Holy CrossDate: 11/19/2012
Miles: 5 miles round trip
Hours: 3 hr 45min
Trail Head GPS Coordinates: 39° 2.991’N , 108° 36.343’W
View Holy Cross in a larger map
The Holy Cross Trail is located within the Lunch Loop Trail System that is located just south of Grand Junction and between Little Park Road and Monument Road. To access the trailhead from 1st and Grand in Grand Junction travel West on Broadway for approximately .87 miles until you reach Monument Road. Turn left and travel approximately 1.6 miles until you come to the Tabeguache Bike Park located on your left. The trail head is on the Monument Road side of the bike park next to the large kiosk.
There is a myriad of trails with an equal number of names in this area so it is really easy to get off on the wrong trail and get turned around. To make matters worse there isn’t really any one trail with the same name from start to finish. In order to reach a certain trail you have to traverse any number of other trails. The BLM offers a nice map you can print out which is invaluable if you want a specific trail. You can get a map of the Lunch Loop Trail System here.
The lunch loop trails got its name due to the fact that it is close enough to town and a couple of the trails are short enough that you can do a short hike on your lunch hour and be back at work in time to finish the day. The area get heavy use by hikers, joggers and mountain bikers the areas near the parking area and trail head are especially busy. Once you get out a ways things begin to feel a little more remote and secluded. We ran across a few mountain bikers but that was about it. You do need to be careful and stay alert because there are some areas that the mountain bikers ride pretty fast down. All the ones we ran across seemed pretty respectable and cautious themselves.
The trail starts out by following an old wash and up into a bentonite gully that opens up into a wide mars landscape looking valley with a number of little hills scattered throughout it. At the entrance to the valley you are given the option of going left or right, stay to the left and keep to the lowest trail. Up to this point you are on the Tabeguache trail. Once through the valley the trail begins a fairly steep climb to the top of the hill.
Once the trail starts climbing you are now on the Moto trail. This portion is probably the most strenuous part of the whole route. The trial climbs and then levels out a little on the spine of the ridge. At this point there is a trail marker and the option to go left or right. You want to go right onto the Lemon Squeezer trail. This short portion is pretty neat because it passes through and twists around some very large boulders as it continues up the hill. Once you reach the top of the hill you will come to a large “rest” area. There is a large flat boulder on its side that offers some nice shade to stop and have lunch. This area has about 4-5 trails all coming together.
Once rested you want to turn onto the Pre-Nup trail and follow it a short distance until you come to the official start of the Holy Cross trail that will be on your left. For the next couple of miles there is only the one trail that you can follow as it remains fairly level as it twists its way through the pinions and juniper trees and giant rock gardens with just a few ups and downs.
The trail eventually drops down, passes the Holey Bucket trail and skirts a large flatland area. Just prior to the trail dropping down to the valley you will pass a large wooden cross that was erected some time ago. Once you get to the other side of the flat area the trail begins its final climb to the top of the ridge and the end of the Holy Cross trail. Upon reaching the ridge top you want to turn left onto Coyote Ridge and follow it until you come to the Ali-Alley trail marker. Continue following Ali-Alley until you come to the junction of Curt’s Lane. Once at the junction you want to turn left and head over the rim and drop back down into the small valley that was at the beginning of the trail. This portion of the trail is pretty steep as well and I’m sure could get pretty slick f it was wet.
Once at the bottom of the hill you will be back on the Tabeguache Trail where you can follow it back the way you came to the trail head. This trail was really enjoyable with great views and a wide variety of terrain. They have done a great job of building and maintaining the trails in this area. The only thing I didn’t care much for was how busy it was in the vicinity of the trail head. It took us close to 4 hours to complete but there were four of us with one being a 9 year old so we took a lot of breaks. If I was alone it probably would have been only a couple hours.
Overall this was a great trail with some great views and scenery that is also close to town.