East Creek

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 2.6 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4797 - 4958 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars
Time: 3 hrs. 45 mins.
Trailhead: Highway 141 MM 150.9
Fee: none
Attractions: Stream, waterfall, swimming holes




View East Creek in a larger map

The East Creek trail is located along Highway 141 in Unaweep Canyon, a short distance from Grand Junction, Colorado. The trail follows the banks of East Creek, past several swimming holes, to a small picturesque waterfall. Bighorn sheep can often be seen in this area of Unaweep Canyon both around the creek and on the surrounding hillsides. The trail is located in the East Creek Day Use Area so camping is prohibited as well as open fires.


Follow Highway 141 for 3.2 miles from its junction with Highway 50. Just past Mile Marker 151 watch for a pullout and turnoff on the right side of the road.


There is ample room for parking in the graveled pullout as well as several other places before the dirt road reaches the creek.


Hike down the road and watch for a well worn trail that heads upstream just before the creek crossing.


The creek never gets much wider than it is in this picture. During very dry years the stream may flow only intermittently.


To avoid obstacles along the creek in a few places the trail climbs to a higher embankment.


Eventually the trail on the east side of the creek will peter out and it will become necessary to cross to the other side. We like to cross where a faint trail picks up on the opposite bank that leads to a rock shelter.


This shelter has been reinhabited more than once in modern times.


Continue past the rock shelter scrambling over boulders at times. As you approach a fork in the trail where the red dirt contrasts sharply with the light colored sand in the wash take the trail to the right that climbs the side of the hill.


After a short distance the trail drops back down into the bottom and comes to a large swimming hole. This spot is right at 1 mile from the trailhead.


About another quarter mile up the creek there is a small waterfall. The trail between the swimming hole and the waterfall is a little more primitive but it is only a short distance. It is possible to get past the waterfall and continue up the canyon but it is very difficult.


Locals like to visit this area year round because it tends to dry out sooner than many other places. We get quite a few search engine hits from people looking for hikes in the area and since this is one of the better ones we decided to post it. Unaweep Canyon is a notoriously rough place to hike. Huge boulders that have calved off from the higher cliffs clog the first 10 miles of the canyon. Because of the roughness most of the trails in the area are very short. If you are looking for a close place to town to cool off your dog or your kids then you might consider going to East Creek. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.