Spring is almost here, which means it’s time to get your hiking gear ready! Spring is an amazing time of the year to hike, especially in places where hot summer temperatures make it difficult to log long miles. If you’re ready to explore the best of the Western Slope’s trails, this is the guide you need. Here are 4 of our favorite springtime hikes throughout the region.
You’ll be glad you visited Big Dominguez Canyon before the scorching summer temperatures set in! It can get quite hot here, but spring is an ideal time to hike alongside the river while marveling at the towering red canyon walls that surround you. This special place is a mere 20 miles south of Grand Junction, too.
The roundtrip trip length for this hike can range from 8 to 14 miles (or even less if you want to turn back sooner). It’s a moderately difficult trail with fascinating petroglyphs, unforgettable scenery, and interesting wildlife.
For more helpful trip planning information, check out our quick guide about Where to Hike (and Camp) in Big Dominguez Canyon.
Like Big Dominguez Canyon, the trails in Dinosaur National Monument can be downright brutal during summer. This 3-mile out and back trail is great for a spring hike, though.
The hike begins with a quick descent, but it’s smooth sailing from there on out. Most of the trail is level, with a few moderate ascents and descents scattered throughout. The real jewel of this trail is at the end, where you’ll get expansive views of the Green River and the river canyons that carve through this region. When you look down at the river, note that it’s a whopping 2,500 feet below where you’re standing.
This quick and easy 2.6 mile trail is a Grand Junction-area classic that’s has something for the whole family. You’ll stomp through stream crossings, shimmy through narrow canyon walls, soak in the stunning canyon scenery, and enjoy the peaceful environment in and around Ladder Creek. As the name suggests, the trail also leads to the historic Mica Mine, which is a popular year-round attraction for visitors and residents alike.
After you’ve hiked to the mine, consider exploring the rest of the Bangs Canyon Special Recreation Management Area. It’s a great area for hiking, rock climbing, off-roading, and outdoor classroom learning.
These massive mountains of sand can easily burn your feet during the height of summer, which is why Great Sand Dunes National Park easily earns a spot on our favorite spring hikes around the Western Slope. If you decide to make the ultra-tough trek up Star Dune, you’ll reach the highest sand dune in North America. Trails don’t exist here, so you’ll have to choose your own adventure while climbing to the top.
For even more information about planning a trip to see the dunes, give this Insider's Guide to Great Sand Dunes National Park a quick read.