The new rivertrail near Mayfly Outdoors now connects all the way to the new Recreation Center at the south end of Montrose. (Kathryn R. Burke)
Continuing northward, the pathway traverses open fields and sagebrush, paralleling US 550. Passing a confluence of the Uncompahgre and Dallas Creek, the route takes you to the Ridgway State Park’s Dallas Creek area (map)—located at the southern end of the Ridgway Reservoir. Poking along the riverbanks at low water, we found old bottles and other remnants from earlier settlements, apparently washed downriver from earlier settlements, some may have even come from the town of Ouray.
At Dallas Creek, you will find restrooms, picnic areas, and prime fishing spots. A little further north is the Park Headquarters, well worth a stop to learn about area history and enjoy the magnificent scenery of the San Juan Mountains to the south.
If you’re planning on hanging out for a while, Ridgway State Park offers year-round modern camping, with full facilities during the high season (April-October); and campsites for RVs, trailers, campers, motor homes, and 25 remote, walk-in tent sites. Yurts are available year-round.
From the park, the trail is incomplete from the north end of the park to Colona, where a dirt frontage road picks it up again to Trout Road. From there, it passes the Ute Indian Museum, well worth a stop and a visit. As it continues past the museum, you are likely to see fishermen along its banks, a few brave souls in canoes, and flocks of ducks that congregate in its pools and easily manage the swift currents in spring (snowmelt) runoff.
The route continues north, past the new Montrose Recreation Center at the south end of Montrose, where it crosses the river twice as it passes through Ute Park, Montrose Water Sports Park, Riverbottom Park, and Cerise Park on its way to the northern end of Montrose, where it eventually joins the newly-completed, 2.5-mile, concrete, recreation trail ending just past Mayfly Outdoors.