Round Trip Distance: 1.5 miles
Elevation: 4990-5060 feet
Cellphone: 4 bars
Usage: Hiking - No Dogs
Time: 90 min.
Facilities: Toilet at Devils Kitchen Picnic Area
Trailhead: Devil's Kitchen
Fee: $5 individual - $10 vehicle - $25 annual pass
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Devils Kitchen is a short hike but the trail is a lot of fun and the unique geology is a must see. The trailhead is just past the east entrance to the Colorado National Monument. There are 5 main trails that all begin at this point; Devil's Kitchen, No Thoroughfare Canyon, Echo Canyon, Old Gordon Trail and the infamous Serpents Trail.
We set out on the trail at the south end of the parking lot after making a quick trip across the road to the restrooms at the Devils Kitchen Picnic area. The hike begins by descending the hill down to the mouth of No Thoroughfare Canyon. After a short distance the Old Gordon Trail branches off to the left and the main trail continues up the canyon to the right.
After walking through some of the biggest and tallest sagebrush I have ever seen and continuing up the wash for a little way we came to the split for the Devils Kitchen trail.
We continued up a wash along an interesting Entrada sandstone cliff until we came to a stone stairway that someone had spent a lot of effort in making. We could see the marks in the stone where the holes had been drilled in order to split the rocks into their present shape. We didn't see any apparent quarry site near by so it is hard to say how far they had to transport their building material.
The steps of quarried stone were followed by steps that were hewn into an expanse of slick rock. There were several routes marked with cairns that led up to our destination. One route was more prominent and had more hewn steps so that was the path we stuck with.
The last section leading up to the hall of stones that forms the Devils Kitchen would probably be difficult in wet conditions. It was such a short distance that we had to manage and our toddler companions handled it without any problems that it didn't seem enough to classify the trail at a level more than easy. If you like though you could say that the trail is easy up to the slick rock point and then moderate from there to the finish.
We thoroughly enjoyed climbing around the rocks that make up the Devils Kitchen area. The outcrop of rocks is composed of various monoliths and boulders that almost entirely enclose an inner chamber.
This kitchen even has several windows through which to view the distant expanse.
We had to climb a bit to see the view to the north.
After climbing around and having some lunch we carefully chose what appeared to be the most interesting route back down the hill.
The trip back to the trailhead went quickly. We passed several other people that were hiking in but all the time we were around Devils Kitchen we had the run of the place.
It's amazing all the really choice trails that we have to hike in the Grand Junction area. Devils Kitchen, although only a short distance to hike, makes for a premier experience. It's no wonder that the caretakers of the past put so much work into the trail. They must have also seen it as a local treasure. If you want to see the Devils Kitchen for yourself all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.