Grand Junction is known along the Western Slope for its scenic hiking trails, and trail runners can easily get in on the fun, too. Next time you’re in or around Grand Junction, here are seven of our favorite routes for trail runners.
Don’t worry — Rattlesnake Arches may be in the desert, but the canyon doesn’t get its name from actual rattlesnakes. The arches are named for their shape, and many arches within the canyon have names of their own, like Cedar Tree Arch and Eye Arch.The Rattlesnake Arches Trail is 2.7 miles and passes eight of the canyon’s arches, so you’ll get to explore the trail through some epic scenery.
For a more ambitious run, the gradual altitude increase on this six-mile option offers a greater challenge.
The Monument Canyon Trail does not allow dogs (but these Western Slope routes do). The trail is also known for its dense population of lizards and the occasional bighorn sheep.
True to its name, this trail is located in a rocky canyon that courses through a dry creek bed.
You’ll be running around boulders, so this loop may feel more like an obstacle course at times. It’s a fun goal for more advanced trail runners. This trail run is dog-friendly if your pup is leashed.
This moderately difficult, lightly trafficked trail is 6.7 miles and has almost 1,800 feet of elevation gain.
This trail is accessible year-round and is also dog-friendly for leashed dogs. With this path, you can see several types of wildflowers and enjoy the colorful scenery.
If you’re looking for a shorter, family-friendly run, Echo Canyon is a wonderful choice. This point-to-point trail is .8 miles each way, so you’ll get a nice 1.6-mile run.
Echo Canyon is also dotted with shady trees to offer relief from the sun. We recommend starting or ending this run from the Devil’s Kitchen picnic area — it’s a great spot for snacks.
For a quick run, the Holey Bucket Trail is a 1.4-mile point-to-point option with a combination of steep climbs and quick descents.
The trail also connects to several other trails in the Tabeguache Lunch Loop Trail System, which makes it possible to create loops and other fun runs. Be sure to study a map of the area to find your ideal running route.
If you prefer more challenging terrain, the rocky 6.2-mile Eagle’s Nest Loop is a popular option. There are a few narrow spots along the trail, so keep an eye out as you run to avoid collisions with other trail users.
Mountain bikers also use this trail, so remember that you’re sharing this route with other outdoor enthusiasts. Consider reviewing these 10 Most Important Trail Etiquette Tips before your run to brush up on your outdoor etiquette.