Hikes Near Grand Junction with the Best Views

If you enjoy outdoor recreation, then you will appreciate all Grand Junction, Colorado, has to offer. There is an abundance of public lands, open space, and outdoor recreation opportunities. There are fantastic hikes near Grand Junction with incredible views!

Grand Junction, Colorado, sits in a valley surrounded by breathtaking views of the Grand Mesa, red rock Colorado National Monument, high desert vistas, and Bookcliff Mountains.

Colorado-National-Monument-Scenic-Drive-Overlook
Colorado National Monument

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The west slope touts 300 days of sunshine a year, and it is pretty accurate. We even named our dog Sunny because it is always sunny in Grand Junction! I lived in Grand Junction, Colorado, for over ten years and absolutely enjoyed it.

We wanted to share with you nine incredible hikes near Grand Junction. All of these hikes are great if you are new to the area, a local, want a fun day hike on the weekend, or just moved to Grand Junction to go to college.

Careful – Don’t Bust the Crust Hiking

But first, be sure to stay on the trail and “don’t bust the crust” (link to USDA and U.S. Forest Service).

hiking-near-grand-junction-crust
Biological soil crust in McInnis Canyons Conservation Area

Did you know it takes hundreds to thousands of years for the desert crust to grow? I’m a biology nerd and totally wrote my undergraduate thesis on biological soil crust.

Now, on to epic hikes with the best views in the Grand Junction area!

9 Best Hikes Near Grand Junction, Colorado

Independence Monument Trail Hike – Monument Loop Trail

Length – 5 miles round trip

Difficulty – Moderate

Directions – Hikers can access the lower trail from Broadway/Rim Rock Drive in the Redlands. There is a little parking lot off Broadway with the trailhead. Hikers do not need a National Park Pass to hike Independence Monument Trail from the Broadway/Rim Rock Drive access point.

Independence Monument is iconic to the Grand Valley. You can feel the red rock energy and grounding magnificence of the monument and canyons as you hike the trail. Independence Monument is in the Colorado National Monument.

As you hike, keep your eyes peeled for Bighorn Sheep and Collard Lizards! This trail is well marked. You can visit this trail year-round for the most part.

Here is a link for additional information on hiking in the Colorado National Monument.

Rustlers Loop Hike Kokopelli Trail System

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Late afternoon winter hike

Length – 3.7 mile loop

Difficulty – Easy

Directions – Rustlers Loop can be accessed by taking the Loma exit off I-70. Head to the Rustlers Loop trailhead. It is well marked and part of the more extensive Kokopelli Trail System.

If you are looking for a place to run or hike with breathtaking views of the Colorado River, this trail is for you. Visitors can also mountain bike Rustlers Loop. It is a super easy mountain bike trail with amazing scenery.

What I like most about Rustlers Loop is you can hike it year-round. It is an easy trail and does not take all day to walk. My husband and I use to love hiking Rustlers Loop on Christmas. We would have the entire area to ourselves!

If you are looking for a longer hike in this area, check out the trailhead maps for Mary’s Loop and Horsethief Bench, which all connect. You could spend all day on the Kokopelli Trail System, which eventually leads all the way to Moab, Utah. What a fun adventure!

Rattlesnake Arches Trail from Pollock Bench Trailhead Hike

Length – 15 miles round trip

Difficulty – Hard

Directions – The Pollock Bench Trailhead is easy to find off Horsethief Canyon Road south of Fruita. There are a few ways to hike this trail, so be sure to do some research before you head out!

Rattlesnake Arches from the Pollock Bench Trailhead is a must-see. Pack a sack lunch, extra water, and plan to do an all-day round-trip hike to some of the best canyon country and arches in the United States.

Rattlesnake Arches Trail is one of our favorite hikes in the Grand Junction area. You’ll be surrounded by spectacular red rock geology, pinon-juniper forests, cactus country, followed by grand displays of the McInnis Canyons National Conversation Area and hidden natural arches. The hike gets remote as the trek takes you into the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area. The canyon views and hidden gem arches are sure to take your breath away and stoke your wanderlust!

I ranked this hike as hard for two reasons. First, it is 15 miles round trip and takes most of the day (it took us 8 hours). Second, some sections require rock scrambling. You don’t have to do the entire trip, but the arches and canyons are at the end before you turn around.

Flume Canyon Trail Hike

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Beautiful view along the bench

Length – 4.8 mile loop

Difficulty – easy

Directions – The Flume Canyon Trailhead is easy to find off Horsethief Canyon Road south of Fruita. Here is a map of the Devils Canyon, Flume Canyon, and Pollock Bench Trail System from the BLM.

The Flume Canyon Trail hike is nice and easy. It has a fair amount of traffic. The trail has a steady, rocky incline; in the beginning, you get into the rocks, then the trail drops into a canyon meadow.

This area, in general, is a hub for other great hikes in the area (we just talked about getting to Rattlesnakes Arches). Keep your eyes on the trail markers unless you want to hike a different trail purposely.

Mount Garfield Trail Hike

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View from the top of Mount Garfield

Length – 2 miles round trip

Difficulty – hard

Directions – BLM access directions can be found here.

Hiking Mount Garfield has a cult-like following (in a fun way). We have friends that hike it every day to train for races and other athletic events. It is a hard 2,000 feet of vertical gain in one mile. But once you are at the top, the views of the Grand Valley are so worth it!

This trail is steep. Take good hiking shoes and maybe some trekking poles. This hike is totally worth the uphill energy.

Corkscrew Trail Loop Hike in the Colorado National Monument

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Bighorn Sheep close to the trail hiking in the Colorado National Monument

Length – 3.3 mile loop

Difficulty – moderate

Directions – Don’t be discouraged or misled by the trailhead access. You have to drive through a neighborhood in the Redlands to get here. The Corkscrew trailhead is shared with Liberty Cap and the Ute Canyon Trail. Both are also excellent day hikes within the Colorado National Monument.

Follow the well-marked signs for Corkscrew Trail. Corkscrew Trail will take you into the Colorado National Monument. There are gorgeous high desert views. What I love most about the Corkscrew Trail is that it literally does some “corkscrews.” Super fun, so check it out!

The average time to complete the hike is about 2.5 hours, so you could do it after work or as a quick fun weekend hike.

Check out the Colorado National Monument website for more information on hikes within the park. You don’t have to pay to hike any of these three trails from the Redlands access.

Keep your eyes peeled for Big Horn Sheep!

Trail Through Time Hike

Length – about 1.4 mile loop

Difficulty – easy

Directions – The Rabbit Valley Trail Through Time is located right off I-70 on the north side, exit 2, to Rabbit Valley.

Even though it is an easy hike, what makes it spectacular are the dinosaur fossils along the way!

Pablo and I have even watched antelope close by on the ridge. If you’re into checking out dinosaur fossils (which we think is way fun), then this is a neat, easy trail for you.

Rabbit Ears Trail Hike

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Rabbit Ears overlook of the Colorado River and La Sal Mountains

Length – 6.1 mile loop

Difficulty – Moderate

Directions – Located in the Rabbit Valley area, take exit 2 off I-70, go towards the south side of I-70, drive about 4.5 miles east along the gravel road.

The Rabbit Ears Trail will take you through pinon-juniper woodlands to a spectacular overlook of the Colorado River, La Sal Mountains, and canyon country.

We were the only ones out here when we did this hike. The views from the top of the loop are so incredible!

Make sure to bring water.

McDonald Creek Trail Hike

Length – 2 miles round trip

Difficulty – Moderate

Directions – Also located in the Rabbit Valley area, take exit 2 off I-70. Head south/southwest on the dirt road about 2.5 miles. You’ll come into a meadow area and will see a giant rock in the middle of the field. The trailhead is off to the left.

Pablo and I hiked McDonald Creek Trail one year on my birthday. I am fascinated with hikes in canyon country that have ancient mysteries tucked away. McDonald Creek is home to a few unmarked displays of ancient rock art and is in the McDonald Creek Cultural Resource Area. The Fremont Indians lived here over 1,000 years ago.

The trail starts off in an open space meadow. As you head into the canyon, the red rock gets higher, and the canyon narrows. The trail leads you to the Colorado River (but you have to crawl through the Tamarisk quite a bit).

Hiking Grand Junction, CO Summary

This wraps up our nine favorite hikes near Grand Junction!

Below are some of the best hikes in Colorado:

  1. Independence Monument Trail
  2. Rustlers Loop Trail
  3. Rattlesnake Arches Trail from Pollock Bench
  4. Flume Canyon Trail
  5. Mount Garfield Trail
  6. Corkscrew Trail
  7. Trail Through Time
  8. Rabbit Ears Trail
  9. McDonald Creek Trail

Continue reading to find out about hiking gear we are rocking!

Hiking Gear Recommendations

Are you looking for new hiking gear? We have you covered!

Hiking Poles

For longer hikes, I really like hiking with trekking poles. Hiking poles provide extra balance and keep me in a meditative rhythm.

I’m a big fan of Leki carbon trekking poles. They have an excellent warranty and helpful customer service.

Hiking Shoes and Boots

I appreciate mid-top hiking boots for support and ankle safety. This year, I decided to try out the Oboz brand from Bozeman, Montana. I am excited about the mid-top look Oboz has come out with, like the boots below.

So far, they are awesome.

The husband has had his Merrell Moab 2 Vent Hiking Shoes for a long time and digs them.

Hiking Bag

For longer hikes, we take our Osprey Sirrus 24 Hiking Backpack. We have had this bag for at least eight years. It’s super durable and has been all over the world with us.

Reusable Snack Set

We really like the reusable snack set to pack in our day packs by Net Zero Company, a sustainable brand.

Net Zero Kitchen Products
snack set

Super Important Hiking Etiquette

New to hiking, biking, and outdoor adventures? Right on! We compiled some resources for you.

Check out the information below.

  • First, public park environmental etiquette. Remember to help keep trails and green spaces clean by using the trash and recycling receptacles along these facilities, if available. If not available, pack out what you pack in.
  • Second, practice the 7 Principles from Leave no Trace on enjoying the outdoors without impacting the environment negatively.
  • Third, check out this post from REI on Trail Etiquette and Who Has the Right of Way.
  • Download the AllTrails app to get maps on your phone.

Happy Hiking!

We hope you can get outside and enjoy these fantastic hikes near Grand Junction, Colorado.

We love Grand Junction and hope you do too.

Thanks for stopping by.

Ashlee & Pablo


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You might also enjoy our other posts on Colorado:

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We would love to hear from you!

Are you planning to do any of these hikes?

Have questions about accessing these hikes?

Have more questions about our gear?

Feel free to comment below.

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About The Author

Ashlee Fechino

I’m a travel and outdoor recreation writer with dreams to inspire happiness through an outdoorsy lifestyle. I want to help people live their best life by sharing free adventure guides. The USA has been my backyard most of my life, and it’s the place where you’ll find most of our escapades! I’m married to an expat Argentine, chihuahua Mom, and am passionate about the environment. I hold a BS degree in Biology and MS in Environmental Policy & Sustainability. We camp in our Aliner often, love road trips, hiking, and SUP’ing!

25 COMMENTS

  1. Jessica | 16th Oct 20

    300 days of sunshine?! I never knew that! So many great details and tips!

    • Ashlee Fechino | 16th Oct 20

      Hi Jessica! Thank you for your comment. Yes, so much sunshine and beauty. You have to go – soak up some vitamin D! Have a great day.

  2. Cristina Sala | 22nd Oct 20

    Ashlee a diario miro tu pagina y realmente me doy cuenta de lo bien que la hiciste.
    Me detengo mucho en Colorado,Grand Junction, que tuve la bendicion de estar alli con ustedes.
    Guardo recuerdos tan bellos de ese lugar en mi mente y en mi corazon

    • Ashlee Fechino | 23rd Oct 20

      Hola Cristina, ¡estamos muy contentos de que nos hayas visitado! Espero que puedas visitarnos cuando COVID desaparezca. Muchos besos y abrazos.

  3. Cristina Sala | 24th Oct 20

    Queerida Ashlee fui muy feliz en ese viaje. Los amo mucho. .Estamos siempre en coneccion y mi corazon late en el de ustedes.

  4. Josy A | 28th Nov 20

    Woooah sitting here in soggy vancouver, I would LOVE 300 days of sunshine for hiking with Sunny! (Although I do love the greens of the rainforest here so I guess I can’t have it both ways!) These hikes all look fantastic!

    I am glad you mentioned about don’t bust the crust! We tend to stick to paths as part of leave no trace…but it is good to know why that is particularly important

    • Ashlee Fechino | 28th Nov 20

      Hi Josy – thanks for reading our website! So happy you found us all the way from Vancouver. We can’t wait to visit Vancouver some day. Yes, Grand Junction is a sunny and beautiful place. We sure miss it!

  5. Michelle | 28th Nov 20

    I loved reading this post. It brought back so many memories. We used to live close to Grand Junction and visited it often. 🙂

    • Ashlee Fechino | 28th Nov 20

      Hi Michelle – so wonderful. I love hearing this!

  6. Kitti | 28th Nov 20

    These trails sounds so nice. I’ve always wanted to explore Colorado so when we can travel again your post will be so handy! Also 300 days of sunshine?? Wish England get a few more in a year!

    • Ashlee Fechino | 28th Nov 20

      Hi Kitti! Cool, thanks for reading all the way from England. You definitely need to visit Colorado next time you are in the US. We went to the UK in June of 2013 and were lucky to have a mostly sunny trip. Super fun! XO

  7. Taylor | 28th Nov 20

    These look like awesome hikes! I definitely have to make my way back to Colorado and check out the Grand Junction area. It’s such a breathtaking state. 🙂

    • Ashlee Fechino | 28th Nov 20

      Hi Taylor – Yes, Colorado is so awesome. We miss living there. You’ll have to check out Grand Junction – so much to do there outdoors-wise.

  8. Molly | 28th Nov 20

    Wow! You hit a part of the country that is near and dear to me! I have biked in Fruita and Hiked in the area many times but have not hit the majority of the hikes you list. I am definitely saving this post and referring to it next time I am in Grand Junction or Fruita. Thank you!

    • Ashlee Fechino | 29th Nov 20

      Hi Molly! Sweet! So cool you have spent time in the Grand Junction/Fruita area. It truly is incredible. Thanks for reading.

  9. Katherine | 29th Nov 20

    I’d love to do Rattlesnake Arches trail, but I don’t think I’m quite ready for that amount of hiking in one day. I’ll have to settle with the Flume Canyon trail to start off with I think. Great list!

    • Ashlee Fechino | 29th Nov 20

      Hi Katherine – Flume Canyon would be perfect. You still get into the red rock! Thanks for reading.

  10. Sarah | 29th Nov 20

    These are awesome! Those viewpoints are amazing. I like that they’re all short-ish and can be easily managed! I’ve never been to Colorado but there are so many awesome outdoor activities to do there!

    • Ashlee Fechino | 29th Nov 20

      Hi Sarah – thanks for reading. You have to get to western Colorado someday! Especially spring and fall for amazing desert weather.

  11. Karen Warren | 1st Dec 20

    These are some sweet hikes to a beautiful part of Colorado. I really liked how you alerted people to crypto soil. It’s so important to educate people on the fragility of this soil and to practice LNT.

    • Ashlee Fechino | 1st Dec 20

      Hi Karen – thanks for reading and for your feedback around crypto soil. We all have to do our part. Love that you commented on that! XO

  12. William Burton Randall | 6th Dec 20

    Thanks for the information about Colorado !! Sooooo FUN !!

    • Ashlee Fechino | 6th Dec 20

      Hey Uncle Burt! Thanks for stopping by to read our blog! XXOO

  13. Kathy | 19th May 21

    Love this list! Thank you!!!! So many people thin of Colorado as cold and snowy, but really it’s so temperate and sunny!!! The western slope is so unique! I can’t wait to check out some of the hikes that you highlighted!

    • Ashlee Fechino | 22nd May 21

      Hi Kathy! So nice to see you on our blog! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. That means a lot to us 🙂

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