Reasons You Might Want to Avoid Hiking Mt. Garfield This Weekend
Western Colorado can expect snow this Sunday. While we need it, snow can extinguish some of your best weekend plans. If those plans involve climbing Mt. Garfield, you might want to hold off. Here are a few things to consider before you head out.
This Sunday's high temperature will be 48, with a 50% chance of snow and a 60% chance of rain. Obviously, you don't want to stomp through the mud for two miles while trying to get up Mt. Garfield.
Climbing Mt. Garfield with even the slightest amount of mud equals Mission: Impossible. You don't want to hike any western Colorado trail in the mud. It damages the terrain and leaves the trail a mess for future hikers.
Most importantly, when climbing Mt. Garfield, the first thing you have to do is get to the trailhead. This presents your first problem. The parking area for Mt. Garfield is north of I-70, and to get to it, you have to drive through a tunnel running under the interstate.
This tunnel is anything but level and water pools up at the low point. No matter how deep you estimate the water to be, you can trust me when I say it's even deeper than you think. The water tends to linger, too. You can expect deep water to remain a full week after the most recent rain or snow.
If you attempt to get to the parking area after rain showers, there's a chance you'll spend the day scuba diving and towing your vehicle out of the filthy water.
When the weather gets questionable it's best to stay off the side of Mt. Garfield. It's always windy up there. Imagine how bad it gets when the weather is rough.
Even if Grand Junction sees only half the snow and rain expected on Sunday, it will still be a few days before hiking Mt. Garfield becomes practical. Two miles of mud equals very little fun. Not only that, but hiking in the mud is disastrous to the trails. Perhaps a paved hike like the Riverfront Trail is in order this Sunday.