Best Places to Hike in the Grand Valley

April 24, 2020

Stuck inside, many of us are yearning for a breath of fresh air, and luckily we live in a place rich in things to do outside. While this situation is challenging in many aspects, we now have an opportunity to get out and appreciate the natural beauty of the place we live. Some of the most beautiful hikes lie here in our valley, and now we have a chance to get to appreciate where we live. 

One of the most popular places to hike here in the Grand Valley is up on the Colorado National Monument which, although the campgrounds and the picnic areas are closed, remains open for hiking trails. There are also plenty of beautiful places that you can hike, such as the Devil’s Canyon Trailhead in Fruita. Located just off of Highway 340 down Kings View Road, Devil’s Canyon offers a wide variety of trails with tons of miles. Many of the trails intertwine and give hikers a wide variety of options to go wherever they want. These trails also offer a wide variety of scenery, ranging from hiking in a canyon to cliffs overlooking the Colorado River. Also, the Devil’s Canyon Trailhead is popular, but is not usually overwhelmingly crowded, probably because of the wide variety of trails to choose from. The Devils Canyon Trailhead also connects with the Kodel”s Trail System, which hikers can access either through Devils Canyon or through a small parking lot just off of Highway 340, right next to Kingsview Road. The Kodels system is not nearly as popular as Devils Canyon, making it the perfect place to hike if you don’t want to run into very many people. The trails are a lot like Devils Canyon, with beautiful views of the mountains, rock formations and the city of Fruita from above. I love hiking at Kodels because there aren’t usually a lot of people there and there are lots of ways to explore and try new ways. It’s also fun to hike over to Devils Canyon from Kodels and kind of mix the two trailheads together to invent your own trail. Overall, the Kodels and Devils Canyon Trail systems are great places to hike and very easy to access.

A more popular hike that is also easy to access is the Independence Monument Trail, which is beautiful, but more challenging. This hike is an in-and-out hike, not a loop, but you can basically make it however long you want. Most people just hike up to the rock, which is just a few miles, but you can keep going on to finish the entire hike, which is about 13 miles total. Independence Rock offers stunning views and a great deal of wildlife, but unfortunately, dogs are not allowed. However, if you want to take your pup there are plenty of other great places to hike in the Grand Valley. 

The Kokopelli trail system, located a bit farther away in Loma, is an expansive trail system with a wide variety of trails ranging in difficulty and scenery. The Kokopelli trail system is known for being a hotspot for mountain bikers but is also great for hiking. There are two main trailheads, and you can hike or bike trails that connect the two. The cool thing about Kokopelli is that most of the trails are loops, and there are signs everywhere with the trails and their distance and difficulty on them so you won’t get lost or confused. I love hiking at Kokopelli and I don’t get tired of doing my favorite trails because they are so stunning. Overall, the Kokopelli trail system is very well marked and the scenery is just amazing. Many of the trails overlook the Colorado River, and offer spectacular views of nature in general. But watch out, these trails are very popular with mountain bikers so make sure to be aware while you’re hiking. The Kokopelli trail system is very dog and family friendly, and it is definitely worth the drive out to Loma to get there. 

Within Grand Junction there are small trailheads and loops just about everywhere, but a popular trail, especially for families, is the Mica Mines trail off of the Bangs Canyon Trailhead. This trail is not very long or hard, but is still beautiful and fun. The Tabeguache trailhead in Grand Junction, is also a popular destination for hikers and mountain bikers, and offers a wide variety of terrain as well as mileage. The Tabeguache Trail is a part of Lunch Loops, which is a trail system encompassing a widespread amount of trails that are accessible from multiple locations across the Redlands. A lot of my friends live near these trails and enjoy being able to hike basically out of their backyards. There are definitely options for every level of hiker here (or rider) and the scenery is also very varied, ranging from beautiful desert shrubs to rock formations. 

If you want to hike or get out and go on a walk, but if trails just aren’t for you, Grand Junction’s riverfront trail could be a great option. This paved trail stretches all the way from downtown Grand Junction to Loma, with multiple parking lots and options to get on and off all along the way. This trail is great because it overlooks the river and is easily accessible from just about anywhere in Grand Junction. So if you aren’t sure you’re a hiker, then the riverfront trail is always an option.

Last but not least, one of the most popular hikes in the grand Valley is Mount Garfield. The hike is about 4 miles total, up to the top and back, which might not seem like much, but the climb is very steep and challenging. However, the views once you reach the top are totally worth it. Mount Garfield’s beauty is not a secret though, and this trail is typically very crowded. I don’t always enjoy hiking around a ton of people, so Mount Garfield wouldn’t be my first choice.

The Grand Valley offers so much in terms of hiking and there are many more places to get out and hike. Overall, hiking is a fun way to get outside, cure boredom, get some vitamin D, and just appreciate what the valley has to offer. We are so lucky to live somewhere that has this kind of natural beauty that can serve as an escape from the outside world. So, if you are bored, use this as an opportunity to go outside and get a taste of the best hikes around the Grand Valley. 

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