Hartman Rocks ‘Rocks’ For Mountain Bikers & Outdoor Enthusiasts

Becky pedaling away from camera on mountain bike trail in Hartman Rocks Colorado

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Ok, two-wheeled enthusiasts, I have a gift for you. Hartman Rocks! This mountain bike playground is located outside of Gunnison, Colorado, and let me tell you, it rocks. The area is full of incredible riding, beautiful views, free (yes free!) camping, and a cute little town nearby to stock up in and explore.

I’m actually a little surprised that this place, managed by BLM, is still mostly a hidden gem because it’s so awesome and there is a lot more to do in the area besides ride bikes. So if you’re looking for a new and exciting mountain bike destination, put Hartman Rocks on your list.

Where is Hartman Rocks?

Hartman Rocks is located up on top of a mesa outside the small town of Gunnison in the southwest quadrant of Colorado. It’s situated at 7,700ft and surrounded by tall peaks and rolling hills. Crested Butte is only half an hour up the grade and Denver is a quick 3.5-hour drive east (without traffic).

To get there, head south out of Gunnison on route 50. Turn left onto route 38/Airport Rd and follow that until you see a large parking area for Hartman Rocks on the right. The road up to the mesa is through the parking area.

Best time to visit Hartman Rocks

The best time to visit and mountain bike Hartman Rocks are the shoulder seasons are late may to early October. Gunnison does get a lot of snow in the winter, and since Hartman Rocks is situated on top of a mesa above the town, it can hold on to snow a bit longer. Always check the weather and conditions before planning your trip.

If you want to ride in the winter months, Hartman Rocks is actually groomed for cross-country skiing so if you’re into fat biking you can ride during the snowy months as well.

Becky climbing technical section of mountain bike trail at Hartman Rocks area in Coloraod

Hartman Rocks camping

There is free first-come, first-served camping scattered all throughout Hartman Rocks. All campsites have a fire ring and some even have a picnic table. Camping is ONLY allowed in established sites, though. I did see a ranger driving through while I was there, so I suspect that they monitor the camping situation pretty tightly.

There is no water or facilities at the campsites, but there are several porta-potties spread throughout Hartmans Rocks.

I couldn’t find a campsite map, but they’re pretty easy to spot. If you don’t find a site in the ‘main’ area with all the boulders, there are lots more sites sprinkled throughout the recreation area.

Van camped at dispersed campsite at Hartman Rocks in Colorado
There are a number of free first-come-first-serve dispersed campsites at Hartman Rocks

Things to know before you visit

This is a multi-use recreational area
Hartman Rocks is on BLM land, so all of the trails are multi-use. Expect to share the trails with hikers, runners, mountain bikers, and yes – even dirt bikers. It’s a popular place for families, too – we saw a lot of little kid shredders. And it’s a sweet spot for climbers. Please be courteous, yield to traffic, and say hi!

Road conditions
When we visited Hartman Rocks, Gunnison in late May, the road conditions were decent, but not superb. It’s best to have a high-clearance 4×4 vehicle if possible. If you’re feeling sporty you’ll ‘probably’ be fine in a normal car.

That being said, it’s not an ideal spot for large RVs. There’s a really steep hill to get up to the mesa from the main parking area and most of the campsites are off of rutted and sandy roads. I wouldn’t recommend taking a large RV up to Hartman Rocks.

Mountain biker riding down steep rock chute at Hartman Rocks in Colorado

Hartman Rocks Trail Map

There are brochure maps at the main parking area of Hartman Rocks. However, I highly recommend downloading the TrailForks app before you set out.

Hartman Rocks Mountain Biking

Hartman Rocks is managed by the BLM as a multi-use recreational area and the mountain biking is awesome. The trails feature tall rock boulders, incredible views, flowing terrain, and crisscrossing fire roads that make climbs (mostly) a breeze.

There are about 75 miles of trail in Hartman Rocks, so there’s plenty to keep you busy for a while. I pretty much loved all the trails I rode, but some are definitely better than others and there are some that I would not recommend riding in a particular direction.

The lower-down trails closer to the main parking area seem to be the locals’ favorites. They’re easy to lap and easy to access. The farther out you go toward the Aberdeen Loop, the trails get more cross-country and remote.

One thing I really appreciate about Hartman Rocks are the fire roads. I usually don’t enjoy pedaling on road, but here they make it super easy and efficient to connect all the trails.

Hartman Rocks is also pretty beginner-friendly. Most of the blacks could be ridden by an adventurous beginner rider with a few technical sections walked.

Must ride trails

I didn’t ride every trail in here (I will be back!) but below are the favorites that I did ride. All the trails are very well marked so it’s easy to find your way around.

  • Beginner/Intermediate: Outback, Dave Moe’s/Dirty Socks, Top Of The World, Behind The Rocks
  • Advanced: The Ridge, Rattlesnake, The Notch

Hartman Rocks Tour

  • Route difficulty: Intermediate
  • Mileage: 18.4 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 2,270 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks
  • Route directions: Josho’s > Back In > Outback > Enchanted Forest > Dave Moe’s > Dirty Socks > Buddy Bear > Josie’s > Gateway > Water Treatment > Graceland > The Luge > Sea Of Sage
  • Route notes: This is a really great loop. However, it’s a big day so make sure you know what you’re getting into (it is easy to bail if you want). You can start anywhere along the loop. We started from our campsite and dropped into Josho’s first. The climbing is actually quite mellow (except for a steep section at the beginning of Josie’s) and the downhill rewards are fast and fun.
  • Make it shorter: If you want to cut the loop short I would recommend taking Josie’s all the way to The Luge and snipping off the Gateway/Graceland section.
Mountain biker riding away from camera on singletrack trail at Hartman Rocks in Colorado

Hartman Rocks Technical Loop

  • Route difficulty: Advanced
  • Mileage: 11 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 1,508 ft
  • Map/GPS: TrailForks
  • Route directions: Rattlesnake > Becks > The Notch > Jacks > Tailpipe > The Ridge > Top Of The World > Alonzos (take the connector if you want to skip a very steep climb) > Behind The Rocks > Rocky Ridge > Sea Of Sage
  • Route notes: This loop hits all the fun technical sections in Hartman Rocks. Rattlesnake is probably the most ‘iconic’ black trail in the area, but The Ridge and The Notch are also fun. Personally, I think Top Of The World is better ridden in the opposite direction, but what are you going to do…
  • Make it easier: If you want to skip a really steep climb up Alonzos take the connector trail near the top of Top Of The World.
  • Make it longer: If you want to make it longer, this route covers much of the same terrain, but adds on the Graceland Loop.
Mountain biker climbing steep rock slab in Hartman Rocks in Colorado

More Colorado Mountain Biking

Have you done any mountain biking in Hartman Rocks, Gunnison? What did you think? What were your favorite trails and loops? Let us know in the comments!

Discover the best Hartman Rocks mountain biking including which trails to ride, how to link them up, where to camp, and more!
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