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McDonald Creek Trail

Intermediate
 3.5 (4)

A trail through a pretty canyon that ends at the Colorado River. Watch for rock art along the way.


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Map Key

2.0

Miles

3.2

KM

Point to Point

4,477' 1,365 m

High

4,341' 1,323 m

Low

37' 11 m

Up

171' 52 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

8%

Max Grade (5°)

Dogs Off-leash

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

Family Friendly A great hike in a canyon with a connection to Native Americans who lived here long ago. Very little elevation gain/loss.

Dogs should be under voice command or on a leash. Be respectful of any rock art that you find. Please don't touch the rock art and any nearby surface as natural oils from our hands damage the surface. Living people consider many sites to be of religious significance. Treat their sites as you'd want any church to be treated. Camping and campfires are not permitted in the canyon along this trail.

Description

The McDonald Creek Trail is within the McDonald Creek Cultural Resource Area. Fremont Indians lived in the area about 1,000 years ago.

The trail follows McDonald Creek as it drops down to the Colorado River. Thick vegetation means getting to the river itself is a bit troublesome. Don't attempt to cross the railroad tracks without first watching for trains.

You'll not find trails here or signs pointing you to the locations of the rock art. At McDonald Creek, the BLM wants you to experience the canyon just as it was when native Americans lived here and to be an explorer feeling the excitement of discovering a remnant of your past.

As you travel down the canyon, please walk in the stream bed as much as possible. This will prevent the development of trails and let future visitors feel like the first explorer in the canyon.
As mentioned above please be respectful of any rock art you find. It is very sad to find rock art that has been damaged by thoughtless visitors.

Directions to the trailhead: 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 into the obvious parking lot.

Note: No motorized vehicles or bikes are permitted beyond this point. Caution: A high-clearance vehicle is recommended to get to the trailhead. Avoid the area in wet weather. There is a cement outhouse at the trailhead.

Contacts

Shared By:

Janice Shepherd

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 4 votes

#19780

Overall
  3.5 from 4 votes
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Trail Rankings

#1,654

in Colorado

#19,780

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1,770 Since May 25, 2015
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Photos

Native American petroglyphs on the trail
Aug 18, 2017 near Loma, CO
Walking under the overhang on the McDonald Trail. This is a mile or so from the road running Joufla's Loop clockwise
Nov 24, 2019 near Loma, CO
I found what appears to be more rock art handprints? You be the judge. Enjoy!
Aug 18, 2017 near Loma, CO
First view of the Colorado River
Apr 23, 2015 near Loma, CO

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Check-Ins

Apr 26, 2020
Matt Spinelli
Round trip with detours for rock art 4.3mi — 2h 10m
Mar 28, 2017
RJ Brule
1 piece of rock art along the way to the river even though we searched very hard for others
Nov 8, 2016
Ernest Shackleton