Rabbit Valley, located in the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, is well-known for its paleontology, camping, hiking, mountain biking, and off-roading. It makes for a great daytrip, a quick break from driving along I-70, or a fun overnight camping experience.
If you’re ready to explore this special place along the Colorado-Utah border, here’s everything you need to know.
Thanks to its location right off I-70, getting to Rabbit Valley is easy and straightforward. From Grand Junction, travel west on I-70 and take Exit 2. Make a left over the Interstate, then proceed straight into the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area.
It’s worth having a look at the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Rabbit Valley map before heading out.
ATV riding, dirt biking, and off-roading are some of the most popular activities in Rabbit Valley, and the trails wind through the interesting sandstone formations that shape the area’s scenery. Difficulty ranges from a dedicated beginner’s track (a perfect safe space for practicing) to technical, speedy sections with flowing turns and tight rock sections.
The Colorado Canyon Association has created a helpful guide to the Valley’s trails — don’t forget to give it a read before heading out!
The trails here range from easy and pleasant to moderate and pleasant, and there are three main routes to choose from:
Trail Through Time: An easy, 1.5-mile round trip trail with informational signs, this area still functions as an active dinosaur quarry with occasional excavation.
McDonald Creek Canyon: This 4.8-mile hike features fascinating Fremont Indian rock art.
Rabbits Ear Trail: At 6-miles round trip, this is the longest trail in the area. It’s rated as moderate due to a steady climb and the distance.
There are six designated mountain biking trails within Rabbit Valley, and they range from intermediate to expert-level riding. Your best bet for learning more about each trail is to visit REI’s MTB Project website, which has detailed route descriptions and information.
One of the greatest parts of camping on BLM is the relative lack of restrictions — dispersed campsites are free and plentiful, but there are also several free campgrounds in Rabbit Valley:
Knowles Overlook Campground has seven undeveloped campsites (plus a pit toilet) with excellent views of the Colorado River and the Black Ridge Canyon Wilderness. You’ll want a high clearance vehicle with 4-wheel drive to access this spot.
Jouflas Campground has eight campsites with picnic tables and fire grates, plus non-flush toilet facilities.
Castle Rocks Campground has one campsite, two picnic tables, and a pit toilet.
Finally, there’s an RV area 0.5 miles from I-70 Exit 2, which can easily host large RV's.
If you’d like to do some dispersed camping, simply follow these guidelines: Choose sites that are already established.
No matter where you camp, you absolutely must be mindful of the environment. Pack out all garbage, and avoid leaving a lasting impact on the beautiful natural surroundings so that future generations can continue to enjoy this special slice of Western Colorado.