Hiking Project Logo

Palisade Rim Trail

  4.4 ( 25 ) Favorite


8.8 mile 14.2 kilometer loop


Ascent: 1,514' 461 m
Descent: -1,515' -462 m
High: 6,042' 1,841 m
Low: 4,748' 1,447 m


Avg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 39% (22°)


Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Andrew Walters

High exposure hiking right along the cliff's edge above the lush orchards of Palisade.

Andrew Walters

Features Views · Wildlife


The Palisade Rim Trail is a recently completed project that offers great views, petroglyphs and serious cliff-side hiking. The trail can be done as an out and back, or just the lower loop can be done, but the entire experience is a Grand Valley classic.

Need to Know

Park at the boat launch on HWY 6 just north of the trailhead rather than the shoulder of the road (illegal). Then head back south towards the trailhead and the start of the trail will be easy to locate. As with most trails in the area avoid this one after rain, especially the upper loop.


From the boat launch parking, go south along the road for a couple hundred yards to a large gate where the trail starts and follows an irrigation ditch for another couple hundred yards. The trail then starts climbing, steeply at times up great singletrack with some technical rock features along the way. This first section is the steepest on the loop.

The first climb follows great singletrack and technical rock sections across dry washes as it switchbacks up ~800 feet to the upper loop connector trail. The trail is great in either direction, but for simple navigating and great views, take a right at every junction and you'll see all of the highlights.

When you reach the Upper Rim Loop, you'll see signs indicating petroglyphs just off the trail near the junction. Check them out now if you want a break on the climb, or on the way down if you don't want to break your flow. Follow signs for the Upper Loop and then stay right at the next junction. Amazing exposure along the rim awaits as you hike over rocky shale, packed dirt and slickrock. The back side of the loop heads away from the cliff's edge and weaves in and out of washes to bring you back to the petroglyph junction. Head right again to see all of the trails and you'll also get a better view into some of the side canyons. Stay right again at the final junction to end up back at the road.

Hiked this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Dogs Allowed, Flora & Fauna, History & Background


Rate This Featured Hike

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Hike

Check In


Aug 9, 2019
Crystal Smith
Aug 5, 2019
chris bursey
Lower loop, hot but a good trip 3.8mi — 2h 00m
Jun 29, 2019
Savannah Weaver
Mostly bird watched and walked a bit past the loop split point of the lower rim trail. Nice trail for what I saw and great birding. 2mi
May 26, 2019
Brandon Bell
Lower loop only. 3.2mi
Oct 6, 2018
Kelly Phillips
Aug 25, 2018
Tyler Hincy
The trail can be done as a lower and upper part. I only did he lower due to time constraints. However, the petroglyphs are easy to spot and are neat. 4mi
Jun 30, 2018
Megan Ferris
Amazing sunset hike - bring a good headlamp for the trek down. 5.3mi
Jun 22, 2018
Jen Kearns

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 25 votes


in Palisade


  4.4 from 25 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Featured Hike Rankings


in Palisade


in Colorado


190 Views Last Month
7,888 Since Jul 14, 2015



A glimpse of the petroglyphs.
Jul 17, 2015 near Palisade, CO
Some of the fun initial climb/decent on Palisade Rim
Jul 17, 2015 near Palisade, CO
Palisade Rim Trail runs along the edge of the cliffs on the right, it's a long way down!
Jul 17, 2015 near Palisade, CO
Approaching the rim on the lower loop.
Jul 17, 2015 near Palisade, CO


Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking