Eight years later, these activities a big part of my life, mostly on weekends, but none of them have worked their way into my everyday life as much as playing disc golf has. You could say I came for the fishing, but stayed for the disc golf. From Mountain Village and Telluride to Montrose, Olathe and Gateway, Colorado’s Western Slope is full of chain-clanking disc golf fun. It’s a unique way to experience the outdoors.
For those who have never played, disc golf is simple. First, get yourself an actual disc golf disc. You can play with your backyard Frisbee, but it’s really not that cool. There are plenty of retail shops in the region that sell disc golf discs. Once you have one in hand, go to the first tee box and let it rip. The object is to shoot your disc into the basket (or hit the target) in as few shots as possible.
It doesn’t take much to have a great afternoon out on a disc golf course. You need at least one disc, preferably a driver, and if you have the means, a putter as well. You need some walking shoes, perhaps a six-pack of cold beverages, and a desire to have some relaxing fun, either solo or with a group.
There’s a full 18-hole course along side the Dolores River in Gateway that’s worth discovering. Olathe now has a full 18 course that’s completely unique and all its own. In Montrose, enjoy the banks of the Uncompahgre River and scenic tosses from the top of a hogback. Tossing a round in Mountain Village will have you wondering if discs actually fly further at higher altitude. And if you find yourself in Telluride when Town Park isn’t full of grungy festivarians, take aim at trees and stumps on the nine holes of fun, as well.
Even if you aren’t planning on playing disc, there’s no reason to not carry a couple of discs in the trunk of your car. You never know when you’ll have just the right amount of time to get in nine holes. The best part is, these courses are free. Come for the rafting, hiking, fishing and the festivals, but don’t underestimate the fun to be had chasing the chains throughout the region.
Double Cabin Disc Golf Course, Mountain Village
Type: 18 Holes With Baskets
Location: The Hole 1 tee box is located across Mountain Village Boulevard Town Hall Plaza. A course map can be found online at mountain-village.co.us/DocumentCenter/View/128
The Double Cabin course gives a new use to a few of the Telluride Ski Resort ski runs in the summertime. Throughout the full 18-holes, you’ll find yourself teeing off uphill and then hiking to your disc – uphill, which definitely gets your heart rate up. Take your time; what goes up must come down, and there are several long downhill drive opportunities you don’t want to miss.
Since the course uses several ski runs, there are plenty of exciting wide-open shots where you can really heave your disc. The course varies most where baskets are hidden, in heavily treed areas. This course will remind you time and time again that your focus shouldn’t be on the next basket, but, rather, on the high-alpine scenery that surrounds you. A round of disc golf at dusk can have the added bonus of an alpenglow light show.
Town Park Disc Golf Course, Telluride
Type: 9 Holes, Primitive
Location: Hole 1 tee box located near Town Park’s skateboarding ramp, facing the Town Park stage. A course map can be found online at telluride-co.gov/DocumentCenter/View/28.
OK, so you can’t exactly chase the chains in this primitive disc golf course, but it’s still fun, nonetheless.
Tee boxes are sometimes vague, and may be marked with rocks or branches, so it’s helpful to have a map printed out before you go. The targets are marked with rectangular numbered signs. In playing the nine holes, you’ll work your way around the backside of Telluride Town Park (with one tee box located on the side of the Town Park stage!). Take a moment to think about all the legendary musicians who have stood here, over the years.
From here, it’s a short hike to the top of Firecracker Hill, where a tee-off back down and into the park can offer a long-distance shot. The Hole 9 tee box is located at the base of the small Bear Creek falls – a good place to catch some shade and relax before taking your final shot.
It’s easy to play nine and then play them all over again.
Baldridge Park Disc Golf Course, Montrose
Type: 18 Holes, With Baskets
Location: Hole 1 tee box is located across the Uncompahgre River bridge in Montrose’s Baldridge Park, also known as Riverbottom Park. A course map can be found online at cityofmontrose.org/DocumentCenter/Home/View/118.
If there is a long 18-hole disc golf course that has it all, this is it.
After starting a round on the first hole, you’ll have to shoot at two baskets uphill until you’ve reached the top of the hogback. From there, players will find several holes on top of the hogback before getting to the wide-open hillside shots going back down the hogback. During the summer months, the top of the hogback is a hot, dry place, but don’t worry, you’ll soon be playing alongside the cool waters of the Uncompahgre River.
After the turn (Hole 9), there’s a mix of dangerous riverside shots, pond shots and heavily wooded areas to navigate. For the daring players, bring a disc you are willing to lose. The water shots can be unrelenting.
This course is a gem for disc golfers in the region. It’s long, has great views and it never, ever gets old.
Olathe Disc Golf Course, Olathe
Type: 18 Holes, With Baskets
Location: First tee is located on the southwest portion of Olathe’s Community Park, along side Hwy. 50. Course maps are usually available at the park’s information kiosk.
Home to the Olathe Sweet Corn Festival every summer, the Olathe Community Park is also home to an 18-hole disc golf course that’s as unique as it gets.
Forget that you are playing in close proximity to U.S. Hwy. 50 to the east. This 18-hole course zigzags across the park grounds – complete with elevation changes, stressful water shots and some wide-open long tee shots on the northern end.
If there ever was a putt-putt disc golf course, this would be it. Each and every hole has its own unique characteristic. A basket surrounded by water, Pebble Beach style. Long-range field shots. Short uphill adobe shots. A long – very long – shot off the 18 tee, where the pond could easily steal a disc.
If you are passing through Olathe, this disc golf is worth stopping for.
Dolores River Disc Golf Course, Gateway
Type: 18 Holes, With Baskets
Location: Located at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 141 and the Dolores River in Gateway. The first tee is located on the right side of the river, just after crossing the river if traveling from Whitewater, Colo.
If a middle-of-nowhere, beautiful desert disc golf experience is what you are looking for, the 18 holes on this course are just that.
The course plays alongside the Dolores River with shots through cottonwoods and on sandy beach terrain. It’s relatively easy to follow, but if you don’t watch your disc closely, the vegetation here can make finding a disc harder than you would ever think was possible.
With the slick rock and meandering river characteristics, this is one disc golf course where you’ll want to have your camera with you. Not many disc golfers make weekend trips just to play a course, but with the Gateway Canyons Resort close by, this is the perfect disc golf weekend get away. It doesn’t get much more remote and scenic as this.