Round Trip Distance: 5.9 miles
Elevation: 4681 - 4921 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Usage: Hiking - Biking - Equestrian - Dogs
Time: 3 hrs.
Facilities: Vault toilet
Trailhead: Tabeguache Lunch Loop
Attractions: Lots of trails close to town, wildflowers
View Holey Bucket/Clunker in a larger map
The Holey Bucket trail is located in the Tabeguache Lunch Loop Trail System. The 'Lunch Loop' trails are very popular with mountain bikers, hikers and runners. It is not uncommon to see vehicles in the parking lot with license plates from all around the country. The Lunch Loop trails in combination with all the other many trails in the Grand Junction area are quickly making this the premiere destination for such activities.
The Tabeguache trailhead is the most popular way to gain access to the trails in the Lunch Loop. A few people will opt instead to park up near milepost 10 on Little Park Road where they can get to the Upper Tabeguache trailhead and the Gunny Loop. There is still one other parking area off of Little Park Road near milepost 12 that has a rougher entrance road but it ties directly into the Holey Bucket and Clunker trails. This post describes beginning at the Tabeguache trailhead on Monument Road but the milepost 12 trailhead is marked on the map in case you would like to check it out.
There are lots of routes that lead over to the Holey Bucket trail but this one is going to follow Curt's Lane to get there and Bentonite Hill to get back. To get to Curt's Lane turn left immediately after passing through the gate and follow the trail between the parking area and the bike park.
Follow Curt's Lane up the hill and across the ridge and take the cutoff over toward Ali-Ali-Loop. Stay to the left as though you are going over to Miramonte Rim but before you get there turn right at the junction for the Gunny Loop and Holy Cross.
Stay to the right at the bottom of the hill where the Gunny Loop and Holy Cross trails separate.
The trail is a lot of fun through here as it wraps around the base of the mountain crossing rock bridges and passing between huge boulders of sandstone.
The Holey Bucket trail begins about 2.3 miles from the Tabeguache trailhead if you have taken the Curt's Lane route.
There are more than one holey buckets along the trail but this one seemed to be the holiest.
The Holey Bucket trail travels around the eastern side of the valley in the northward direction. The trail gradually gains altitude as it heads north.
The outing can be made a little shorter by taking the Gunny Loop trail to the left. For this excursion though we are going straight.
The trail continues to go around the hill and almost crests out at the top. If you go to the left here you will come to the other parking area on Little Park Road within a 100 yards. Access to this side of the Lunch Loop is a lot closer from this parking area.
Indeed, it does look like an old clunker. This may have been the car in the Bonnie and Clyde movie. It looks like Swiss cheese.
The Clunker trail ends at the lower end of the Gunny Loop. If we would have turned off on the Gunny Loop when we crossed it we would have ended up down in this area. The Gunny Loop travels around the base of the hill below Miramonte Rim.
There is a huge boulder along the trail that looks like it has the fossilized remains of a giant tree in it. There doesn't seem to be any opalization like you would find in a lot of petrified wood but it sure does look like a tree.
When you get back to Curt's Lane you can follow it to the trailhead or for a variety you can take Bentonite Hill. It is a steeper but more direct route. It's easy to see that this hike would have been a couple of miles shorter if we would have begun at the milepost 12 parking area. With all the trails in the Lunch Loop system you can put together an outing of just about any length and difficulty that you can image. The Holey Bucket trail is another very well designed and constructed section of the Lunch Loop. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.