Round Trip Distance: 3.2 miles
Elevation: 4531 - 4803 feet
Cellphone: 2-5 bars
Usage: Hiking - Equestrian - Dogs
Time: 1 hr. 30 mins.
Facilities: Vault toilet at Dinosaur Hill
Trailhead: Kodels Canyon
Attractions: Scenic foothills and sandstone cliffs
View Kodels K4/K5/K12 in a larger map
The Kodels Canyon trail system has 12 marked trails that are designated K1 through K12. The K1 trail provides access to the very scenic Kodels Canyon on the Colorado National Monument and the Fruita Dugway trail. This post describes hiking the combined trails K4, K5 and K12, with some minor sections of a few other trails to come up with a very nice short hike.
The Kodels Canyon trailhead is nothing more than a pullout in the bar ditch along Highway 340 across from Dinosaur Hill. The network of Kodels trails can also be accessed from the Devil's Canyon trailhead but many of the trails are easier to get to from here.
Take the right fork following the K2 trail at the first trail marker on the hill above the trailhead.
Follow the trial until it drops down a hill into a wash and veer to the right continuing to follow the K2 trail.
Continue straight ahead when the trail crosses the K7 trail.
When you come to the K5/K6 junction follow the K5 trail to the left.
The K5 trail heads southward towards the K1 trail. The trail travels through a scenic section between a couple of sandstone cliffs.
Turn right when the K5 trail reaches its end at the junction of the K1 trail.
Follow this secluded portion of the K1 trail as it climbs up and over the little hills that are obscured by the sandstone cliffs. There are a couple of steep and slippery sections along the K1 trail that might present a higher level of difficulty depending on your abilities.
Head to the right when the K1 trail is met by the K12 trail.
Follow the K12 trail down its own secluded wash.
Take a right at the next junction and follow the K4 trail up and over the sandy hill.
Continue following the K4 trail as it heads toward the mouth of Kodels Canyon
The K4 trail comes to an end at the K1 trail near the beginning of the Kodels Canyon trail. You might notice some old ruins across the wash at this point that are mostly buried in the sand. There are a lot of sites like this where the opening of rock ledges have been closed off by stacking up rocks. There are also places in the valley where rocks where stacked next to large boulders to create a shelter. Most ruins in the valley were studied by Colorado State University several decades ago but there are so many ruins around it's hard to say if they got them all. I suppose if a person really wanted to know they could check it out with the Museum of Western Colorado. NOTE: It is illegal to remove any items that you might find. If you do find anything when you are out hiking leave it in place and call the museum. They will know what how to handle it.
The trails in the Kodels system are great for trail running, walking your dog, or just taking a hike. The trails cover a big area so even when there are several vehicles at the trailhead you may or may not run into anyone else. It's not fair to judge these trails by the landscape of the first quarter mile. When you get back into some of the little hidden areas you will find a lot to explore. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.