Devils CanyonDate: 4/12/2010
Miles: Approx. 5+ Miles Round Trip
Time: Approx. 3 1/2 hours
Trail head GPS Coordinates: 39° 8’22.52″N, 108°45’29.94″W
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The Devils Canyon trail is located within the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area south of Fruita Colorado. To access the trail head from Grand Junction, travel west on I-70 to the Fruita exit. Turn left and travel about 1.5 miles to Kingsview Estate, there is also a sign indicating Horsethief State Wildlife Area. Turn right and drive through the small subdivision and bear left when the road turns to gravel. The trail head is located on your left after about a 1/4 mile after the pavement ends. There is a fairly large parking area just off of the road.
The trail does a nice loop up and out of Devils Canyon. I’ve seen different numbers when it comes to the mileage. The BLM indicates it as being 5 miles, but I’ve seen numbers from 5 to over 7 miles. To me it felt like about 5 miles.
There is almost an endless number of trail combinations in this area. There are trails that lead to Kodels Canyon, one that takes you to Flume Canyon and many different routes around the Devils Canyon area.
The trail head has plenty of parking, toilets and an information kiosk with maps. Be sure to grab a map, it will help a lot. I’ve heard that there was a developer that originally was planning on building a subdivision at the mouth of the canyon, but something happened and he never did. The BLM jumped in and purchased the area.
The beginning of the trail follows a closed road for a short distance. On this trip I stayed on the D1 route all the way to the D4 junction. I chose that route due to the time of year. I would recommend taking D1 until you get to the D3 junction then following D3 up the stream bed. I didn’t go that route this time because the stream had water running through it and I didn’t feel like getting my feet wet at the beginning of my day. Both routes have their own personalities and both are beautiful.
The D4 trail does eventually drop down into the stream bed, but by then there are plenty of places to step to remain dry. After a short distance up the stream bed the trail branches off to the left. I decided to take the left fork this time and go in a counter clockwise direction. I hiked up the right fork during the winter and it seamed like a long climb up. The left fork climbs out of the stream bed rather quickly but the difference with it is ti climbs pretty steep for a ways then levels out and lets you rest a little before climbing up the next steep section. Eventually it levels out for th most part with a few ups and downs. The right fork pretty much climbs up the whole way.
As you continue following the trail you’ll come to a small mine on your right. What was mined out of it or what they were looking for is a mystery to me. I’m fascinated with the history of Western Colorado and would like to learn more about the mine and this area.
Once you pass the mine the trail leads to an old one room cabin that sits on a little hill above the creek. It is a very interesting cabin with a small table and log book hikers can write in and a small bunk bed. I took some time here and read through a lot of the pages in the log and had some lunch.
Once I finished exploring the little cabin, I continued following the trail down the little hill and across the stream. From here the trail gradually drops in elevation until you get close to the end where it drops down rather quickly and connects to the trail you came in on.
This is a very pretty area to hike. It offers solitude, a slight challenge and views to remember. I hiked it on a Monday and only met one person the whole day. On the weekends I’ve driven by the trail head and the parking lot is almost full, but there is so many trails to take in the area the chances of running across too many people are slim.
After I got back to the D1 trail I still felt like exploring a little more so I continued following the D1 trail up a ways farther and did the D6 route, there are all kinds of old foundation looking structures in this canyon. After exploring a little I hooked back into the D4 trail and followed it back to the trail head. Towards the North end of the D4 trail there is a little room carved out of the cliff face you can go into, the temperature was nice and cool inside.
I rated this trail a four star because of the scenery, distance, historical presence and challenge. The only thing it was missing was more wildlife.