Big Dominguez Canyon
ElevationAscent: 2,440' 744 m
Descent: -62' -19 m
High: 7,117' 2,169 m
Low: 4,738' 1,444 m
GradeAvg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 12% (7°)
Current trail conditions
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“A popular and beautiful trail traversing the length of this red sandstone canyon.”— Janice Shepherd
Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife · Commonly Backpacked
The Big Dominguez Trail accesses some of the most popular areas of the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness, including waterfalls and rock art. The most common access is from the Bridgeport Trailhead or from the Gunnison River at the mouth of Big Dominguez Canyon (if you are arriving by boat). The upper end of Big Dominguez Canyon can be accessed from a trailhead at the Big Dominguez Campground which is 11 miles off CO-141 on a good dirt road. When it is dry I've driven my Honda Civic to the upper trailhead without problems. The road to the Bridgeport trailhead is also a good dirt road but should be avoided when wet. The outhouse and parking lot are set back from the river and the hike starts with a hike down the road towards the river to the road beside the railroad. Follow this road to the 2nd bridge (the first bridge is private property).
This hike is fairly easy, whichever end of the canyon you start at. It maintains a mostly steady low gradient with occasional very short steeper parts. There are no crossings of Big Dominguez Creek the entire length from Bridgeport to Dominguez Campground.
If you are lucky you may spot some desert bighorn sheep along the canyon slopes.
As cattle are sometimes being moved through this area it is important to remember to leave gates as you have found them, namely closed if it was closed and open if it was open.
Backcountry camping is permitted in parts of the canyon. Camping by the river is limited to boaters from May 1st through Labor Day. Camping is not permitted in the lower 5 miles of Big Dominguez canyon and 3 miles of Little Dominguez canyon. Many backpackers make a multi day loop around Big and Little Dominguez canyons.
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Land Manager: BLM Colorado - Grand Junction Field Office