After our hike on Kebler Pass the other day Jim noticed that his hiking boots were coming apart at the seams. The closest town with good shopping is Grand Junction, about 50 miles from Cedaredge. They have a Sportsman’s Warehouse, REI, and Cabela’s, so we decided to take a drive and check them all out. On our way we stopped for a hike in Dominguez Canyon off Bridgeport Road, about 17 miles from Grand Junction.
Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area contains 210,172 acres of red rock canyons and sandstone bluffs along the Gunnison River, and the Escalante, Cottonwood, Little and Big Dominguez creeks. There is a 17 mile dirt road that goes through Escalante Canyon about 10 miles from Delta, CO, but to reach Dominguez Canyon, the largest BLM roadless area in Colorado, you drive just a few miles on Bridgeport Road as it twists its way down the canyon to the trail head parking area.
Gunnison River from the bluffs above the parking area.
The start of the trail, where there is obviously a security issue. There is an unlocked pedestrian gate on the right.
For the first third of a mile we had to walk beside the Union Pacific railroad tracks. Our timing was perfect, as a train came towards us just a few minutes after we began. It was a bit unnerving being so close to a moving train, and on a curve no less. The deafening squeal of the brakes from the cars made us both imagine an imminent derailment.
The trail then crosses the tracks and continues along to two bridges, about a mile into the hike. The first is private property, so we crossed the second where the trail continues along the Gunnison River for another mile toward the mouth of Dominguez Canyon.
So after about two miles we’ve finally reached the trail into the canyon.
This is really an easy trail, with a gentle grade up the farther we got in the canyon. And extremely scenic with our favorite red rock.
We went another mile and turned back, since we still had shopping to do in Grand Junction, and the temperature was rapidly rising.
There is supposed to be a waterfall at 3.5 miles and petroglyphs around the 4 mile mark but that will have to wait for another time in cooler weather. The trail continues for over 16 miles to a primitive campground.
View across the railroad tracks and river, almost back to the car.
And the shoe shopping was a success. Jim now has a new pair of waterproof Keen hiking boots, on sale at Cabela’s, which he breaks in on our next hike back up on cooler Grand Mesa.