Mill Creek Road runs through private property on its way to the Mill-Castle Trailhead in the West Elk Wilderness. The road passes through mountain meadows and agricultural fields, following a stream with riparian willows where you might find American Goldfinch, Dusky Flycatcher, and a few species of warblers. Farther up, at the trailhead, the road reaches montane forest with mixed conifers and aspens. Those in good physical shape will find the birding excellent up the trail. Even Boreal Owls breed along this trail, although their habitat is snowed in during the season when they are calling. Up in the forest you’ll find plenty of pine squirrels and chipmunks, and with luck, you could see a pine marten. Elk sightings are possible along both the road and the trail. This is also an excellent area for butterflies in the summer.
Habitat: Sagebrush, Lowland Riparian, Grassland/Prairie, Mixed Conifer Forest, Aspen Grove, Spruce-Fir Forest
Directions: Go north from Gunnison on CO 135 for approximately 3.4 miles. Turn left on Ohio Creek Road (CR 730). Go about 8.8 miles and turn left on the signed dirt road (Mill Creek Road, CR 727). After about four miles, park in an open meadow area before the wilderness boundary gate. The trail goes up to Storm Ridge, but the best birding is in the first three miles of the trail.
Delorme: 58 C1-C2
Roads of Colorado: 100 B2-C2
Dates of Access: Winter access by ski or snowshoe only
Ownership: Private/US Forest Service
Restrictions: Please respect private property.
Parking: Unpaved parking lot
Lodging: Hotels in Gunnison or Crested Butte
Handicapped Access: Viewing from car along road to trailhead