This starting section of the Tabeguache Trail also serves as an arterial route for the Dry Creek Canyon Trails network by providing access to the top of several trails.
This is not ideal for running, but is necessary to use parts of it to access some areas of this trail network.
This segment uses a variety of road types. Ranging from a majority two-track, 4WD-accessible road to a logging road, and the occasional singletrack stretch, this segment marks the departure from the Montrose foothills into the Uncompahgre National Forest. Toward the end of the run (around mile 8), look for a transition in flora as pinyon pine are replaced with ponderosa pine and serviceberry and Utah juniper begin to disappear in favor of scrub oak.
This segment initially follows the Rim Road before dropping into Dry Creek Canyon. At mile 3 turn right then descend and cross Dry Creek on the Ralph Files bridge. The route then follows a two track and climbs. Turn right at the next two intersections. Steep segments as the trail narrows to ATV-width.
Once on Cushman Mesa follow two track to intersection at mile 8. Turn left and follow two track up to the USFS/BLM shared boundary at mile 11.7. The trail soon narrows to singletrack as it crosses Cushman Creek. At mile 12.6 the singletrack merges with another two track. Turn right and follow two track bearing left at forks in the road until connecting with the graveled Transfer Road at mile 13.5.