Pet-e-Kes Trail/Miramonte Trail

Date: December 26, 2009
Round Trip Distance: 7.6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 4673-5104 feet
Cellphone: 3-4 bars
Usage: Hiking - Biking - Equestrian - Dogs
Start: 09:00 End: 12:30 Elapsed: 3 hrs. 30 mins.
Facilities: Vault Toilets
Trailhead: Tabeguache
Fee: none

It was 10F when I reached the trailhead this morning. The sun was now shining over the ridge and it looked like it was going to be another nice winter day for getting outside. I had the trails to myself when I started out but within a few minutes it started becoming apparent that a lot of other people had the same thing on their minds. There were a couple of trail runners that came up behind me and three more that were heading up the Eagle's trail.

I followed the Tabeguache trail as it headed through the wash for a little over a third mile and then I took the fork to the right for the Eagle's trail. Not much had changed from when I went through here a couple of days ago.

A short distance up another wash and I was at the start of the Pet-e-Kes trail. The trail was climbing along the edge of the ridge, winding around each ravine it came to, and the hiking was easy and pleasant. There was a good variety of rocks and terrain to keep things interesting.

The Pet-e-Kes trail is only a little over a mile long and it didn't seem long at all before I was at the Eagle's Trail/High Noon Trail and walking across to the intersection with the Tabeguache trail.

When I reached the Tabeguache trail I headed back towards the trailhead for 50 feet or so to where the High Noon trail continues to the east to Raven Ridge. It was a fun little jaunt the short distance across the High Noon trail.

The trail cut between some rocks and along the west side of Raven Ridge. The exposure along the edge of the ridge didn't seem too bad hiking but I would have been feeling a lot of exhilaration on a bike in a few spots.

It was probably about a half mile across the ridge and then another couple tenths and I was at the start of the Ali-Ali-Loop trail. The south side of the loop heading out along the top of the cliffs was mostly dry. Coming back around on the north side the trail was still covered with 6-8 inches of snow. The path was beaten down pretty good through the snow.

I continued around the Ali-Ali-Loop trail to the main trail and headed a little further north to the beginning of the Miramonte Trail. The most applicable meaning for Miramonte in this case is probably 'Mountain View'.

The trail has a branch that runs to the right along the south ridge and one that runs around the north ridge. I took the trail to the left around the north side of the hill. The hiking was pretty easy as the trail wound around the mountain until it once again rejoined the trail coming around from the other side. At this point I followed the trail that dropped down to the floor of the valley near the boundary with some private property.

The trail turned back along the base of the mountain through the valley floor heading towards its junction with the trail along the ridge. The trail was a lot of fun to follow as it worked its way across the bottom and through a narrow gully. Just after the passage through the gully the trail worked its way at an angle until it regained the ridge.

Once I was back on the ridge I made my way around to the junction of Curt's Lane, Raven Ridge and the Bentonite Hill trail. The Bentonite Hill trail was my ticket down the west side of the ridge on the main trailhead side of the hill.

I felt like hiking some more so I headed down Bentonite Hill to the bottom and took an unnamed trail that runs between Raven Ridge and the Tabeguache trail. I followed the trail up the hills to the south until I was back to the High Noon trail. I took the High Noon trail back across to the Tabeguache trail and headed downhill to the wash and made my way back to the main trailhead.

I ended up hiking almost 8 miles in all my wandering around. It would be easy to chop this hike up into 3 or 4 nice short hikes or add in another trail or two and get a lot more hiking in. All of the trails were easy enough for most people but taken together they made for a moderate level of difficulty. I must have been pretty thirsty again because I went through 60 ounces of water. I saw a dozen or so trail runners, hikers and a couple of mountain bikers and I was the only one that was carrying any water at all. I doubt if any of them were in any danger of keeling over from dehydration.

It was 23F when I made it back to the trailhead. It didn't feel too bad though. I stayed plenty warm enough wearing a pair of Under Armour Extreme Cold Gear, jeans, wool shirt and a coat. The trail runners were all wearing a lot less. The Pet-e-Kes and Miramonte trails are two more great places around Grand Junction that can be enjoyed anytime of the year. We sure all spoiled with all the great places to go and all so close to town. I'm pretty sure the trailhead is even within city limits. I would be remiss to also mention that hikers should always yield the trail to bikers, runners and horses so head to the Tabeguache trailhead and 'Take a hike'.
Pet-e-Kes Trail
Miramonte Trail