Andy's Loop

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 7.15 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
Elevation: 4681 - 5428 feet
Cellphone: 2-5 bars
Usage: Hiking - Biking - Equestrian - Dogs
Time: 3 hrs.
Facilities: Vault toilet
Trailhead: Tabeguache
Fee: none (donations appreciated)
Attractions: Scenic hills
 

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The Andy's Loop trail is part of the Tabeguache Lunch Loop Trail System located just off Monument Road in the Redlands area of Grand Junction. Andy's Loop is a little less than 3 miles in length by itself. The remaining distance is made up from joining the Eagle's and Tabeguache trails to form a 7 mile loop. Andy's Loop is probably the toughest hike in the Lunch Loop Trail System due mostly to its overall elevation gain of more than 1000 feet and a particularly rough section of trail above the Echo Canyon area. Don't let the elevations listed above fool you. There are several spots along the way where the trail makes lengthy descents and then ascends to reclaim the previous elevation and more.


The Lunch Loop Trail System is managed by the BLM in cooperation with the City of Grand Junction and Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association (COPMOBA) To show your support and appreciation for all the hard work put into building and maintaining these world class trails, and others in the area, you can make a donation at the trailhead or on the COPMOBA website.


The Andy's Loop trail begins about 1 mile from the main trailhead. The first portion of the hike is along the Tabeguache trail. After crossing a seasonal stream bed the trail travels up a wash for almost a quarter mile.


Within a half mile of the trailhead the Eagle's trail branches off to the right from the Tabeguache trail and continues to follow the main wash.


The Pet-e-kes trail forks off to the left after a couple more tenths of a mile and then around a mile and a half from the trailhead the Andy's Loop trail begins by forking off to the right from the Eagle's trail.


Andy's Loop makes its first descent dropping off towards No Thoroughfare Canyon. The trail is a little rocky in a few places but pretty enjoyable for hiking.


After descending from the Eagle's trail the route begins following another small wash. The trail has been rerouted since the last time I hiked it to avoid some private land that has since been fenced off. They did such a good job with the new route that it looks like it has always gone this way.


For about the next mile the trail climbs up and around the south side of the mountain. If you see any mountain bikes they are probably coming toward you down the hill. Starting at the Little Park Road end seems to be the direction of choice for bikes.


When the trail reaches the south side of the mountain it makes a very nasty descent into the wash that spills into Echo Canyon. I'm not sure why the trail takes the exact route that it does because there are several alternatives that look like they would be more preferable. It's almost like the trail builders reached this spot and gave up.


Once the trail enters the wash you can walk down stream about a hundred yards and look down into Echo Canyon and check out how the waterfall looks like from the top. Since the wash is usually dry you will need good timing if you want to see any water.


Right around 4 miles from the trailhead Andy's Loop heads out of the wash and back up the hillside. There is a trail marker here marking the beginning of the Ribbon Trail.


The trail keeps climbing through colluvial collection of massive boulders until it reaches Little Park Road. The BLM has placed some orange flags that mark a future route for the trail in part of this section.


At Little Park Road there are several options on how to get back to the main trailhead. Here is a link from the last time that I hiked Andy's Loop that shows where I crossed the road and followed a branch of the Gunny Loop until I was at the upper Tabeguache trailhead at mile marker 10. That adds about a half mile to the hike. The quickest route though is to walk north along the road for about a tenth of the mile to the Tabeguache trail and follow it back to the main trailhead.


The upper portion of the Tabeguache trail has a few hills of its own that need climbing before you get to the point where it is all downhill to the trailhead. That point is at the top of Widow Maker Hill. The trail does a big drop as it descends this appropriately named slope.


The hike for the rest of the way down the Tabeguache trail is pretty routine. There are lots of side trails that can be taken as alternate routes. They are all fun to explore and each seem to have their own character. I made this hike in the evening after work. It is probably a better hike for earlier in the day when you have a little more time but the days are still long enough that I finished before the sunset. Andy's Loop is another great option for both hikers and bikers in the Grand Junction area.  If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.