Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Area, Grand Junction, CO



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.

Cedaredge, CO

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.

Cedaredge, CO1

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.


  1. You guys keep hitting beautiful spots! Here's hoping for an easy boot break-in.

  2. Now that's a gate that get's broken through - there are 10 chain links showing, and 10 padlocks! Guess folks don't want to walk that first two miles :-) Love that red rock and seeing all the water in the river. The giant mushroom rock is fascinating. We really need hiking shoes so we can stop using the lack of them as an excuse to auto hike :-)

  3. Actually, contrary to what Gayle posted on the chain and locks. I believe that several people are permitted access to that road but don't share the same lock and key. Having multiple locks allows them access.


  4. That's some mighty beautiful red rock! Glad the shoe shopping was successful.

  5. I so wanted to do this hike while we were there but the weather never cooperated long enough:( I found a blog written by a hiker that did this trail. The BLM range had recommended this park as one that wouldn't be populated over the Memorial Day holiday. I thought this looked like a very neat hike. The waterfall was large in the photos I saw and there were a ton of petroglyphs. But with severe storms everyday, we hated to get into the canyon and have it storm. So we too will need to return and try again. Glad you showed us the first part and gave us some mileage. The blog I found didn't have any mileage. I hope you got to hike the Crag Crest Trail while on Grand Mesa!! I am living my hiking through all the bloggers out there for now. Thanks for taking me out on the trail:)

  6. what a nifty little hike you found...

  7. Ah, those red rocks. Looks like another great hike! I am going to have to get some new hiking boots soon. They are so comfy I am reluctant but they are starting to get very worn. Looking forward to your next adventure.

  8. So Jim actually walked his boots off.