Miracle RockDate: 5/7/2009
Miles: Approx. 1 Mile Round Trip
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 38°58’48.98″N, 108°52’17.57″W
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To access Miracle Rock from Grand Junction, travel west on Grand Ave. from 1st street for just under 1 mile. Turn left onto Monument Road and travel for about 7 1/4 until you come to DS Road. If you tell the Park Ranger at the entrance booth you are just going to Glade Park, they will not make you pay an entrance fee to Colorado National Monument, you just are not suppose to stop once inside the park without a pass. Once you get onto DS Road, follow it for about 13 3/4 miles until you come to 9 8/10 road there is a sign indicating Miracle Rock campground. Turn left and travel just over 1 mile. The campground and trailhead is on your left.
The official trail to Miracle Rock is an easy ½ mile hike up a well defined trail. The hike up to Miracle Rock itself is not real scenic in most places due to the fact you are walking among the pinion and juniper trees but it is still very pretty. It is rather neat walking among the trees and looking at all the different shapes and sizes, not to mention watching all the lizards scurry away.
Once you get to Miracle Rock the view changes rather dramatically. The rock itself is perched precariously on a one foot pedestal on the edge of a rather high cliff. This is definitely a place to keep a close eye on the youngsters. The view of the surrounding valley and distant mountains is very pretty. Miracle Rock itself is only about 1/2 mile from the picnic area.
If you continue past Miracle Rock and bear to the left there is a natural amphitheater type area that is pretty neat. After we explored that area a little, we continued up the mountain. To get to the end of the trail and see the arch, you need to stay to the left, or North of the amphitheater area. From here the trail becomes less and less maintained and in some sections rather steep. There is basically no danger of falling off a cliff or anything on the majority of the trail. There are a couple “flats” that you traverse that do go straight to a cliff so be cautious in those areas.
As I mentioned earlier, the trail does become less obvious as you get farther, as long as you continue following the ridge in a Southerly direction you will eventually come to the end. Once at the end there is a large slick rock area. You want to begin going down that and head to your right or West. You will know you are there when you come to a “Chute” or a slick rock gully and just over the edge of the hill on your left, or south is the arch. You can actually climb down to the arch and walk around it but I would recommend using a rope and tying of to a tree above because the last six feet or so of the climb down is almost completely vertical.
This arch is somewhat unique from other arches because most arches such as the ones in Arches National Park are formed with the arch in line with the rock and the “hole” is at a 90 degree angle. The arch at Miracle Rock is just the opposite, the “hole” is actually in line with the surrounding rock and the arch is at a 90 degree angle.
Once you’re finished exploring the arch, just climb back out and follow the ridge north and you will eventually come back to Miracle Rock and the maintained trail.