Round Trip Distance: 4 miles
Elevation: 4679 - 5466 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Usage: Hiking - Biking - Dogs (unleashed west of park)
Time: 1 hrs. 30 mins.
Facilities: Flush toilet, vault toilet and porta-potty
Trailhead: Palisade Section, Riverbend Park or Heritage Area
Attractions: Paved trails, Disc Golf, Dog run, wildlife
View Palisade Section in a larger map
The Palisade Section of the Colorado River Trail stretches from the Palisade sewage treatment plant on the east end for two miles through Riverbend Park and the Palisade Heritage Area on the west end. The section of the trail that passes by the treatment ponds can be avoided by beginning at the Riverbend Park or Palisade Heritage Area trailheads.
The first section of the trail that travels around the treatment ponds is one of the very first legs of the Colorado River Trail. When it was first constructed it was less than a half mile in length.
Looking across the Colorado River from the bend you can still see an old cannery. I believe they canned everything from fruit to tomatoes and sucker meat according to a former employee.
Harky's Launch, in Riverbend Park, provides access for rafters to the Colorado River. Dogs can run unleashed from this point west through the Palisade Heritage Area. Dog owners are still responsible for their dogs actions, including cleaning up after them, but it is a huge area for them to run loose in.
The trail breaks inland from the river bank in places to meander through the trees.
The local Disc Golf Club maintains a course that makes dual use of the area west of Riverbend Park.
Several sloughs and ditches augment the riparian habitat along the river and provide opportunities for viewing wildlife. Best times for spotting a deer or coyote are in the early morning and late evening hours.
The Palisade Heritage Area is the site of a migrant workers camp that was operational until the 1960's. Many of the foundations can still be seen and if you look across the fence onto the adjoining property you can see one of the original shacks that had been relocated. There are several of these buildings in the valley that came from the camp. It would be a nice touch if one of them could be moved back to the original site to provide a living history experience.
Numerous benches and picnic areas along with large areas of grass provide plenty of spots to relax and enjoy the park and trail.
There are two large ponds that get stocked with fish from time to time. We watched a fly fisherman that was doing very well.
In the summer months there are numerous people that begin float trips down the Colorado River from here and can travel all the way to Loma. Hopefully in the not too distant future hikers, joggers and bikers will be able to follow an uninterrupted trail the same distance. In the meantime, though, the Palisade Section of the trail is still a jewel. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.