Off the beaten path doesn’t even begin to explain the unsurpassed beauty and solitude of Colorado’s Dominguez Canyon Wilderness.

Hands down one of our favorite Colorado hikes on the western slope.

Bridgeport Trailhead, Dominguez Escalante Wilderness, easy hiking near Grand Junction.

 

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Once reaching the Trailhead you may wonder “what’s the big deal?”. No worries, in a mile or so it will be one of the most scenic hiking adventures you’ve had your boots on

Begin by walking through the green gate and walk alongside the railroad tracks on a dirt road which will eventually cross the tracks and lead you to the old Bridgeport Townsite.

 

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It’s Labor Day weekend and surprisingly no one else is about. I did wonder if we were actually headed to the Dominguez Wilderness until we came upon a kiosk and trail register just before a bridge that crossed the Gunnison River.

 

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Turn left after going across the bridge. You’ll be hiking alongside the Gunnison River toward the Dominguez Canyon.

 

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Kayakers and a canoe of enthusiasts floated downstream. (in the summer months this area is busy with whitewater rafters) Just before entering the Canyon we saw quite a few primitive campsites along the river. 

 

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You’ve now gone about 2 miles and have reached the entrance to the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Area.

We passed through another gate and could hear a small waterfall on our left and along the trail to our right, we found an old pioneer homestead with remnants of an old corral.

 

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The farther we hiked into Dominguez Canyon Wilderness, the more impressive the views & scenery became. Stunning red canyon walls littered with Piñon & Jupiter surrounded us. 

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Alongside the trail were fields of cacti, some still with blooms.

 

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The trail is an easy up and down, doable for most. There is no water source and it’s quite hot between the canyon walls. Wide open with little shade.

Bring plenty of water & sunscreen.

We ran into a delightful couple on horseback. Was picturesque in this setting to watch them ride, like being in a western movie.

 

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Bighorn sheep are spotted quite often here, however, we did not see one. A couple of lizards scurrying across the trail were the only wildlife we encountered.

The deeper we hiked into the canyon, the more rugged and solidarity it became.

 

 

About 3.75 miles into Dominguez Canyon, we came to a large boulder full of petroglyphs.

 

This was worth the heat and miles to get here!

 


 

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We wandered a bit farther down the trail looking for an impressive waterfall we’d heard about but stopped another ½ mile in.

Not finding or hearing a waterfall, we turned around here. It’s possible we did not go far enough, but it’s also possible with the extreme drought this year in Colorado it had dried up by the end of summer?  If you’ve been here let us all know what we missed!

Surrounded by deep red slick-rock canyons, we stopped and enjoyed our lunch, feeling like we had this entire wilderness to ourselves. 

 

Dominguez Escalante Wilderness,

 

Hiking back through the Canyon we stumbled upon more petroglyphs, and like little kids we felt like we discovered our own secret treasure. 

Not a trail to take lightly, its barren, hot, and secluded. Even though classified as an easy trail, it is a trek you want to be prepared for with appropriate hiking gear. Please check out “What’s in Your Day Pack” for a list of recommended items anytime hiking.

 

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The photos I took are just a sprinkling of the beauty surrounding this Wilderness. It’s vast, it’s primitive, it’s truly a step back in time.

 

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This is an easy hiking trail, about 7 miles out and back to the petroglyphs, and a breathtaking look at the Uncompahgre Plateau in western Colorado.

Finding Bridgepoint Trailhead:

From Grand Junction: About 20 miles south on Hwy 50, toward Delta. Turn right Bridgepoint Road (dirt road) and drive approximately 3 miles to the Bridgeport Trailhead. (the road dead-ends at the Trailhead).

From Montrose: About 60 miles north on Hwy 50, going through the town of Delta towards Grand Junction. Turn left on Bridgepoint Road.

TIDBITS – Bridgepoint Trail – Big Dominguez Canyon – 7-14 miles out and back

Rated: easy/moderate

2 miles from Trailhead to access Dominguez Canyon Wilderness

Approximate 2 miles from access to petroglyphs

Backpacking haven

No fresh drinking water

Family, dog & horseback friendly

Horse trailer parking

Minimal cell service

 

TIDBITS – Dominguez Canyon Wilderness

66,280 acres

4 Access points: Bridgepoint Trailhead, Dominguez Campground, Cactus Park Trailhead & floating down the Gunnison River.

Information on access points: ColoradoCanyonAssociation.org

General Information: Wilderness Connect

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Note: Many of the links are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission (at no added cost to you)