2 - 3
FATMAP difficulty grade
Fall is the prime time to tackle this backcountry route that takes hikers to the Colorado National Monument's boundary.
The golden autumn colors glow while temps are pleasantly warm, instead of unbearably hot.
This is one of the Monument's more remote, lesser-traveled trails, and as such it provides a true sense of the environment.
Be prepared to climb: the route ascends about 1,600 feet over 3.25 miles.
Much of the hike takes place on slickrock, which, for some reason, takes the sting out of the climb. Perhaps, however, the ascent feels so easy because of the amazing and varying views along the way.
There are washes, numerous types of cacti and many, many fascinating rock formations.
Plan on enough time to hike the 6.5-mile out-and-back plus extra to allow for some exploration and scrambling among the rocks The Old Gordon trail is what remains of an old lumber and cattle drive road.
Imagining the people who lived and worked in the area long ago helps bring the trek to life.
Now, as a backcountry trail, the old road is defined only by cairns marking the route. Be sure to enjoy gorgeous views of No Thoroughfare Canyon from above before reaching the fence delineating the Monument's boundary.
This is the turnaround point for the return trip. The trailhead is less than 1/4-mile past the Monument's East Entrance, just outside Grand Junction on Rimrock Drive.
This trailhead also provides access to No Thoroughfare Canyon and Devils Kitchen Trail, with Serpents Trail across the road.