Hiking at Big Dominguez Canyon | RMHP Blog

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Dominguez-Canyon-Colorado

Where to Hike (and Camp) in Big Dominguez Canyon

 

Approximately 20 miles south of Grand Junction, you’ll find perfect canyon day hiking and backpacking opportunities. Big Dominguez Canyon offers family and dog-friendly hiking. Horses are also welcome. Exploring the area is fun all year long, especially if you don’t let a bit of snow deter you. Just be careful hiking in the summer, when temperatures can get toasty.

Getting to Big Dominguez Canyon

The canyon is located in the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness and the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, with the Big Dominguez Trail being the most popular area for hiking. Bridgeport Trailhead is a good entry point, and you can get there by driving approximately 20 miles south from Grand Junction along Highway 50. 

Once you reach Bridgeport Road (look for the BLM sign), turn right and follow the gravel west for just over three miles. You’ll find the trailhead, restrooms, and parking for vehicles and horse trailers. 

Hiking in Big Dominguez Canyon

From the trailhead, follow the trail along the river. You can hike more than seven miles one way, so how long you hike for is up to you. Here are some important mile markers and points of interest to look out for: 

  • Slightly past the 2.5 mile point, you’ll reach a sharp right turn. Take a right to continue into Big Dominguez Canyon or a left to explore Little Dominguez Canyon.
    At 3.45 miles there’s a waterfall below the trail.
  •  Continuing past the waterfall, you’ll come across rock shelters and petroglyphs. These artifacts are some of the best parts of the hike, so keep hiking if you’re up for the challenge.
  •  According to the excellent local resource www.gjhikes.com, more petroglyphs and rock shelters can be found roughly 5.75, 5.85, 6.25 and 6.67 miles from the trailhead.
  • There’s a campground a bit over seven miles from the Bridgeport Trailhead. 

The return trip to the trailhead will be a bit easier because it’s mostly downhill. 

Camping in Big Dominguez Canyon

The best way to experience and explore the intense beauty and uniqueness of this canyon environment is to backpack in and spend a night or two. If you’re up for the challenge, here’s what you need to know: 

  • Overnight camping is not allowed near the confluence of the Big and Little Dominguez Creeks. Check it out on the map.
  • Don’t touch or otherwise disturb petroglyphs and archaeological artifacts.
  • Fire pans are required for all fires, though enjoying the canyon fire-free is preferred. There’s very little firewood in the canyon anyway.
  • Pack out everything you bring in.
  • Backcountry toilets are required for human waste disposal.
  • Camp at least 100 feet from the trail.
  • Rules and regulations change, so check with the Grand Junction BLM office for more information when planning your trip.

 

 

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