.

The trail will encounter a few rocky ledges that have had some improvements made to make it a little smoother for mountain bikes.

Enjoy the views as you follow the trail until you feel like turning around.

A little past the 2 mile point the trail reaches a high point and pretty much fades away. It is hard from here to tell where the line is between private property and the BLM so we didn't push on any further.

Hiking along the bluffs in the springtime can be a real treat. In places the sego lilies carpet the ground along with a numerous other wildflowers and a variety of cactus with blooms of yellow, red and peach colors that brighten up the hillsides.

The Whitewater Bluffs trail is a great place to go that is close to town and a little less traveled. You can get some good exercise while the trail climbs steadily but gently away from the trailhead and look forward to an easy time on the return trip that is all downhill. At times a keen eye might be able to spot a few bighorn sheep on the west side of the river that have come down to drink. Other than that the scenery is pretty nice and the hikings not too bad at all. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.