Running Ute Canyon in Colorado National Monument

Rate this Adventure Ute Canyon trailhead

Explore this beautiful red rock canyon with few crowds. There are lots of trails to explore and find a new run every time.

Ute Canyon Trail is a mostly undeveloped 4.3 mile trail (8.6 round trip) in Colorado National Monument that offers technical descents, route finding, water crossings, and gorgeous red rock walls. The trailhead is just a few miles off I-70 from the town of Fruita—it's well worth the trip. Remember that there's no water, restrooms, or trash bins at the small trailhead so be sure to pack in and pack out.

The trail starts with a 600-foot switchback descent into Ute Canyon from the small parking lot. From there, follow the trail as much as possible to the turnaround. There's a couple trails that break off from the main path, so be sure to study the trail map at the trailhead so you don't get lost. The trail isn't maintained and you'll have to fight through the brush at some spots.

The canyon is cooler than the surrounding area in the summer which makes for a great hike or run. The top of the trail head sits above 6,000 feet, so the area usually gets some snow in the winter—come prepared!

Pack List

  • Water
  • Map
  • Cell phone (pretty good cell service)
  • Camera
  • Running shoes and clothes
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RT Distance 8.6 Miles
Activities Photography, Running, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
River
Scenic
Wildlife

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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