GoldStar Canyon to Monument CanyonDate: 11/29/2010
Miles: Approx. 2 miles round trip
Time: 2.5 hours
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 39° 5’26.90″N, 108°41’23.76″W
View GoldStar2MonumentCanyon in a larger map
To access the trailhead from the intersection of Redlands Parkway and Broadway in Grand Junction, follow Redlands Parkway south until it turns into South Broadway. Continue following South Broadway as it passes Riggs Hill on your right and the Wildwood trailhead for Liberty Cap on your left. The road will wind its way and South Broadway will actually turn left at a “T” in the road, be sure to turn here and continue following it until you see the small break in the Monument boundary fence just off the road on your left. The total distance from the intersection to the trailhead is about 4 miles.
There are a fair number of little trails branching off in different directions but the one that takes you to the top of the Precambrian Granite heads straight from the fence and climbs gently towards a small section of slickrock embedded in the granite. Once you reach the slickrock the trail begins climbing very quickly and becomes fairly steep in some places. This section of the trail is where it gets its “strenuous” rating. It took me about 15 minutes to reach the top of the bench which is about halfway to the top of the monument. Once you reach the top the trail levels out. Once you travel for a hundred yards or so you will come to a “Y” in the trail. You will want to turn right at this point, if you continue straight you will end up going deeper into Goldstar Canyon which is a totally different trail.
If you keep your eyes open, a short distance down the trail on your left you will find some rock art of a sun on the face of a large boulder. I have heard there are various displays of rock art in this area but that is the only one I have ever found. Once past this section the trail continues to gently follow the terrain as it dips in and out of small washes and around large boulders.
After approximately a mile you will come to another “Y” in the trail. The trail branches off in a small clearing type area and the trail going down if very faint at this point. I actually missed it somehow and ended up following another trial around the mountain and into Monument Canyon itself. There are cairns in various places at this point and after backtracking and getting back on the correct trail I wasn’t sure how I missed it the first time. If you miss the turn, after a short distance you will come to the remains of an old fence that I am assuming was built by John Otto. The only thing remaining of the fence are some fence posts that are lying on the ground spaced apart down a small wash and one lone pole still standing in the ground higher up on the side of the hill. If you end up walking beneath Mushroom Rock you will have definitely taken the wrong trail and will need to backtrack to get down.
Once on the correct trail it directed me down the slope and directly towards the large sandstone mountain. This end of the trail is not nearly as steep as the beginning part but there are a lot of larger loose rocks that I’m sure could be an ankle breaker f you weren’t careful.
About halfway down the hillside you will see some more remains of the old fence with some poles still standing and shored up with a bunch of rocks. This was kind of an interesting area to explore, there were all kinds of little ledges to climb up and around.
As the trial reaches the bottom it levels out and follows a small dry creek bed. From this point I just continued on the main trail and followed it back to the trailhead. There was a trail that branched off to the left and headed in the direction of the Monument Canyon trail but I only followed it a short distance because the Monuments boundary fence was no longer there and I couldn’t remember where the boundary was and did not want to get on private property.
The remainder of the trail heads pretty much strait back to the trailhead as it weaves in and out of the sage brush. There was a lot of what appeared to be bobcat scat along the trail so be sure to keep an eye out.
Overall the trail is a nice and fun short hike. There are good views of the valley, a decent challenge at the beginning and a sense of history to it. Although it took me about 2 ½ hours to hike the trail, it could probably be done in about half the time if you didn’t stop and explore and take pictures as much as I did.