NOTE: we dropped an orange blow-up sleeping pad in the Little Dominguez canyon. If anyone happened to find it please let us know at (720) 724-4614‬. We hiked this over Memorial Day weekend and had a blast. Greg's description of the descent is pretty accurate, we were able to get down from above Little Dominguez canyon on the south side of No Mans Mesa with minimal confusion. The wash does get pretty steep and so do expect some sliding and down climbing. There was still water in both Big and Little Dominguez canyons but the flow isn't significant. There was no water at all on the upper mesa/wagon park so we carried water between the campground and Little Dominguez canyon. Also of note, the Big Dominguez was pretty crowded (probably due to being a holiday weekend) but the Little Dominguez was much more secluded. We didn't see a soul on the stretch between the campground and the Little Dominguez canyon.

Completed ultra-running style on May 23rd with a buddy and had the route as 39.4 miles with ~4300ft of gain. Greg's description and route data was absolutely crucial. I loaded Greg's route into my watch to follow and identify turns and places where the trail ran thin. A couple of comments on tricky sections down below. The first 15 miles are straightforward with even the less traveled parts farther from trailheads being easy to follow. First tweak - reaching the campground around mile 15. instead of going across the road we immediately turned left onto the atv road through camp, waded through the water and followed that up the climb. Next deviation was in one of the fields, for us mile 25.5. On the Alltrails data, it is the bulge in the gps data around mile 26.7. Here, the trail you were following goes straight into the field and dead ends, the alltrail version goes to the right before looping back left. I recommend veering left and heading up the little hill to re-meet the trail. Wandering through the field will likely get you stuck with cacti with almost too many to dodge. Starting around mile 28 for us, the trail runs out. This leaves you picking your way through scrub land, crust, dry streams and debris. We didn't find a very efficient way through even looking at Greg's and Alltrails data. It might be beneficial to set a waypoint and pick your way towards it rather than follow a specific gps line. Greg's comment on the technical section around mile 31 is right on. If you are not yet in a slot in the rocks with walls on each side, you are not in the difficult part. work your way down some steep, but fairly open sections using the gps again as a guide but not an exact trail. If you reach a 6+ foot drop in the slot, scramble up the incline to the right and continue to pick your way across the scree. Once down the technical portion be prepared for sandier trail and your first chance for water since possibly mile 15/16. Be prepared to not see water from the campground to mile 31. We also didn't see a single person through this section. This route was a little more difficult that it reads on paper given how much the first third of the trail winds up to the campground and how tight turns are. Miles 25-31 are slower as well given the navigation and increased presence of cacti and technical sections.

20 days ago

Pretty view!!

I've been milling around this area and doing this loop for the past month or so and hope I can clarify the route/conditions/water etc..... I'm gonna try to be fairly brief so please read other reviews/breakdowns before you set out. I'll say this right out of the gate, the questionable mile 31 section is totally fine so long as your are reasonably fit, don't have a crazy heavy backpack, and have the patients to read terrain a little. More on that later The first 15 miles up Big Dominguez are easy flowing, well maintained trail. You might lose the trail once when you get into the less travel zone around mile 9 through 13, but its super easy to pick up again and your in a canyon so hard to get lost. You know your nearing Dominguez Campground when the trail widens and you start to see uncollected dog shit bags. The campground is primitive but has some nice picnic tables, privies, flat campsites. There have been varying levels of campers the times I've passed by, better camping to be had either a few miles before this or a few after. There are two privies (concrete portajohns), both of which are currently locked due to Covid (where are people pooping then??.....). Pro-Tip, someone unscrewed the hinges off one of the doors. I suspect the BLM will get these going soon. Once you get the the campground cross the dirt road right where the trail hits it and pick up the trail as it trespass through two campsites and over a newly constructed bridge. This is the last obvious water for about 16 miles. The cow ponds and streams that I've seen mentioned in other reviews dont exists as of right now. There is a spring labeled Steamboat Spring around mile 23 or 24 but I forgot to check it the times I came through, was in the zone. Be prepared to carry about 16 miles worth of water. From there follow the road as it ascends sharply, giving you a killer view of Big Dominguez Canyon. Just before the left turn on road 408.3B is a nice camp spot, though looks frequented by ATV/Moto/4wd campers. Follow 408.3B as it climbs and weaves it's way across the plateau, trending right at the two forks. This dumps you onto Wagon Park road which is in fairly good shape and has nice gradual descent. A few easy miles pass and you'll see some corral infrastructure, the road takes you over an earthen dam that once held a cattle pond. The road then continues left but you'll leave it here and join Upper Bar Trail, which is not marked except for the smaller marker that says administrative use only. The next few miles are fairly easy to follow, though the trail does become faint at times and will eventually become extremely faint. If you have a keen eye you can keep on the trail for 90% of this section but you'll definitely need to check the GPS at times to make sure you are on or close. Be careful of off trail travel here with all the cryptobiotic crust and camo cactus. When your nearing mile 31 you'll follow a few small washes until you reach what should be the fairly obvious problem area. Once you reach the steep/cliffy portion definitely use the GPS to be sure you are in the correct vaccinity. If you choose your line right you shouldn't need to jump off anything more than 2 feet high. There is some confusion for me on how it was intended that you get down this section. The USGS map has you going around the north side of No Mans Mesa, but I went that direction the first time around and couldn't find an easy way down (though I will admit I didn't look that hard). Instead try for the south side of No Man's Mesa, which is the side you are at anyways. The most simple way to do this is to aim for the obvious wash between where you are and No Mans Mesa. Do some easy downclimbing and some light sliding to reach the wash. Follow the wash, over some trees/debris, down some 2/3 foot drops until you reach a dorp that is too high to jump down. From here scramble on the loose shale to your right for 100 yards or so and you'll come to several options for descending the remainder safely. Fun! Now you are in Little Dominguez Canyon! The creek should now be obvious as is the rest of the trail. Lots of good campsites in the next few miles and great spots to chill and soak your feet. The canyon widens significantly as work your way back toward Big Dominguez and has some really spectacular views, especially in the spring. This area has a ton of little trails and old roads weaving across it but they all get you to where you need to be. Total miles on my recording were 38.2 with 4,334 feet of climbing. For those that are into the long distance running thing this is a cool route for that and I'll be submitting my time as the initial FKT (fastest known time) at 10hours 35min 21seconds. Most proficient ultra runners would beat that time easily and I'm hoping to better it this fall. Also, gezz are you tired of me yet? This got long.

Some good views of the Gunnison River but otherwise unremarkable. Would be great for trail running or beginner hikers.

hiking
bugs
no shade
off trail
rocky
scramble
29 days ago

Awesome for biking! Challenge since I was a beginner but nailed it!

No shade, so definitely bring plenty of water. Killer river views

A very easy trail with a few cool views... I give this 4 stars because it’s a fantastic trail to come do a quick hike in the morning and get some fitness in.

hiking
1 month ago

great views of the canyon ! stunning

2 months ago

easy to do with kida

kind of steep in the beginning but an overall beautiful trail

hiking
bugs
icy
muddy
off trail
rocky
scramble
snow
3 months ago

A mostly unimpressive hike, except for the stretches overlooking the gunnison river.

hiking
muddy
no shade
off trail
rocky
4 months ago

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