We posted some popular 4×4 trails to experience in Mesa County about a month ago but we couldn’t fit it all in one post, so we’re doing a part 2! Here are some more 4×4 trails for you to experience near the Grand Junction area in Mesa County. Don’t forget to put on all of those necessary aftermarket parts first!
1. DS Road
Skill Level: Beginner
Trail Length: 51 Miles
Nearby Towns: Grand Junction, Moab
Elevation: 4,260 to 7,100 feet
DS Road is perhaps the longest 4×4 trail we have posted on our blog. It’s worth mentioning because it’s a very scenic alternative to getting from Grand Junction to Moab, UT. The entire trail is accessible and easy to navigate, and provides some awesome views similar to those you would find in Moab and other parts of Utah. This also happens to be the only way to get access to the Dolores Triangle if the Dolores River is too deep to cross.
It starts on the southwest side of Grand Junction as a paved road, which leads you to the entrance of the Colorado National Monument. Go through the entrance, through the park, and take Glade Park Road. When you get to the park, turn left at DS Road. After some time, the road will become unpaved and dusty. Eventually you’ll reach the Utah border and the trail will seem to end, however if you turn right and follow the trail it will become narrower and bring you into Utah.
2. McInnis Canyons
Skill level: Beginner
Nearby Towns: Fruita, Grand Junction
This trail isn’t so much a trail, but a gateway to some hiking and scenery. Because of the amazing scenery here, it’s definitely worth mentioning. The McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area has some of the best scenery in Western Colorado, and has major arches and rock formations to photograph or view. There is a small 4×4 trail that will allow easy access to this scenery. There are two roads you can take (depending on the time of the year, check to see which roads are open), the Upper Road and the Lower Road. The upper road will take you closest to the Mee Canyon hiking trailhead, and the lower road will give you easier access to Rattlesnake Canyon. To get to the trailhead, you have to travel through the Colorado National Monument from I-70.
3. Long Slough Reservoir Road
Skill Level: Medium
Nearby Towns: Collbran, De Beque, Grand Junction
Trail Length: 12.75 Miles
Elevation: 9,500 to 10,050 feet
If you’re looking for a scenic road through the forest that will put youraftermarket 4×4 parts to the test, this is a great option. It’s not too challenging of a drive but has some water crossings and thick mud, so if it’s rained recently those over-sized mud tires may come in handy. If you like fishing, the reservoir has some great trout fishing (with some regulations). This trail can sometimesnavigate, so a GPS will come in handy if you have one.
The trail starts at the Jumbo reservoir across the pavement from the trailhead. Turn right at the first fork, which will take you to forest service road 254.1A; you will follow this road for the majority of the journey. You’ll pass Water Dog Reservoir and other small ponds, which will eventually take you to Long Slough Reservoir. If you continue your journey, drive past the north end of Bull Creek Reservoir 4, 5 and 2. If you continue to follow this service road, you’ll end up finding more reservoirs to fish, an empty cabin, which you can stay in, and a few bridge crossings and other scenery to enjoy.
4. Sheep Creek
Skill Level: Easy
Nearby Towns: Gateway, Moab
Trail Length: 18 Miles
Elevation: 4,400 to 7,445 feet
This is another trail that connects us with our neighbors over in Utah. This connects the town of Gateway with the end of DS Road on the Utah side. This trail isn’t particularly difficult, but does have some steep climbs and high cliffs you should be aware about. Start in Colorado and take 4.2 Road just north of Gateway to follow the Dolores River on its east side. You’ll start by traveling through some switchbacks which can be tight, so be careful. Once you’ve passed all the switchbacks (there are a lot) the trail will flatten out. The trail becomes slightly more difficult here since it’s bumpy and narrow, but shouldn’t be too challenging. When you arrive at the fork in the road, take a right to continue on the trail, which will take you to yet another fork further down the trail. If you turn left you’ll get back to the Dolores River. If you turn right, you’ll be taken to DS Road.
Before going on any sort of adventure, get your vehicle checked out by an auto technician, or see our mechanic in Fort Collins. Always use the buddy system when possible for a safe journey and make sure all aftermarket 4×4 parts are correctly installed and inspected first.