Mushroom Rock

Distance2.22 mi
Elevation Gain807 ft
My Time1 hr 13 min
DifficultyModerate
Closest TownCarbondale
Food Nearby19th St. Diner

Mushroom Rock

My first trip to the Carbondale and Glenwood Springs area had me searching for a good place to stop and hike. I was just beginning my Utah State Parks road trip and was ready to take a break and was lucky enough to find the Red Hill Park and Mushroom Rock Trail. I was really surprised by the views and quality of this very busy trail.

Getting Started

There are several ways up to the summit of Mushroom Rock from the parking area. It is important to keep an eye on the sign posts as some of the trails are mountain bike only. The first half mile is pretty easy to keep track of with only one main option to get up the hill. At the half mile point you will have a couple of options. One thing I couldn’t get over was the view of Mount Sopris even from this lower section.

A snow covered Mount Sopris sitting over the town of Carbondale as seen from the lower section of the Mushroom Rock trail

The Central Loop

Once you make it to the half mile mark you have the option of either going on the northern or southern half of the loop. Both side will make it to the Mushroom Rock but the northern section is a little bit steeper. I took the southern up and the northern back down.

The southern section has a consistent uphill in the 10-15% grade range with a peak in the low 20% mark. The northern section is more in the consistent 20% grades. So neither path is un-hikeable so you can’t go wrong.

The half dirt and half rock trail leading up to the Mushroom Rock summit.

This look will last about a third of mile before you get to the final push to the Mushroom Rock.

The Final Push

The final push up to the summit of Mushroom Rock was a lot harder than I was expecting on such a short trail. This last push is only a third of a mile long but you will have to climb up 300 feet of elevation with a stretch of grades in the low 30% range. So it does get steep. There are also some rocks around the area that you will have to step over so having some good hiking shoes would be a good idea.

Some giant boulders sitting on the edge of the trail on the Mushroom Rock hike.  The boulders are a red tint to match the red dirt trail below.

The Summit

It is possible to walk out onto the Mushroom Rocks but that is a question that I didn’t need answered on this day. For one I am pretty scared of heights and the trail freaked me out. Two, this was my first stop on the trip and I didn’t want to end it so soon! Here are the rocks if you decide to take the walk yourself.

The small stacked rocks that look like Mushrooms that give the name Mushroom Rock to this trail.

Now just because I didn’t go down to the rocks doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the view from the top. The summit gives you some amazing views of the Carbondale Valley and Mount Sopris. It really was lovely area and on my first trip I was really impressed.

From here the trail does continue up the mountain but most of the people that I saw were turning around and heading down after the rocks. There are several inter-connecting trails in this mountain park so there should be plenty to keep you busy! Keep an eye on the signs on the way down to make sure that you stay on a hiking path and don’t have to deal with the speeding bikes coming down the hill!

Video

I’m trying to shoot a bit more video of the hikes to give you a better feel. If you are interested in more of my video’s make sure to check out my YouTube Channel.

Elevation and Distance

If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 2.22 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 807 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 6,976 feet. I was also moving for a total of 1 hours and 13 minutes.

Effort

This was a nice hike but it did get steep in sections (almost 40% grade!) and overall it is a consistent uphill climb. There are also several trail options that can get a little confusing as you are making your way up the trail. Here are some stats from my Garmin Instinct watch.

My average pace for the Mushroom rock trail was 44 minutes a mile which is pretty slow while I dealt with the elevation.

Terrain

The trail to Mushroom rock is well defined and packed dirt with a soft sandy top. A few sections of also have rocks that you will need to climb up and over. The incline (or decline depending on which way you are going) mixed with a bit of a sandy trail made for some slick sections. I recommend a good hiking shoe with a some decent grip to them.

Access

The Mushroom Rock trail is located in the town of Carbondale, Colorado in the Red Hill Recreation area. This is located at the junction of highways 82 and 133. There is a two tiered dirt parking area that holds about 30 cars. There is also a port-o-potty available at the trailhead.

Wrapping up Mushroom Rock

Mushroom Rock was a great little hike that was more challenging than I was expecting. This is a shorter hike with some amazing views. I like how it has some woods in the center section that provide some cover from the sun.

The park is really busy and their were a ton of people on the trail around noon on a Wednesday so I am sure it is very busy during peak times. It is steeper than I thought it would be and had me huffing and puffing a few times. Overall, a nice hike close to both Glenwood Springs and Carbondale with easy access and a good amount of parking.

I have added this hike and all of my hikes to the interactive map page you can find here. If you have any suggestions for hikes or comments feel free to email me at fatmanlittletrails@gmail.com. You can follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!

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