Explore the most popular wildlife trails near Grand Junction with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
1 day ago

I would rate this easy, maybe at most slightly moderate when it comes to hiking and I’m an absolute beginner. The beginning doesn’t offer much scenery, but the views get better as you go on. We got off the beaten trail a little, but my group and I had a lot of fun on this trail!

We did this hike on Oct 31, 2018. We drove out to the trailhead in a front wheel drive Nissan Rogue rental car with about 10” of ground clearance. We took the lower canyon road and although it’s a bit rough, it’s not a difficult drive for anyone with experience driving on dirt roads, From the point where the upper canyon and lower canyon roads converge, the road gets a bit rougher. The conditions were dry and the lower part of the road was pretty easily passable for a little over two miles. At that point, we came to a ~14” rocky drop off spanning the whole road that we didn’t want to risk in our rental car. At that point, there’s a tun out with a parking area on the right. From there, it’s only about a ten minute walk to the official trailhead. The best views are gained by taking the trail down the backside of the mesa to the right. The hike goes counter clockwise around the mesa with spectacular views of the arches after about 1.5 miles. It’s a pretty easy hike but take plenty of water—particularly if it’s hot. The climb out through the last arch is not for the faint of heart. I’m a technical rock climber and soloing the 200’ of dirt covered friction climbing in my approach shoes had my full attention. I thought that the hardest move might have been 5.5 or maybe even 5.6. It’s not super hard but the consequences of a slip would be bad. It’s doable but I personally wouldn’t recommend it for most folks—particularly for those without any climbing experience. If you don’t want to risk the climb out, just turn around and backtrack to get out. The views from the top of the mesa are good as well (but not as good as from below.). Either way, there’s a lot to see and explore in this area! Overall this is an A+ hike. Highly recommended!

Did the shorter Wedding Canyon > Lower Monument Trail loop (about 5 miles) and can't wait to go back and explore more. Still pretty warm even when technically the temp wasn't far above 70° but the trail was relatively easy (lots of young families out there). The trail had pretty heavy traffic in spots, so I'll be interested to see if it's as busy on the more challenging trails.

backpacking
24 days ago

Awesome hike! Very strenuous especially with a 40 pound pack. Don’t listen to people saying you can’t climb through the last arch to make it a loop. You most certainly can, it’s just for experienced hikers.

Best hikes ever !

Great hike. Boring beginnings, but once you’re in the canyon, everything is gorgeous. Saw a large herd of sheep. Well marked and easily managed.

hiking
26 days ago

10/20/2018 - Hiked the main trail plus the Coke Oven side trail and a bit of the back side of Independence Monument, about 13.5 miles total. Trail and scenery is quite nice and the day was perfectly blue sky, not one cloud to be seen.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked from lower monument via the wedding trail to the upper monument and back. Approx 12 miles round trip. Would highly recommend! Views are incredible, terrain was easily managed by an amateur hiker like me. Start early while it's still cool out (I went 9/16) because it does get pretty warm during day. Bring LOTS of water as well. We did happen to see one big horn sheep too.

The path is beautiful and well maintained but the scenery definitely is not. Love that this trail begins and ends at a brewery though. Cheers!

road biking
2 months ago

Rode Rim Rock Dr from the east entrance to the west entrance, and then finished the 'Tour of the Moon' loop via public roads Broadway, S Broadway and S Camp Rd. The route outside the park is well-signed. Traffic was light on this weekday ride, and the views were awesome. Lights are required due to 3 tunnels.

hiking
3 months ago

Thanks everyone for their reviews on this place. I’d call it an easy to moderate trail depending on if you add on extra legs. Lots of trails to explore. No tree cover and it can get hot. Loved the trail and views. A very nice mountain bike park that allows hikers and horses. I did see a sign stating no E-Bikes. Overall nice place to explore and nice views.

hiking
3 months ago

Nice way to see some of CNM's formations up close. Some shade along the trail but not a ton, so lots of water and starting early are musts in August. Unfortunately, not much wildlife our morning. We started at the upper trailhead and went to Independence Monument (~3.5 miles) before turning around and heading back. Note that this trail is ~12 miles round-trip (upper to lower trailhead or vice versa, then back) and not 6.8 or 10.9 as listed here.

hiking
3 months ago

My family and I loved it !

3 months ago

This is one of my favorite hikes in the valley. I quit often see the big horn sheep in this valley. It always takes a lot longer to do this hike when I stop and watch the sheep.

a nice hike into a shallow canyon and out again. I rate it on the low end of moderate. nice view of Grand junction and Fruita. this is also be a good bike trail for the beginner to intermediate rider. very close to Grand junction.

Hot one today. 98 degrees at 3 pm!!! Still a great trail with tons of variety.

on Rim Rock Drive

5 months ago

Nice afternoon drive with great views Grandchildren found lots to explore

5 months ago

This is a seriously fun trail for biking. Shuttle it!

scenic driving
5 months ago

Beautiful drive. Lots of view points, hiking trails to keep you going all day. Hiked 5 of the shorter hikes during the 5 hour drive on the way home

Spectacular views! A challenge but definitely worth it. Plan ahead, stop at the Colorafo National Monument visitor center or the BLM office and get a map. Road from CMN to the trailhead (upper) is steep and rocky, and you won't get all the way to the trailhead unless you have serious high clearance 4WD. I got within about 3/4 mile in a Forester. Minimal road and trail markings; map and a hiking app essential. Hike is mostly flat with a couple (short) steep and "are you serious?!!" portions. At the "first arch" sign, find the trail to the right to descend the mesa and hike around the backside. As soon as you round the end of the mesa you will begin seeing to the 7-9 arches. I was told you can't make it a loop so round-trip was 6.5 miles; but a (younger!) group I met on the way back was told you can scramble back up just past the first (last) arch. Oh, well! Watch the weather. I had some overcast and it was great -- but if sunny it would be incredibly hot. And the road could be impassible if muddy.

backpacking
5 months ago

This is definitely not a moderate hike. There were some sketchy ledges where you have be very careful and make sure you have a really good grip. Granted, we had a 30 lbs pack because we were backpacking so if you're just doing a day hike it would probably be easier. Also, bring lots and lots of water. It gets very hot and there are no sources of water. Whatever you think you'll need, double it. It was a very pretty hike with lots of beautiful scenery and not a lot of people on the trail. Overall, we had a blast.

Footnote: With lightweight packs and trail running shoes made it a 5.2 slab free solo climb.

Great hike with fantastic views of red sandstone walls and formations. We found the trail pretty easy to navigate other than when we arrived at Pollack Canyon. What helped us immensely is that we saw the trail sign in the bottom of the canyon which helped us navigate down the cliff on a trail marked with cairns to the trail sign. When going or coming, it is helpful to look for cairns and the trail sign in the canyon to help you navigate. We also found climbing through the 1st arch to be about a 5.2 free solo climb. Short but definitely not for someone without rock climbing experience. The weather on our hike was moderate with cloud cover most of the day. Even with that we each drank about 3 liters of water. Definitely worth the hike but also very challenging for someone who’s not used to navigating a trail and does not like exposure.

on Rattlesnake Arches Trail

6 months ago

Beautiful hike but not well marked at all. Bring plenty of water and be careful when getting on slanted rocks to locate trail, slipped on loose rock and broke my leg on this trail 3 miles in! My friend and I were so lost trying to get me out. Trails need to be marked better.

Absolutely beautiful hike! A few points I will make, I would say this is closer to 15 miles round trip so BE PREPARED! Double the water you think you need and allow for 7-8 hours for round trip. The trail is not well marked in many places, we were lost for half of a very terrible hour. The way out is worth the effort, the way back is tiresome. Not sure I’ll do this again. A gps device is highly recommended for this hike.

Wide variety of opinions on this trail. I found it to be a destination hike. I didn't expect much to see enroute to the arch but instead found it to be gorgeous all the way in. A lot of varied scenery, nice canyons, overlooks with views. I also found the trail easy to follow and had no trouble staying on route.

I would agree I would not try to climb out unless experienced with class 5 climbing. Further the effort to ascend under the arch and then descend again back to the trail would not be worth the energy expended doing it.

Overall a great hike. Recommend to all.

backpacking
6 months ago

Lovely views while hiking the canyon ridge. Got completely lost after turning right at the R1 sign hiked past the sign with some difficult rock climbs up and down with an overnight pack. Lost the trail
Several times and never found our way down into the canyon. I wonder if the sign was incorrect? App didn’t seem to be working at the tome. If we are ever back in western co will try it again!

hiking
6 months ago

The trail is great with some incredible views of the valley. However, the hike was no joke. Moderate is a very kind way of putting it. Some of the climbs were fairly intense and the markers were scarce. If you plan on doing this hike know the following:
1. The hike is closer to 14-15 miles if you are starting from the PB parking lot.
2. Take whatever water you think is appropriate, double that and then bring more. Trust me.
3. Allow for at least 6 hours to complete.
4. The arches are over rated IMO. The views of the valley just prior to reaching them were way better.
5. Dont listen to someone if they say you can climb "through" the final arch. You cant
6. Bring a gps device. The trail markings are non existent in a few critical areas. Without one you wont be able to find where you need to go

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