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black Mount Garfield Trail

  4.3 ( 22 ) Favorite


3.6 mile 5.7 kilometer loop


Ascent: 1,906' 581 m
Descent: -1,904' -580 m
High: 6,723' 2,049 m
Low: 4,852' 1,479 m


Avg Grade: 20% (11°)
Max Grade: 63% (32°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Andrew Walters

The steepest in the valley, 2K vert in 2 miles with amazing geology & possible wild horses.

Andrew Walters

Features Views · Wildlife


This is one steep pile of mud and rock! As long as it is dry and not blistering hot it is highly enjoyable. The view from the top is on par with flying into Grand Junction. Coming down you can let gravity do all the work.


From the parking area head out through the wooden fence and then go left towards the most obvious ridge. Ascend the ridiculously steep ridge staying directly on it and navigating occasional boulders. Near the top the ridge gives way to a steep boulder field with many competing lines to choose from. As the grade mellows out there is an unmarked junction. Follow the most obvious path as it heads left towards the first flat area. This clearing should be full of stud piles and is your best chance at seeing some of the wild horses in the area.

The flat doesn't last long and again you'll head right up and into a boulder field. Exit the boulder field to the left as the trail makes a gradual, sweeping ascent underneath the looming cliffs above. The trail will then climb up through a break in the cliff and continue to climb steeply along the cliffs edge. Once you are past a final scrambling section with lots of loose gravel atop bedrock the trail levels out and you can make better time as you approach the summit. There used to be a flagpole marking the summit, but a cairn and benchmark will let you know when you have reached it.

Take in the views, let your legs rest for a second and then get ready to fly back down. Keep your descent under control, especially on the lower part of the ridge near the parking area. Hiking in a serpentine fashion down the ridge will help you stay in control.

Flora & Fauna

This trail is part of the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Area and wild horse sightings are possible. Even if you miss the horses, their huge piles of their poop will be evident (stud piles).

History & Background

There was once an old coal mine at the top of the first steep climb and much of the old equipment and cables can still be seen in the area.

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Jun 1, 2019
Dave Parmley
Jun 1, 2019
Emilie Kitt
May 30, 2019
Russell Bader
Steep but rewarding 3.6mi — 2h 30m
May 25, 2019
Savannah Weaver
2000 ft in 2 miles. Hot hike that goes through several ecosystem types. Pretty cool but bring plenty of water or go early morning preferably! 2mi
May 11, 2019
Al Carpenter
Apr 22, 2019
Noel Malcomson
Apr 17, 2019
Michael Hagen
Awesome hike. Much more interesting than I anticipated. — 1h 52m
Feb 9, 2019
Steven Schiff
Nice conditions! Beautiful view, fun climb. Worth the time. 3.6mi — 2h 21m

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 22 votes


in Palisade


  4.3 from 22 votes
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in Palisade


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