Hartman Rocks – A Different View of Colorado near Gunnison

July 2023 – During our stay in Gunnison, Colorado (our jumping off point to see the incredible wildflowers in nearby Crested Butte!) we visited Hartman Rocks Recreation Area just south of town. Hartman Rocks is a 22 square mile recreation area managed by the Bureau of Land management. It is filled with 4×4 roads, hiking and biking trails, camping areas and exotic outcroppings of rocks. And it’s a very different kind of landscape than the soaring mountain peaks of the Rockies.

Hartman Rocks Colorado RV trip

Hartman Rocks shows off a different side of Colorado — no towering snowcapped peaks here!

We drove our RZR side-by-side on some of the many 4×4 roads and stopped frequently to crawl around on the various rock formations.

Side-by-side at Hartman Rocks Colorado

Hartman Rocks Recreation Area is filled with 4×4 trails and roads.

View at Hartman Rocks Colorado

Huge boulders poke up out of the earth here and there.

There are some golf course communities just beyond the edge of Hartman Rocks Recreation Area that made a wonderful lush green contrast to the arid desert rocks.

Hartman Rocks Colorado

From our arid vantage point at Hartman Rocks, the lush golf course communities looked very inviting!

Golf course view from Hartman Rocks Colorado


There are 50 dry campsites scattered throughout Hartman Rocks. The most picturesque spots are tucked between the rock formations and are a good size for tent camping.

Tent camping at Hartman Rocks Colorado

Some of the most scenic campsites at Hartman Rocks are set between the boulders, ideal for tent camping.

We did find two or three campsites that would have been big enough for our trailer, but it was way too hot for boondocking in the dusty high desert in July!!

Even though Gunnison, Colorado, is at 7,700’ elevation, we were surprised by just how HOT it was in the summertime. After all, Gunnison’s record high for the month of July is 95 degrees Fahrenheit! For August it’s 105!! Temps hovered in the low 90s during our stay.

But of course, every summer is different. The record lows in this area are the mid-30s…brrr! So, be prepared for any kind of weather!

The bottom line for us, though, is that Hartman Rocks would be better for boondocking in the spring and fall, especially since there’s no shade in the bigger campsites we saw.

Hartman Rocks Colorado

We had fun climbing around on the boulders.

View between the trees at Hartman Rocks Colorado


Regardless of the heat, mountain bikers were having fun out on the trails…

Mountain biking at Hartman Rocks Colorado

There are 45 miles of single track mountain biking trails at Hartman Rocks!

And Buddy found a shady spot by a rock to take in the view.

Happy puppy at Hartman Rocks Colorado

Buddy found a bit of shade that was just his size.

Happy Camper Holding Tank Treatment

We returned at the end of the day as the sun was beginning to set and the rocks were beginning to glow. Buddy still kept to the shady spots.

Puppy explores Hartman Rocks Colorado

The rock formations took on a beautiful golden hue at the end of the day.

We loved seeing the rocks light up in the late afternoon sun.

Golden hour at Hartman Rocks Colorado


There were rolling hills in the distance and mountains further on. The main 4×4 road through the recreation area squiggled off into the distance while flowers poked their heads out from between the cracks.

Rolling hills at Hartman Rocks Colorado

The views from within Hartman Rocks range from lush green grass to rolling hills to neighborhoods in the distance.

View from Hartman Rocks Colorado

Good evening, Gunnison!

Flowers at Hartman Rocks Colorado


This whole area is definitely a dog paradise. Buddy was happy to meet several new furry friends. In between tail wags and sniffs with these new companions, he kept a close eye out for mice and chipmunks in the rocks!

Puppy sees the view at Hartman Rocks Colorado

“I know there’s a mouse out there!”

Suddenly, the sun sank behind the horizon.

Sunset glow at Hartman Rocks Colorado


The colors and patterns of the sunset were a little different in each direction.

Sunset at Hartman Rocks Colorado


Views at Hartman Rocks Colorado


Hking Trail at Hartman Rocks Colorado


Sunset at Hartman Rocks Colorado


We headed back to the trailer for dinner. We were staying at Palisade Senior RV Park (55+). It is a very quiet park in a quiet corner of town, and most of the guests were staying for at least a month. Many were there for the whole season. We even met groups of friends who had been spending summers together at the park for the last 10 or 15 years!

Moon RV USA Routes

We appreciated the lush grassy lawn and big shade trees at this RV park as well as the proximity to downtown Gunnison.

We were fortunate to be visiting the area during the new moon, so after dinner, we headed back to Hartman Rocks to see the Milky Way. We stumbled around a little on the uneven terrain, but the night was clear and the Milky Way was easy to see.

Millky Way at Hartman Rocks Colorado


On our way home, Mark noticed a very cool old motel sign, a throwback to another era.

Cool hotel sign at night Gunnison Colorado

They just don’t put signs like this on motels any more. We have expected the lower electric sign to say, “Color TV!”

While we were in this area, we spent as much time a possible among the wildflowers up in Crested Butte where the temps are cooler (Crested Butte is at 8.900’ elevation).

On our way, we often stopped at Mochas Coffeehouse & Bakery to get a muffin to go. They make absolutely scrumptious muffins!

Gunnison Sign in the IOOF Park in Gunnison Colorado

We really liked this small park in the middle of Gunnison.

There is a lot to see at Hartman Rocks Recreation Area (in addition to the 45 miles of single track trails, there’s 45 miles of 4×4 roads too!). We hope to get back there when it’s not so hot to explore it a bit more in depth!

RV hose Water Bandit

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8 thoughts on “Hartman Rocks – A Different View of Colorado near Gunnison

  1. What unusual rock formations. Loved the pic of the Milky Way! Colorado has so many varied areas to discover while rv’ing. Most we stumble upon. Those are the best finds that we remember.

  2. Such a variety of rock/boulder formations – and then the verdant golf courses….definitely a very different landscape. Buddy certainly picks the best shade to show off his handsome coat. And the vintage motel sign tweaks my heart….Love, Mom

    • It’s a neat spot and quite a surprise amid all the tall mountains. Buddy’s like I was as a kid, lying on the hot rocks to warm up for a few minutes and then cooling off — in the shade for him and the ocean for me! And isn’t that old motel sign fun? Such a reminder of yesteryear. xoxo


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