Grand Junction, Colorado, and the surrounding areas is a mecca for hiking.
By: Hailey Coughlin
People love living here because of the amazing proximity of recreation to their house. There is an abundance of different terrain to meet everyone’s hiking fancy; hiking with dogs, trail runners, family hikes, or paved walkers. Most of the time, the trails aren’t too crowded, allowing you to have some great scenery to yourself after a long workday or a fun escape for the weekend.
Best hikes with dogs
Finding the best trails for my dogs took me a few years. I like letting my dogs run free on the trails and explore on their own most of the time.
Pollock Bench in Fruita is my favorite trailhead for bringing dogs on a hike. These trails have steep canyon walls and sandy trails. This trail is shared with horses, so if your furry friend is not a fan of horses, this may not be the best option. Pollock Bench has many hiking trail options, moving from easy to moderate difficulty. My favorite trail is the narrow Flume Canyon, which is absolutely breathtaking. There are little waterholes almost all year round on this hike. It only takes a few hours.
Here is a link to learn more—>https://www.gjhikes.com/2015/05/flume-canyon.html
Bangs Canyon ( Mica Mines)
Mica Mines is a must hike trail when living in the Grand Valley. Mica Mines is a beautiful area with cliff walls and flowing streams. It is a 2.6-mile trail and is suitable for all skill levels. It can get busy on the weekends, so I suggest going early on a Saturday or Sunday. There is lots of quartz and mica towards the end of the trail to explore. For this hike, dogs must be kept on a leash. There are numerous trailheads near Bangs Canyon along Little Park Road that are a great place to start!
Challenging hikes that offer great views
Mt. Garfield is a famous hike in the Grand Valley for its spectacular views. It is 3.6 miles and is rated hard with a 2,000ft elevation gain in 2 miles. You are hiking straight up for the first section(do not turn around; you are going the right way). I do not suggest doing this one in the dark. Dogs must be kept on leash. Mt. Garfield is a must-do when living in the Grand Valley
Palisade Rim Trail
Palisade Rim trail is one of my favorite hikes in the valley. The area can get crowded on Saturdays and Sundays, so make sure to plan accordingly. It is also getting quite warm in the summer months in the afternoon. Palisade Rim trail is 3.3 miles; it begins with switchbacks and then flattens out, with lots of places to stop and rest. This hike is filled with beautiful petroglyphs, which can be found near some steep red rock cliffs to the left near a flat field.
Best paved paths
The Grand Valley is blessed with a generous amount of parks by the Colorado River. Most of these parks have great walking paths. These paths are great for bike riding or evening strolls with your dog. My favorites are along Riverside Parkway and in Palisade at Riverbend Park. Both of these parks have areas for dogs to run off-leash as well.