This May Be Your Last Chance – Hit These Grand Junction Trails
The trails aren't going anywhere, but the snow is. It looks like Mother Nature is going to bless us this weekend with snow. It won't last for long. This is just a matter of opinion, but some Grand Junction trails are at their best with new snow.
This winter was a real dud. I look forward all year to visiting the Old Kiln Trail, Gunny Loop, or even the Audubon Trail in the snow. These are simple, safe, fun trails to visit when there's fresh snow on the ground.
The Audubon Trail is paved and well maintained. Even under snowy conditions, the trail is level and mostly clear. Do be careful, though, since some icy conditions do exist. Watch for the areas constantly in the shade. They're easy to spot. That's where you have to be careful.
Little Park Road and Bangs Canyon can be a little rough in the snow. The trails are well marked, and most remain visible even in heavy snow. There are several hikes to choose from. Like always, even in the best of conditions, watch your step.
You will notice signs on Little Park asking people to avoid trails when muddy. Hiking and biking under those conditions can damage the trails.
This will be the perfect weekend to hit my favorite area trail, Gunny Loop. This is a simple trail under any conditions. It conveniently located off of Little Park Road. The trail can offer a challenge or two with fresh snow, but the concerns are minimal. It does, however, offer the ultimate payoff. I was born and raised in Grand Junction, and I'm thinking the location pictured below might just be my favorite spot in the world.
Now for the spot many would consider the cream of the crop. The trail itself is a real dud, but its namesake is awesome, especially in the winter. The Old Kiln Trail is just past the Mica Mine trailhead on the way to Glade Park. Keep your eyes open for the Old Kiln Trail sign. It's on the north side of the road, about a quarter-mile or so west of the Mica Mine parking area.
You'll notice Mt. Garfield didn't make my quaint little list. For the most part, the east trail heading up Mt. Garfield is uneventful. It's the last portion, the rim around the top of Mt. Garfield that presents a problem. This portion of the trail is constantly in the shade this time of year. Snow and ice can linger on this portion. It probably wouldn't be a big deal except this is the one area where climbing is involved. You'll need confident footing to get through this area, no matter what time of year. You may want to hold off until the snow is gone and the trail isn't muddy.
For some, this is an awesome time to hit the trails. Temperatures are low, the scenery "wow" factor is high, and traffic on the trails is at a minimum. Be one of the few to take advantage of the magnificent outdoor fun Western Colorado offers this week and hit the trail.