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McDonald Creek Canyon, CO

Guide 2 Triplogs  0 Topics
  3 of 5 
no permit
25 2 0
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 1.5 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,485 feet
Elevation Gain 199 feet
Accumulated Gain 199 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 - 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.5
Interest Ruins & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
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Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
13  2021-01-22 PaleoRob
12  2018-11-08 Steph_and_Blake
author avatar Guides 100
Routes 63
Photos 2,548
Trips 184 map ( 820 miles )
Age 73 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Historical Weather
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Preferred Apr, May, Oct, Nov
Seasons   Late Spring to Late Winter
Sun  5:15am - 7:29pm
Official Route
0 Alternative

petro & picto below the crack
by Steph_and_Blake

A fairly easy, mostly level hike through a pretty canyon featuring rock writing. The trail ends at the Colorado River.

This hike is written up in the Grand Junction Falcon guide, and more than 5 GPS routes can readily be found on the internet, so we felt it acceptable to post this Guide here.

Not much is known about the ancient history of this canyon, but it was once inhabited by the Fremont peoples.

The hike starts from the eastern side of the parking area and quickly drops into the creek bed. While there are no trail signs, it is very easy to follow the beaten path. At about 0.4 miles, you'll notice an offshoot trail on your left. This is where you'll find the first pictograph panel. Continuing down-canyon, you'll come to a big "crack" in the creek bed. It might be possible to shimmy and stem your way down the crack, but it appears that most folks back-track a couple dozen feet and proceed up the side canyon to the east. After a short distance up this side canyon, you'll come to a "Y". Take a right and continue down McDonald Creek Canyon (with the creek bed below you and to your right). Although we did not find them, the BLM website says there are both petro- and pictographs below the "crack" or drop-off.

The trail eventually takes you back down to the creek bed, which you will cross numerous times. By now, the canyon walls are much taller, and the cottonwood trees have grown to a considerable size. The hiking is easy-cruising, and you'll probably find yourself peeking into various alcoves and scrutinizing the desert varnish for rock writing. At around the 2-mile mark, you'll see another off-shoot trail to your left. It leads to the base of a large alcove that contains more pictographs high-high up on the wall.

From here, it's just another 10 minutes through some overgrowth to the Colorado River. Return the way you came.

Water Sources
There was no running water in the creek at the time of our hike, and we saw no mention of nearby springs, so carry in all that you'll need.

Developed and undeveloped campsites are available throughout Rabbit Valley.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2018-11-12 Steph_and_Blake
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Grand Junction, take I-70 west to Exit 2. Cross back over I-70, headed south. Zero out your odometer after crossing the interstate. At 0.4 miles, you'll come to a "Y". Take the left option if in a standard 2-wheel drive, moderate clearance vehicle. If you have a 4-wheel drive high clearance vehicle, you can take the right-hand option (skid plates might make you more comfortable), but note that once you commit to the rugged part of the road, you are committed (as in there are no places to turn around). Take the road to the Castle Rock campsite. Also, note that there are no signs along the way, so it would be good to have a GPS route downloaded.
    page created by Steph_and_Blake on Nov 12 2018 3:29 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool

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