Clifton Nature Park Trail
Miles: 2.1 one way
Time: 30mins on bike
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 39° 3.323’N , 108° 27.633’W
The Clifton Nature Park Trail is another well done section of the Colorado Riverfront Trail System that nearly spans the entire length of the Grand Valley. The Riverfront Trail System has been an ongoing project for nearly 25 years and the idea of having one continuous trail from Palisade to Fruita is getting closer every year. This post describes one of the newer sections of the trail.
The Clifton Nature Park trail is a short 2.1 mile one way route with a couple options to access it. The first option is to begin at Corn Lake, the only problem with this starting point is that you will need a parks pass is you drive into the park. The next option is to head off of C ½ road on Orchard Mesa, there’s not a whole lot of places to park at this point. If you live in Clifton there is an access point just off of D road and 32 ½ road. The last place you can access the trail is at 33 ½ rd and D ½ rd. I always begin at Corn Lake because the only time I ride this portion of the trail is when I’m coming from the 29 road area.
The trail begins by going under 32 road and winds its way through a small grove of trees as it gently climbs a small slope. At the top of the incline you can turn right and cross over the river via the bridge and climb up to Orchard Mesa.
If you don’t take the bridge the trail drops back down and travels between a small lake and the river. There are always some sort of water fowl in this lake rather it be various ducks, geese or blue herons. I’ve even seen a nice size buck wading in the river along this area.
A short distance along the lake you’ll come to a “Y”. Going left will take you to the D road entrance to the trail, going right crosses over a small bridge and passes a popular swimming area on your right.
All along this section on your right is cottonwood trees, willows and various other plants and brush. On your left will be a functioning gravel pit. When they are not working the pit I’ve seen all sorts of birds wading around in the shallow water including Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets and all sorts of different ducks.
After the gravel pit the trail passes another small lake and travels under a canopy of cottonwood trees with some thick brush on the right and some old corrals and fields creating a pretty ranch type scene on the left.
The trail continues for a few hundred yards more where it abruptly ends at 33 ½ road. From this point you can either turn left and travel along the road back to the D road access making a nice loop or turn back the way you came.
The Clifton Nature Park Trail section is a nice section of trail with some opportunities to see various wildlife. A good portion of the land the trail is built upon was conserved and donated by a gentleman name Ronald Arnett, it’s thanks to him and his wife that access through this section is available.