· Uncompahgre

Paradox Valley

When European settlers first arrived in this valley in western Colorado, they were dumbfounded by the fact that the mighty Dolores River cuts perpendicularly across it, spilling out from a deep canyon on the south and entering another deep canyon on the north, instead of flowing down the center of the valley like all other rivers in their experience. At a loss to explain the phenomenon, they named the valley Paradox. We now know that the valley was formed by the collapse of ancient salt dome caves beneath the Dolores River Canyon. The result is a remote valley with excellent scenery and wildlife viewing opportunities. The floor of the valley is filled with sagebrush, where it is easy to find Sage Thrasher, Sage Sparrow, coyotes, jackrabbits, and mule deer. A couple of small farm ponds on the western end of the valley can be good for ducks and shorebirds, and Sandhill Cranes have nested in the area. This is the best place in Colorado to see Ring-necked Pheasant. The pinyon-juniper hillsides should be checked for Gray Vireo, Black-throated Sparrow, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Gray Flycatcher, and Pinyon Jay. Where the highway crosses the river, keep an eye out for Black Phoebe.

County: Montrose

Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Sagebrush, Grassland/Prairie

Directions: The best reservoir can be reached by driving west of Bedrock on CO 90 for three miles. Turn right (north) on CR W5. In a quarter mile the road turns left (west) and the reservoir is on the right side of the road. View this water from the road. To visit a second reservoir continue a short distance until CR W5 intersects with CO 90. Drive west on CO 90 for ?? mile. Turn right (north) on CR 6.75 and drive about ?? mile. This reservoir is on the right side and can also be viewed from the road. Paradox Valley has several good sagebrush spots. Drive along CO 90 until the highways runs through good sagebrush. Look for roads or tracks that leave the highway and drive or hike in the sagebrush. One good spot is CR BB 16 about 10 miles east of Bedrock. This road runs north for about two miles.

Delorme: 64 B1-B2
Roads of Colorado: 112 B2-B3, 96 B4-C4

Dates of Access: Open all year
Hours: Any
Ownership: BLM/ Private
Admission: Free

Restrictions: View ponds from the road

Parking: Roadside
Lodging: Primitive camping in BLM land

Handicapped: No
Handicapped Access: Limited Viewing from car

Latitude: 38.3424852
Longitude: -108.9367819

Amenities

RestroomsYes
Drinking FountainYes
Gravel TrailsNo
Paved TrailsNo
Platform/BlindNo
BoardwalkNo
ConcessionYes
Visitor CenterNo
Gift ShopNo
PrimitiveNo
Camping
Picnic
HuntingNo
FishingNo