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Hiking Near Grand Junction

Information on peaks other than the CO 14ers and 13ers.

Hiking Near Grand Junction

Postby highplaces » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:33 am

I'm planning for some hikes near the Grand Junction area and have come up with these.

-CO Nat'l Monument: Monument Canyon Trail
-CO Nat'l Monument: Black Ridge Trail
-Devils Canyon Trail near Fruita
-Rattlesnake Canyon Trail

And maybe the Crags Crest Trail (Grand Mesa). I'm concerned that with elevation near 11,000 I could be potentially be looking at snow and cold temps (for this trip I don’t want to carry gear for those conditions). But, maybe I’m way off on that.

Are these good ideas? Any others you’d suggest? Looking to head somewhere warm and do day hikes to explore totally different terrain than the mountains I’ve been in.

Thanks!

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Re: Hiking Near Grand Junction

Postby Brian C » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:36 am

If it is dry up there Mee Canyon is one of the best hikes in the area.
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Re: Hiking Near Grand Junction

Postby csmcgranahan » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:39 am

I have hiked up Mt. Garfield on the south end of the Book Cliffs twice and have enjoyed both trips. It is pretty steep - climbing around 2,000 feet in two miles or so. My only advice is don't attempt it after recent rain or if rain is likely because some of the trail passes through soil that gets sticky/slippery when wet. There is good beta for the trailhead and the hike over on summitpost.org.

I have done Crag Crest and it is very nice but I would be concerned about snow as well. Colorado National Monument is a pretty nice drive but I haven't hiked there.

Re: Hiking Near Grand Junction

Postby highplaces » Mon Oct 11, 2010 1:52 pm

Thanks csmcgranahan, I'll look into that one.

Brian C wrote:If it is dry up there Mee Canyon is one of the best hikes in the area.


Starting from the Mee Canyon TH, following the Mee Canyon all the way to the Colorado River and then back. Looks to me like it would be about 10-11 miles roundtrip, does that sound about right? Is it pretty straighforward? I'm assuming you just stay down and follow the canyon the entire way?

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Re: Hiking Near Grand Junction

Postby Brian C » Mon Oct 11, 2010 4:14 pm

highplaces wrote:Thanks csmcgranahan, I'll look into that one.

Brian C wrote:If it is dry up there Mee Canyon is one of the best hikes in the area.


Starting from the Mee Canyon TH, following the Mee Canyon all the way to the Colorado River and then back. Looks to me like it would be about 10-11 miles roundtrip, does that sound about right? Is it pretty straighforward? I'm assuming you just stay down and follow the canyon the entire way?


Be sure to take a map. The best part is the alcove and you do not have to go all the way to the river to get there (not saying it's not beautiful past it too). The trail is straightforward but be prepared to make a few route-finding calls on your own. When I was in there last the trail had become a bit vague in places but not hard to follow if you keep out an eye for cairns, faint trails, etc. The path to the bottom of the canyon involves some scrambling (class 2+ maybe 3) but it is all minimal and that is where the trail is a little confusing. Once in the bottom of the canyon just follow it down towards the river to the alcove. You can't miss it.
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Re: Hiking Near Grand Junction

Postby Bill Cummings » Mon Oct 11, 2010 5:14 pm

In CNM, I was pretty bored with the Black Ridge Trail hike. I'd recommend the Ute Canyon hike instead, which is really pretty. (The Monument Canyon Trail was also great.)

One of the rangers also recommended the No Thoroughfare Canyon Trail, which I haven't done yet. It's a long one--8.5 mi one way.

If you haven't already been to CNM, I'd also recommend doing the 23-mile Rim Rock Drive and some of the shorter trails off of it--a good way to spend a rest day!
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Re: Hiking Near Grand Junction

Postby Garrett » Mon Oct 11, 2010 11:36 pm

I would agree with the Ute canyon trail or Liberty cap trail as well. Independence monument or Monument canyon trail is nice also and shows you some of the best parts of the monument. I would recommend starting at the bottom for this one, expect to see some desert bighorns here as well. Another good canyon hike is Bangs canyon. This isn't in the Colorado national monument but is a very nice canyon. It is located on Little park road and most people hike to an abondoned Mica mine and turn around (~2 miles RT). There is a trail that continues beyond this which allows you to go farther. Best of luck GJ has a lot of good hiking.

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Re: Hiking Near Grand Junction

Postby winglady » Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:57 am

Bill Cummings wrote:One of the rangers also recommended the No Thoroughfare Canyon Trail, which I haven't done yet. It's a long one--8.5 mi one way.

I've hiked up No Thoroughfare a number of times to the 2nd large waterfall and then just turned around from there. I also hiked down No Thoroughfare with a car shuttle. The upper portion (above the 2nd large waterfall) has many stretches with no discernible trail at all, and it was sometimes difficult to figure out where we needed to be -- e.g. stay high or drop down into the bottom of the canyon.

Frankly, I felt the scenery was much better in the lower portions of the canyon anyway. I'd recommend just doing the lower part.
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Re: Hiking Near Grand Junction

Postby highplaces » Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:59 pm

Thanks everyone for the suggestions and ideas!

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Re: Hiking Near Grand Junction

Postby rocky » Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:11 am

Stop at the CNM Park Headquarters and ask for the BLM map to Rattlesnake Canyon. The natural sandstone arches are wonderful! Do not drive out the 4WD road if it has rained recently or if rain is forecast. The road gets very muddy and slimy. I've always parked out at the beginning of the 4WD road, ridden a mountain bike out to the trailhead and hiked from there.

Here is a link to the Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rattlesnake_Canyon_(Colorado)

Have fun - Grand Junction has some wonderful hiking available!
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Re: Hiking Near Grand Junction

Postby highplaces » Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:28 am

rocky wrote:Stop at the CNM Park Headquarters and ask for the BLM map to Rattlesnake Canyon. The natural sandstone arches are wonderful! Do not drive out the 4WD road if it has rained recently or if rain is forecast. The road gets very muddy and slimy. I've always parked out at the beginning of the 4WD road, ridden a mountain bike out to the trailhead and hiked from there.

Here is a link to the Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rattlesnake_Canyon_(Colorado)

Have fun - Grand Junction has some wonderful hiking available!


Thanks Rocky! I've been trying to download a few maps from here (http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/nca/mcnca/recreation/Hiking.html), but they all return as 404 errors (I called and let BLM know).

I've got Rattlesnake Canyon on my list. It seems there are 2 THs (Pollock Bench and Rattlesnake Arches). It sounds like you are talking about starting from Rattlesnake Arches TH. Is that the better route to take? I talked to BLM who said they'd not had any rains recently, so that is encouraging for driving up.

Which way would you recommend doing the loop? I'm assuming the loop would be better than an out and back along the same route.

Thanks!

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Re: Hiking Near Grand Junction

Postby Scott P » Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:54 pm

IMHO, the best hikes in the area (it looks like you have most of them) are:

Mee Canyon
Rattlesnake Canyon
Monument Canyon
Devils Canyon

The best part (Mee Canyon) is the alcove and you do not have to go all the way to the river to get there (not saying it's not beautiful past it too).


I would say it's certainly one of the best parts. I also really like the impressive towers (easily as impressive as anything in the Needles of Canyonlands for example), in the lower end. It's an overnight trip to get there though.

As far as Rattlesnake Canyon goes, whether or not you do it from the top or bottom (Pollock Bench) depends on whether or not you want a long or short hike and more driving. THe lower TH is a longer hike, but is really accessible (it was within walking distance of our old house). It has some really nice views and scenery along the way and an extra arch. It takes all day though. If you start from the top instead you will have time to go all the way down Rattlesnake Canyon to the river. Both routes are different, but good in their own way.

As far as the loop goes, it really doesn't matter which direction it is hiked. There is one steep scramble, but it shouldn't be a problem for most hikers.
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