Big Wash

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 2.2 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4845 - 5004 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 1 hr. 45 mins.
Trailhead: Big Wash
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic canyon close to town.




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Big Wash is the name of a side draw in Plateau Canyon near the confluence of Plateau Creek and the Colorado River. The wash leads into a scenic canyon that is popular with some local hikers. Several of them, and others that see vehicles parked at the trailhead when passing through, have asked us about making a post of the trail so here it is. For the most part there isn't a designated trail to follow but the obvious route is up the canyon. That makes this a primitive hike that is tucked away in a primitive area.


The large parking area that serves as the trailhead for this hike is just over 2 miles up Plateau Creek Canyon on Highway 65 after leaving Interstate 70. The trailhead is on the right-hand side of the road just before the bridge over the creek.


Finding your way up the wash can be a bit of a booger in places with no official trail to follow. A lot depends on how much water is in the wash.


As you head up stream the walls of the wash get high enough that it transforms itself into a canyon.


Obstacles like spill overs and large boulders begin to present themselves the further you go. With the canyon becoming more narrow it becomes more difficult to find alternative routes.


Eventually we came to a spill over and boulder area about a mile from the parking area that caused us to turn around.


We could have made our way around the obstacles had the alternate route not been overgrown with poison ivy. Remember that the oil from these plants will get on the surrounding rocks where it can persist from year to year. It is possible to get the oil on your hands and clothing even in the winter when the leaves are off of the plant by brushing up against the stems or other contaminated surfaces.


It isn't too hard to find a variety of things like these columbines or unique and picturesque rock formations to engage your mind and satisfy your appetite for adventure and exploration. The echoes of birds reverberating off the canyon walls can make it sound more like a jungle than a desert place.


The Big Wash trail is a good place to explore at least once. Without a good trail to follow it can be a little tough to hike in places. If you bring a dog along be sure to keep an eye out for poison ivy so you can keep them out of it. The reeds growing along the creek near the mouth of the canyon have a lot of poison ivy interlaced in with them. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.