Rainbow Lake Road (CR 724)

· Black Canyon

Rainbow Lake Road (CR 724)

Aliases: West Elk Wilderness, South Baldy

A summertime destination, this road climbs from the shores of Blue Mesa Reservoir into the high montane forests, passing through sagebrush and montane shrub habitats along the way. In the sagebrush look for Sage Thrashers and Brewer’s Sparrows; in the shrublands, for Green-tailed Towhees and MacGillivray’s Warblers. The high country can produce Clark’s Nutcracker, Gray Jay, Red Crossbills, and Pine Grosbeak. Mule deer are numerous here, and you might see elk or even bear. Alpine areas are accessible by hiking and only those in good physical condition should attempt to climb South Baldy. There is a camping area at Rainbow Lake. Make sure to bring your camera! The wildflowers are stunning in this area, especially in July.

County: Gunnison

Attractions: Wildflowers in summer

Habitat: Sagebrush, Grassland/Prairie, Lowland Riparian, Aspen Grove, Mixed Conifer Forest, Spruce-Fir Forest, Krummholz, Alpine Tundra

Directions: Go west of Gunnison on US 50 to milepost 143 (14.3 miles). Rainbow Lake Road (FS724) is on the north side of the reservoir and offers easy and productive access to higher elevations.

Delorme: 68 A1
Roads of Colorado: 100 B3

Dates of Access: Most of road closed in winter
Hours: Any
Ownership: BLM/US Forest Service
Admission: Free

Restrictions: None

Parking: Roadside; gravel parking at trailheads
Lodging: Primitive camping, or hotels in Gunnison

Handicapped: No
Handicapped Access: Viewing from car

Elevation: 7500

Latitude: 38.47319
Longitude: -107.144645


Drinking FountainNo
Gravel TrailsYes
Paved TrailsNo
Visitor CenterNo
Gift ShopNo

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