Best Hikes In Grand Junction – A walk to the nearby Grand Junction and Fruita will surely amaze you. Huge red rock cliffs jut out from the valley floor to form beautiful gorges surrounded by green pine and juniper. A colorful scene is something only nature can produce.
And the best part? Hiking trails near Great Junction are less than an hour from town.
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Locals don’t say “West Slope, the best slope” for no reason – Grand Junction is truly a hidden gem on Colorado’s hiking scene. Many people skip Fruita and Junction in favor of popular spots like Moab or the San Juans, but that would be a mistake.
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The hiking trails at Great Junction offer plenty of challenges, endless opportunities for unique views, and are steeped in ancient history—yes, as far back as the dinosaurs.
As a Colorado resident for over 13 years, I know how to enjoy the great hiking trails in Grand Junction like a local, not a tourist. I’m in the area a few times a year, every year, for a quick escape to the lovely red rock country.
Sure, you can hike Grand Junction any time of year, but spring through fall is the best season. During the summer months the temperature rises and the unshaded desert is not pleasant weather for walking.
Local Tip: If you’re visiting Grand Junction in the summer, consider hiking in Grand Mesa National Forest where temperatures are cooler and shade is more abundant.
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Spring and autumn bring plenty of sunshine and mild temperatures. Spring is a bit windier and snow is likely in the late season. However autumn is dry and slightly hot.
Winter is also great weather for walking in Grand Junction. The snow-dusted red canyons are a real treat and this is a great season for locals to get out and explore. You’ll also have less crowds!
Many excellent hiking trails can be found in Grand Junction, Colorado National Monument. As one of the most beautiful places in Colorado, it’s no surprise that many Grand Junction hikes can be found here.
Located about 10 minutes outside of nearby Fruita, Colorado (about 15 minutes from Grand Junction), this unassuming national landmark is a red rock hiking treasure.
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Dogs are not allowed on the trails within the Colorado National Monument, so leave Fido at home.
It’s also good to know that the National Park Service operates Colorado National Monument. This means your America the Beautiful Annual Park Pass gets you into the park for free. Otherwise, it’s $25 to enter the park, but your ticket is good for 7 days.
For sunset. There are many take-out points and vantage points to enjoy the beauty from above.
These easy hikes near Grand Junction offer plenty of scenery with minimal effort. Perfect for beginner hikers, families with young children, or gentle nature tours, you won’t want to miss these trails.
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Take a leisurely stroll through some of the most beautiful scenery overlooking Colorado National Monument, the Window Rock Trail.
This easy hike takes you 400-500 feet down to the edge of the gorge. The path ends at a cliff that frames the view like a window. Then return the way you came to enjoy more beauty.
Ok so it’s more of a paved trail than an actual hiking trail, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the trip.
This accessible trail winds along the banks of the Colorado River and offers beautiful views of the river, red rock canyons, and easy access to downtown.
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Slightly more difficult than the easier trails on this list, Devil’s Kitchen is a popular hike in Colorado National Monument.
It can be a bit difficult to see in route locations, so keep your head up and look for high traffic areas.
The small hill at the end can be a bit of a challenge for the uninitiated, but the fun red rock formations are a welcome distraction.
It’s a little off-trail adventure that takes you back in time. The Gunnison River was once home to the incredible Ute people—a nomadic Native American tribe who often left their mark by picking rocks and removing petroglyphs.
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Park near the Delta County Gravel Pit sign before the railroad tracks get there. Follow the old dirt path (on foot) down the river to the cliffs (right). Eventually you’ll reach a small section marked to indicate that antiquities are nearby.
Local tip: Don’t touch the rocks or add your own art/tags/names. This is a very serious federal crime that is charged as a felony. Leave it better than you found it and just take pictures.
As one of the most popular things to do in Great Junction, you’ll want to get an early start on the Snake Trail to avoid the crowds.
This old road was once the main road in and out of the Colorado National Monument. Like a snake, the path winds up and down with many switchbacks that offer incredible views.
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If you’re really into history – of the dino variety – then be sure to check out Path Through Time. As one of the most unique things to do in Colorado, covering these old residents puts the times in perspective.
Excavations are active during the summer months while there are interpretive signs throughout the year. Fossils found here include Allosaurus, Diplodocus and Brachiosaurus.
You’ll find some of the best hiking to be found in Grand Junction, Colorado. These modest goals require a little more effort, but that makes the reward that much sweeter.
Many people recommend the Monument Loop Canyon, but it’s not the best way to hike the modest canyon trail. Instead of stopping with the good stuff, continue up Monument Canyon.
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The trail is a bit longer, but you’ll get up close and personal with several large rock towers and unique red rock formations. The loop trail puts your big foot in the canyon and leaves a lot of cool stuff.
Upper Monument Canyon connects Coke Ovens as a road all the way along the Colorado Monument Scenic Drive, but you can turn off just shy of the steep slopes above the canyon at the end and still get all the spectacular canyon action.
Distance round trip: 11.6 miles, but you can make it shorter or longer. It takes about 4 miles round trip to enter the canyon.
Highlights: The Kissing Sisters Rock Formation, Coke Oven Rock Formation, Otherworldly Red Rock Spires, Breathtaking Canyon Views, Wild Sheep Country.
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Clutter: No dogs. If you start at the top of the valley (closer to the coke oven) or if it is free from the bottom (best way) you will pay a fee.
Start on the Corkscrew Trail for this quiet, lightly trafficked tour. You’ll follow the trail to the left until you climb to the top and reach the junction for the Ute Canyon Trail.
Sometimes the path can be a little overgrown – especially near (seasonal) water, but this historic path is worth it.
With less crowds, you can travel along the famous Ute Trail, used by the Ute people as they migrated to Colorado, Utah and the Midwestern Plains.
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Bureaucracy: fee area if you start from the top (not recommended) free from the bottom of the route). No dogs.
For a beautiful barrel tasting that isn’t too harsh, be sure to put the Lunch Loop Trail on your list. Shared with mountain bikers, the part canyon, part mesa romp takes you through a network of trails outside the Colorado National Monument.
You can choose to do a full loop or pick up and drop off from several trails in the area. Trail runners love this trail for its flow, while mountain bikers enjoy the rocky slog, so be sure to share the trail.
To do the loop, take Court’s Lane Road on the way to Holy Cross. Then head north-east (right) along the Tabegouche route until it crosses Canole Did. From here you will go north (right) on Eagle’s Wing and then on to Eagle’s Tail (fit?) then you will return to Tabegauche Junction. Keep north (left) until you return to the parking lot.
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Local Tip: This area is full of trail options. Signs are excellent, but a map would be helpful.
Not to be confused with Devil’s Kitchen, Devil’s Canyon is a dog-friendly hike through McInnis Canyon National Conservation Area. My personal favorite, this is one of the main routes to hike in Grand Junction.
You’ll get the same wow-factor views of Colorado National Monument, but without the crowds. Follow routes D1 and D7 for the full loop. D5 is also an option, but it shortens the route.
Like the Lunch Loops, there are many options to choose your adventure, but D1 and D7 give you the full experience.
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Local tip: This is a wonderful trail for dogs, however