McDonald Creek Trail
ElevationAscent: 37' 11 m
Descent: -171' -52 m
High: 4,477' 1,365 m
Low: 4,341' 1,323 m
GradeAvg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 8% (5°)
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“A trail through a pretty canyon that ends at the Colorado River. Watch for rock art along the way.”— Janice Shepherd
Family Friendly A great hike in a canyon with a connection to Native Americans who lived here long ago. Very little elevation gain/loss.
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.
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ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Flora & Fauna
Land Manager: BLM Colorado - Grand Junction Field Office