Go Play: Rough Canyon lives up to its name near Grand Junction
WHAT: Rough Canyon Trail
WHEN: Spring, early summer, or late fall
WHERE: 5.5 miles up Little Park Road on left side.
DISTANCE: 2.2 miles one way
TIME: Up to three hours
ACCESS: Foot only
Tired of hustle and bustle? Take a short drive up Little Park Road and hike Rough Canyon for an escape.
To get to Rough Canyon from Grand Junction, take Broadway towards the Redlands, turn left on Monument Road, and left again at D Road. It will eventually bring you to the end of D Road, forcing you right onto Little Park Road. Ride Little Park Road for about 5.5 miles until you see a sign for Bangs Canyon Trailhead on the left.
This trail is typically done as an out-and-back. It starts at the same point of the Mica Mine trail. Head down a few steep ledges and you will see a sign pointing right for Mica Mine or left for Rough Canyon.
The trail will venture down more. The path is hard to find when there isn’t water present, so be aware of the surroundings. It’s best to follow the creek bed if dry.
Rough Canyon is easy for families for the first half-mile, and a fun way to see a good waterfall after a heavy rain.
After the waterfall, it begins to climb down the left side of the waterfall. You will cross to the other side of the canyon, and follow a trail up along a wall of unique rock.
When we descended the fall, we began to hear a unique sound not usually heard throughout the valley. I personally thought it was a raptor dinosaur coming back from the dead, but my hiking partners explained it was a frog. (I think my theory still stands).
The trail continues to descend through rocks and forest, becoming more and more desolate as the path continues through the canyon.
While navigating down, take a moment to look up at the expansive canyon walls above. There are many wild flowers as well splashing color along the trail.
As the trail continues, it becomes more primitive, back-country style hiking. Make the path your own as you navigate through rocks and forest.
The group and I continued for another half a mile before the trail and sunlight began to disappear on us. We decided to turn around at the one-mile mark.
Just remember what goes down, must come up. We tried to stay on the path as well as we could — taking many wrong turns, as it was hard to remember where we came from.
It took us about two hours to complete 2.2 miles with stops and exploration — plus me having a mild panic attack from the strange sounds echoing throughout the canyon.
I suggest this trail for anyone looking to explore the area. The hike is probably best enjoyed in cooler weather for less bugs.
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