Liberty Cap – Lower THDate: 3/31/14
Miles: 4 miles round trip
Time: 2hrs 45min
Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 39° 4’5.10″N, 108°39’36.35″W
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To access the trailhead from 1st and Grand Ave. in Grand Junction you want to travel west on Broadway for about 3.7 miles to the intersection of Broadway and Redlands Parkway. From here you need to turn left and travel on Redlands Parkway for about 1 ¼ miles. You will pass Riggs Hill on your right just before the turn off to Wildwood Drive. Make a left turn onto Wildwood Drive and go about .4 miles to the parking area which is on your right.
The trail starts by meandering over an open prairie type area as it gently climbs and heads towards the base of the Precambrian granite bench. There are a few little side trails that branch off and cut across country to various areas but if you stay on the main trail you will come to the junction of the Corkscrew Trail and Liberty Cap Trail. From this junction continue straight as the trail heads towards the large slab of sandstone sticking out at the base of the granite bench.
Once you reach the base of the granite the trail begins climbing and doesn’t really let up until you reach the top of the “bench”. The trail alternates between steep and really steep. Although it’s steep, there really are no areas with major exposure to ledges. I’m pretty squeamish when it comes to heights and cliff edges but I had no problems with this section at all.
Once at the top of the bench you come to the junction of the Ute Canyon and Corkscrew trails. Be sure to follow the sign and bear to the right. The trail levels out briefly here and gives your legs a slight break.
All too soon the trail begins climbing again as you begin ascending the second level. The trail begins to get a little more technical along this last major climb. There are sections where rocks have been stacked and the trail is built on top of those rocks.
There are a couple areas along this level that are fairly steep and required me to use at least one hand to grab with but mostly that was for balance.
You’ll know when you basically reach the last level because the trail will level out and follow along the base of the highest cliff. This stretched looked a little intimidating but once I started it really wasn’t too bad. You still have to watch your step and if you have young kids you definitely would want to watch them close and probably hold on to them.
Liberty Cap just kind of all of a sudden comes into view. One last small ledge and you will be on a flat plateau type area with views of the Grand Valley to the north and a great view looking up Ute Canyon to the south. At this point you can walk over and sit at the bottom of Liberty Cap itself and actually appreciate the beauty of the Grand Valley that not many people get to enjoy.
This is actually a fantastic hike and one that I could do on a regular basis. I was originally intimidated by the possible steep and narrow sections but once I did the entire route it really wasn’t too bad. I would highly recommend this trail.