Kodel's Canyon K3

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 1 - 1.5 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 4535 - 4694 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 45 mins.
Trailhead: Kodel's Canyon
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic overlook




The K3 trail is located in the Kodel's Canyon Area of the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area near Grand Junction and Fruita, Colorado. The trail begins near the Kodel's Canyon trailhead where it makes a loop that leads to an overlook on a ridge with good views of the mouth of Kodel's Canyon and other areas of the Colorado National Monument like Fruita Canyon. Looking west from the ridge one can see most of the other trails in the Kodel's Canyon trail system.


The Kodel's Canyon trailhead is an unofficial parking area in the barditch off of Highway 340. To get there drive south out of Fruita towards the Colorado National Monument. After crossing the Colorado River the first road to the right is Kingsview. Just past that is a spot where you can turn off the highway and park in the barditch. Dinosaur Hill is on the opposite side of the highway just a little further south and that is where the restroom is located.


Follow the trail up the hill that leads directly west from the parking area. After rounding the bend at the fence corner take the left fork following the K1 trail.


Stay on the K1 trail as it heads south until you get to the beginning of the K3 trail. The loop begins immediately at this point. For this post we followed the loop in the clockwise direction by taking the left fork. As you will read later, route finding might be a little easier by going in the opposite direction by taking the right fork.


As the trail heads toward the monument it is well defined and easy to follow.


Getting up the ridge results in about 150 feet of elevation gain requiring a moderate effort but for only a short distance.


At the apex of the loop there is the opportunity to leave the trail and walk the rest of the way over to the rim of the hill where Kodel's Canyon is just ahead. There are several points along the ridge as the trail continues looping toward the north where the views of Kodel's Canyon are even better as far as seeing more of the canyon itself.


The west side of the loop stays close enough to the edge of the hill to enjoy looking over the rest of the Kodel's Canyon trails as you hike.


The route finding problem comes up at the spot the trail leaves the ridge and heads back down to where the loop began. Watch for a small cairn that marks the turn. The alternative is to continue down the ridge where the trail will rejoin the K1 at the exact same spot that the K2 trail does. From there you can follow the K1 trail to the right and get back to the start of the loop and the trailhead or follow the K2 trail straight ahead to get back to the trailhead.


For those that found the cairn and stayed on the main trail there is another short spur that leads over to the K1 that comes up a little before the loop comes to an end.


It is best to stick to the designated routes while hiking in the Kodel's Canyon area. In most cases when hiking on BLM ground it is perfectly permissible to wander around and explore wherever you please but with so many trails and the large number of hikers here it is easy for the official trails to get braided with side trails that make route finding more difficult and make a mess of the trail system.


The Kodel's Canyon trails are very popular with families, horseback riders, dog walkers and trail runners. On any given day you can see all of the above. The trails cover a big area so the parking area is all that ever seems to get crowded. The K3 trail is a nice short hike that is close to the trailhead and with just enough elevation gain that you can still feel like you are getting a little bit of exercise. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.