| | |

Hartman Rocks ‘Rocks’ For Mountain Bikers

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

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

There’s a good chance that affiliate links are scattered throughout this post. If you click on one I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you and I’ll definitely be using it to buy bike gear.

Ok, mountain bikers, I have a gift for you: Hartman Rocks! This singletrack 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!) BLM camping, and a cute little town nearby to stock up on supplies and see some local color.

I’m actually a little surprised that Hartman Rocks is still (mostly) a hidden gem. It’s one of my favorite places to ride, so if you’re looking for a new and exciting mountain bike destination, keep reading and put it on your bike-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.

A note about the road: When we visited in late May, the road conditions into Hartman Rocks 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 would not recommend taking a large RV up to Hartman Rocks. Most vans will be fine.

Mountain biker riding bike down singletrack trail in Hartman Rocks, Colorado with large rock boulders on right side
Hartman Rocks is located up on a mesa. The road up is steep and loose. RVs are not recommended

What to Expect

I really love the mountain biking at Hartman Rocks. I could spend a few weeks there and still not be ready to leave. Here are a few things to expect if you plan a trip to this Colorado gem:

  • Dozens of miles of singletrack: There is easily over 30 miles of good singletrack at Hartman Rocks from easy, mellow cross-country pedaling to some pretty technical rocky lines. There is riding for everyone.
  • Cool rock features: One of the reasons I love mountain biking at Hartman Rocks so much is all the cool rock features to play on. There are rock rollers, rock drops, rock spines, rock slabs… you get the point!
  • Shared trails: The trails here are shared with several different trail users from dirt bikers (yes, they’re allowed to be there, too) to trail runners and dog walkers. Be kind and courteous – we’re all out there to have fun.
  • Fire road climbs: One thing I really appreciate about Hartman Rocks recreation area are the fire roads. I usually don’t enjoy pedaling on roads, but here they make it super easy and efficient to connect all the trails.
  • Beginner-friendly: Hartman Rocks is pretty beginner-friendly. Most of the blacks could be ridden by an adventurous beginner rider with a few technical sections walked. It’s also a popular place for families – we saw a lot of little kid shredders.
Mountain biker climbing steep rock slab in Hartman Rocks in Colorado
There are some really cool rock features at Hartman Rocks!

Trails & route Recommendations

The Hartman Rocks Recreation Area covers quite a few square miles and there is plenty of riding to keep you occupied for a few days (although I recommend settling in for a week or more if you have the time!).

I pretty much loved all the trails I rode, but some are definitely better than others and there are some that I would only recommend riding in one 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.

Below are a few route recommendations that hit the best trails in the network – in the ‘right’ direction.


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
Route recommendation #1

>> Hartman Rocks Tour

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.

Route Difficulty



18.4 miles

Route Type


Elevation Gain

2,270 ft

Elevation loss

2,270 ft

High Point

8,370 ft

E-bikes allowed?




Hartman Rocks Tour on Trailforks.com

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

Make it shorter: If you want to cut the loop short I would recommend taking Josie’s all the way to The Luge and skipping the Gateway/Graceland section. This will cut off about 3 miles and a few hundred feet of climbing.

Mountain biker riding away from camera on singletrack trail at Hartman Rocks in Colorado
Route recommendation #2

>> Hartman Rocks Technical Loop

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…

Route Difficulty



11.1 miles

Route Type


Elevation Gain

1,508 ft

Elevation loss

1,508 ft

High Point

8,307 ft

E-bikes allowed?




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

Make it shorter: If you want to cut the loop short I would recommend taking Josie’s all the way to The Luge and skipping the Gateway/Graceland section. This will cut off about 3 miles and a few hundred feet of climbing.

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 riding down steep rock chute at Hartman Rocks in Colorado

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.

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

Best time to visit

The best time to visit and mountain bike Hartman Rocks are the shoulder seasons: 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

What else is there to do there?

Hartman Rocks isn’t just for mountain bikers. If you have a family that is split on what they think is “fun”, here are a few additonal things to do in the area:

  • Rock climb: Hartman Rocks is pretty popular among boulderers and rock climbers. I don’t have any experience in this field, but I did see them around!
  • Dirt bike: Some of the trails and all of the dirt roads around the Hartman Rocks recreation area are open to motos. Just be aware that mountain bikers and runners/hikers use the trails, too.
  • Walk around town: Like most small towns in Colorado, Gunnison is pretty cute. Spend a few hours checking out the main street shops, restaurants, and breweries.
  • Explore Curecanti National Recreation Area: Want to get out on the water? This area is home to three reservoirs and has lots of great opportunities for SUPing, kayaking, boating, and swimming.

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

Was this post helpful?

buy me a coffee!

Similar Posts

I love hearing from you and appreciate your comments! However, if you leave a rude, unconstructive, or spammy comment, it will be deleted. It’s cool to be kind. Have an awesome day!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *