Trail #6 - Brian's Trail

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 4480 - 4686 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: McDonald Creek
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenery, pictographs




Trail #6 is located in the Rabbit Valley Area of the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area near the Colorado/Utah state line west of Grand Junction, Colorado. The trail is also known as Brian's Trail on some maps. By itself Trail #6 is only about 1.5 miles long but when combined with a section of the Kokopelli Trail and the road leading to the Knowles Canyon Overlook and campground it can be made into a 4 mile loop. Another quarter mile can be tacked on for a short hike over to some Ute pictographs.


A good place to begin is the McDonald Creek trailhead where there is a vault toilet and plenty of room to park. It is not uncommon to see passenger cars at this trailhead during dry weather.


Head south out of the parking area and bear left after crossing the cattle guard at the Trail #2 junction.


This portion of the route is following the well marked Kokopelli Trail. Powdery sand can be several inches deep over the next half mile of gradual uphill climbing.


The turnoff to the Knowles Canyon Overlook comes up after about 0.7 miles. This is where the loop begins.


Continue on the Kokopelli Trail for another 4 tenths of a mile to the start of Trail #6. The brown marker for the trail might be laying flat on the ground.


After a short distance Trail #6 breaks off on the right as a single track that is open only to hiking, mountain biking and dirt bikes.


At the 1.6 mile point the trail drops over a ridge of sandstone that has a line of alcoves cut into it off to the left of the trail.


We couldn't pass up exploring the alcoves along the cliff as they looked like probable sites to find petroglyphs. We had to hike about a quarter mile along the cliff but we did find some pictographs.


Most of what is there are faded black drawings of riders on horseback. They are very similar to other Ute rock art in the region. We also saw a probable red Fremont pictograph that was also very faded.


As can be seen from the photograph Trail #6 crosses a lot of rolling hills.


Several of them are very steep with abrupt transitions at the bottom. There are also some nice dips that you can catch a little air on. We heard one mountain biker let out a big whoopi to express his own personal satisfaction.


All too soon the trail comes to an end at the Knowles Canyon Overlook Road. It is about a half mile to the right to the overlook.


Non-motorized traffic has the option of following the single track beside the road for part of the trip back to the Kokopelli Trail.


Trail #6 might be short but it has its redeeming qualities. Unless you have a hard time passing up any rock art, no matter how good it is, you won't miss much by skipping the pictographs. We rode the trail but a lot of the hills were too steep for us so we left lots of footprints on them. Fortunately there are plenty of other trails in the area for mountain bikers to create longer rides. As far as hiking goes Trail #6 is just about the right length. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.