Guidebook

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.

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!

Monument Canyon Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Monument Canyon Trail

2 - 3 hrs
10.6 km
360 m
360 m
A stunning sampler of the canyon's best rock sculptures.
Difficult
Private
Black Ridge Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Black Ridge Trail

Fruita
2 - 3 hrs
11.0 km
263 m
263 m
A beautiful backcountry trail with plenty of solitude.
Difficult
Private
Mary's -> Wrangler's Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mary's -> Wrangler's Loop

Fruita
3 - 4 hrs
17.0 km
307 m
307 m
A gorgeous loop above the Colorado River with relatively little climbing.
Moderate
Private
Old Gordon Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Old Gordon Trail

Grand Junction
2 - 3 hrs
10.2 km
544 m
544 m
A gorgeous slickrock route with plenty of scrambling opportunities.
Moderate
Private
Troy Built -> Mack Ridge -> Hawkeye Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Troy Built -> Mack Ridge -> Hawkeye Loop

Fruita
3 - 4 hrs
16.2 km
387 m
387 m
A perfect desert loop with fantastic views from the ridge top.
Difficult
Private
Palisade Rim
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Palisade Rim

3 - 4 hrs
14.6 km
438 m
438 m
The Palisade Rim joins two great lollipop loops atop the rimrock overlooking the Grand Valley for a unique and entertaining Colorado Plateau hike.
Difficult
Private
Holy Cross -> Eagle’s Wing Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Holy Cross -> Eagle’s Wing Loop

Grand Junction
3 - 4 hrs
14.8 km
446 m
446 m
A stunning, easily-accessible hike to the Lunch Loops high point.
Severe
Private
Sarlacc Out-and-Back

Sarlacc Out-and-Back

Fruita
6 - 7 hrs
32.0 km
836 m
835 m
A beautiful trail running high above the rest of the 18 Road Trail System.
Moderate
Private
Rattlesnake Canyon Arches
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Rattlesnake Canyon Arches

Fruita
5 - 6 hrs
23.1 km
857 m
857 m
Hike to the second-largest concentration of natural stone arches in the world!
Extreme
Private
Mount Garfield
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mount Garfield

2 - 3 hrs
5.4 km
621 m
621 m
Hike to the prominent overlook above the Grand Valley.
Difficult
Private