Wanting to escape the Phoenix heat and explore fishing opportunities, we chose Glenwood Springs, CO, as our destination. Conveniently right across the highway from our campground was the trailhead for the Jess Weaver trail. Great! Unlike my usual level of preparedness, I conducted only a small amount of research on the hike several weeks prior to the trip. So, without a clear sense of the length of the hike or what to expect, we set off. (In my defense, different websites quoted different statistics. One said it was 5.4 miles long, another said it was 6.3. Neither said if this was round-trip or one-way. I know, lame excuse.)
Anyway, the trail started off as a gravel road along No Name Creek. The road terminated at a water plant (evidently No Name Creek water is used to supply the town of Glenwood Springs), whereby the trail became a dirt path with plenty of shade. The well-defined path stayed close to the creek and there were wildflowers and wild berries (red raspberry and thimbleberry) aplenty.
After about a mile and a half we abruptly came to a dead end. Huh? It looked like a hiker or two had made a dicey scramble up the very steep and muddy hillside to our left. With no hiking poles nor any trees on which to hold, we decided to turn around. After all, we were just out to get some exercise after a long drive and didn't know if there was something spectacular (such as a lake, waterfall, or a peak with views) at the end. Again, lack of research....
Shortly after doing an about face we saw the turnoff we had missed and took it. From there the trail made several switchbacks up the west side of the canyon and then maintained a moderate grade. There being no real views worth mentioning and no known destination, we kept questioning whether we should continue or turn around. A mile or so later our frustration got the better of us and we decided to hightail it back to the campground for a cold beverage.
Now that we're back in Arizona with an adequate internet connection (and with my curiosity piqued!), I've done a more in-depth look into the Jess Weaver trail.....Firstly, why is it called Jess Weaver? Evidently, the trail is named after Jess Weaver, a well-known rancher who lived in the area who died in No Name Creek. Secondly, how long is it? As before, I found different lengths, depending on the website. Going with the USDA's White River National Forest website, the trail (one-way) is 6.3 miles long. Further, you can make a loop of it with the Grizzly Creek Trail (to the east). Lastly, what's at the end? Nothing really. It ends at a forest service road.
All in all, I'd recommend the hike if you're in Glenwood Springs and don't want to drive far. And for the exercise.