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greenBlue Jouflas Trail


5.5 mile 8.9 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 618' 188 m
Descent: -477' -145 m
High: 5,037' 1,535 m
Low: 4,441' 1,354 m


Avg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 24% (14°)


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Trail shared by Janice Shepherd

A trail with grand views of the Colorado River.

Janice Shepherd

Features Birding · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly Waving at the train engineers can be fun. They sometimes toot their horn in reply. Wave at those floating by in boats too. They'll be surprised to see hikers.

Dogs should be under voice command or on a leash.


From Grand Junction, follow I-70 west about 30 miles to the Rabbit Valley exit (Exit #2). Turn left (south) at the stop sign, cross over the freeway and a cattle guard. Stay on the main road going straight (southwest) for about 2.5 miles. Drive with caution, the road is very narrow in several places and has a couple of blind corners. The turn into the canyon is marked by a very large rock which looks like a gumdrop. When you reach this rock, you'll turn left (east) and stop at the immediate parking area. Note: No motorized vehicles or bikes are permitted beyond this point. Caution: A high-clearance vehicle is recommended to get to the trailhead. There is a cement outhouse at the trailhead. The roads can be impassable when wet.

You can hike the Jouflas Trail in either direction. The southwest end of this singletrack trail starts along the McDonald Creek Trail.

Follow the singletrack trail as it winds its way through a pretty juniper pinyon forest. Once the trail gets close to the rim looking over the Colorado River, you should pause to enjoy the dramatic canyon with the river far below. Here you may see a train going by or river rafters. All too soon the trail leaves the Colorado behind and follows below a line of huge sandstone walls to get back to where Jouflas Trail meets the a cattle fence. Make a left turn and stay on the south side of the cattle fence until you reach the road and the northern end of Jouflas Loop.

Follow McDonald Creek Trail southwest out of the parking area. It enters a wash and then leaves it immediately to by-pass a large bend in the wash. Follow McDonald Creek Trail until that trail drops down past a dry fall. Although not marked with a sign at the time of this writing, there is a pronounced trail marked with cairns heading off to the left (southeast). This is the start of Jouflas Trail.

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