Features: Fall Colors — River/Creek — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Good length, clear trails, and low grades render this perhaps the most runnable alpine trail in the state. Fast trail runners should expect about 2-3 hrs from trailhead to the junction with the Colorado Trail.
From Gunnison, drive east on US Hwy 50 for a short period of time. Head south on CO 114...and brace yourself for 47 miles of mostly dirt road driving. Drive 20 miles and turn right on the NN-14 road. Drive 6.8 miles and turn right onto the 15-GG road. This road wraps around a lake; stay left. From the start of 15-GG, drive 15.7 miles until you reach a junction. Continue straight on Forest Service Rd 794, following signs for the Stewart Creek Trailhead. Drive 4.3 miles to a signed trailhead. The small parking lot was closed in 2014; now you must park along the road. Don't worry - you're in the middle of nowhere and there should be plenty of room. As an alternative, the Eddiesville Trailhead is a quarter mile down the road and has a brand new latrine, if that's your thing. Just make sure you start up the right trail!
Head west on a clear trail along Stewart Creek. The grade remains low and there are very few rocks or roots for about 4 miles. After 4 miles the trees begin to thin as you enter a clearing at 12,000 ft. There are multiple drainages in this area, some of which you may have to traverse depending on the condition of the trail. At 12,300 ft turn left (SW) and head through some willows, coming to a wider creek.
From here, the grade begins to increase. Cross the creek and continue up a steeper slope, still on good trail, until you reach a small saddle. If you intend to summit San Luis Peak, bear west, leaving the Stewart Creek Trail and heading up the San Luis Peak Trail
at around 12,800 ft. If you bear left at the junction, you'll descend down the other side of the saddle, one mile down excellent switchbacking trail. Cross over some drainages before reaching the Colorado Trail, leaving this trail both west and east.
From aspens and conifers down low, to pikas and marmots up high, there's plenty to see here.