Colorado's Dry Side: Top 10 Desert Hikes near Fruita

Explore Colorado's best desert trails with these top 10 hits near Fruita and Grand Junction.

Hiking Moderate, Difficult, Severe, Extreme

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Overlooking the valley below.
Overlooking the valley below. Photo: Scott Anderson

Description

When most non-residents hear the name "Colorado," their minds instantly envision soaring snowcapped mountain peaks, endless ski slopes, and alpine fields of wildflowers. But what most non-residents might not realize is just how incredibly diverse the state of Colorado is! In addition to an endless variety of mountains, this state is also home to endless expanses of rolling prairie, lush orchards, high elevation valleys, verdant meadows, and dry, sandy, hot deserts.

Colorado's Grand Valley dominates the desert-based recreation and tourism in the state. Every spring and fall, thousands upon thousands of visitors flock to Fruita and Grand Junction to camp in the warmth of the desert and recreate on the fabulous trails spread across the region. While most of the visitors may just drive over I-70 from Denver, the trails have gained such a reputation that tourists now fly from around the world to experience them.

Hikers visiting the Grand Valley have a veritable smorgasbord of trail options to choose from! While the multi-use trail systems around the valley all offer superb hiking opportunities, the creme de la creme can be found in Colorado National Monument.

"Colorado National Monument is an absolutely gorgeous place that very few hikers know about," writes Nancy Anderson. "It is Colorado's version of the Grand Canyon... without all the people!" For an in-depth look at Colorado National Monument, check out the dedicated guidebook, here.

Just outside of the Monument, McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area is home to hikes that are even further under the radar. For instance, did you know that Rattlesnake Canyon Arches is home to the second-largest concentration of arches in the world, after Arches National Park? Bet not!

Explore these hidden wonders and so much more on your next trip to Fruita and Grand Junction!

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