Opal Hill

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 2.8 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 4520 - 4768 feet
Cellphone: 2-5 bars
Usage: Hiking - Equestrian - Dogs
Time: 1hr. 30 mins.
Facilities: none (vault toilet at Devils Canyon)
Trailhead: Opal Hill or Devils Canyon
Fee: none
Attractions: wildflowers, numerous collard lizards, opalized wood
 

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Opal Hill is located across Kingsview Road from the Devils Canyon trailhead. The location received its name due to the opals from opalized wood that have been found. Most specimens have already been gleaned from the surface and digging would be needed to find more. You never now what the rain will turn up though.


There is a small unmarked trailhead for Opal Hill just past the turnoff for Snooks Bottom and before the Devils Canyon trailhead. An equestrian parking area is located on the west side of Opal Hill with room for a dozen or so horse trailers.


Opal Hill is very dry and barren for most months out of the year. The trail gets daily year round use but there are usually never more than a few people there at any one time.


After hiking toward the hill the trail comes to the beginning of the loop that runs around the base of the hill. There are places on either side of the hill where you can follow a trail up to the summit. This hike travels around the hill in a clockwise direction and ascends the west slope to the summit then descends the same way and continues around the hill to the beginning.


The major intersections of the trail are well marked. There are a few minor trails that aren't quite as clear but if you have ever seen a map of the trail they are easy to figure out.


The summit provides a good view of the mouth of Devils Canyon.


The area between the north side of the hill and the Colorado River is called Snooks Bottom. It is part of the Fruita Day Use Area.


The population of collard lizards around Opal Hill will probably amaze you. Don't be surprised to see more than you can count on both hands and feet. If you have never seen a collard lizard before then this is your best bet to remedy that.


There are a large variety of wildflowers to enjoy in the spring and early summer. Besides numerous wild onions there are Indian paintbrush, perky sues, larkspur, phlox, evening primrose and biscuit root just to name a few.


Opal Hill is a good place to get some quick exercise and perhaps to take your dog for a walk. The trails usually dry quickly after receiving moisture. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.