Hiking The Dominguez Canyon
The 43rd most popular hiking trail in Colorado.
Thursday 30 June 2016 05:26 GMT
South of Grand Junction, the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Study Area is the largest BLM roadless area in Colorado. Dominguez WSA consists of two major canyon systems, Big Dominguez and Little Dominguez. The canyons drain the northeastern corner of the Uncompahgre Plateau. Little Dominguez is the longer of the two at approximately 12 miles in length. It joins the larger Big Dominguez canyon a little over a mile before their confluence with the Gunnison River. About a mile or so upstream from the confluence of Big and Little Dominguez Creeks you will find a magnificent waterfall and several large boulders with petroglyphs.
The terrain is characterized by large mesas dissected by deep red slick-rock canyons and arroyos. The area provides valuable wildlife habitat for desert bighorn sheep, deer, elk, mountain lion, black bear, wild turkey and chukar. Fishing is year round in Big Dominguez creek.
The most popular trail in the area is the 9.5 mile Big Dominguez Creek Trail.
The best access point is the Bridgeport Footbridge. To reach the bridge from Grand Junction, head south on US50 for approximately 17 miles to the Bridgeport Road (CR39) near milepost 52. Turn right heading west on Bridgeport Road for 3.1 miles to the trailhead parking area. The footbridge over the Gunnison River is another 1 mile upriver from the parking area. Note: The footbridge is open to hiking and horseback riding only.
Alternately, another trailhead is the Big Dominguez Creek Trailhead. To reach it from Grand Junction, head south on Hwy 50 to Whitewater. At Whitewater make a right turn on to Hwy 141. Travel 11.5 miles to the Divide Road turn off (Uncompaghre National Forest Access Road) on your left. The road winds and switchbacks to the top of the mountain. At the top stay on the main road until you come to a fork in the road. At the fork follow the signs to Dominguez Conservation Area (left). In approximately 5 miles the Big Dominguez Creek trailhead will be on your left. Caution: Road becomes extremely hazardous in wet conditions. Watch for rock slides on last 2 miles of road leading to campground. We DO NOT recommend taking RVs or travel trailers to the campground.
Overall, Dominguez Canyon is the 43rd most popular hiking trail of all 72 hikes in Colorado.