The North Fork Valley offers hundreds of hiking, biking, camping, hunting, fishing, swimming, and viewing options. Below are a few of our favorites, but a more comprehensive list may be found through the Paonia Chamber of Commerce. The USDA also keeps a list of forest service offerings in the area, which may be found here.
- Hike Mt. Lamborn (the mountain in the pictures) via Bell Creek. This 8-mile day-hike takes you to the top of Mt. Lamborn’s 11,396ft peak. The view of the valley is beautiful and expansive, but don’t forget your trail map! This trail can be a little misleading for first-timers.
- Mountain Bike Jumbo Mountain. Considered one of the best (and least-known) singletrack areas in the state, Jumbo Mountain features rugged but flowy desert-style ridgeline riding. Stop at the Hammock to watch the resident Bald Eagles before braving the Ridge of Doom. Need a bike? Cirque Cyclery in downtown Paonia has you covered with a good selection of townie, mountain, and electric bicycles, as well as bicycle repairs and maintenance. And while you’re there, grab a delicious fresh-pressed juice and panini from Remedy!
- The Black Canyon of the Gunnison North Rim. The North Rim offers stunning vistas of the geology and scale of the Black Canyon, a canyon narrower and deeper than the Grand Canyon. Several hiking trails of varying difficulty levels allow access to different viewpoints. The park is also known for its Rainbow Trout fishing and rock climbing, though access for these activities is more difficult and restricted. Click here for more information.
- Boat/Fish Paonia Reservoir. The Paonia Reservoir is a long, narrow reservoir located in the Paonia State Park. Boats are allowed for most of the summer, and trout fishing here is a frequent pastime of locals. The best fish are below the dam, but nothing beats a leisurely canoe ride down the reservoir between the surrounding mountains.
- Visit some of the farms and orchards in the valley. The North Fork Valley contains the highest concentration of organic, sustainable farmers in the state. Take a trip to a few of the farms to speak directly with growers and obtain the ingredients to create your own farm-to-table dinner! For more information, please visit the Valley Organic Growers Association.