Eagle's Tail

Round Trip Distance: 6.2 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 4695-5742 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 3 hrs.
Trailhead: Tabeguache/Lunch Loop
Fee: none
Attractions: Panoramic views

The Eagle's Tail trail is located in the Tabeguache Lunch Loop Trail System just off Monument Road in the Redlands area of Grand Junction. The Lunch Loop Trail System is located on BLM land and is managed in cooperation with the City of Grand Junction and the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association (COPMOBA). To show your support and appreciation for all the hard work put into building and maintaining these world class trails, and others in the area, you can make a donation at the trailhead or on the COPMOBA website.

With over 1000 feet of elevation gain this is a good hike to strengthen your legs on. The elevation gain is stretched out over 3 miles so it's not quite the workout that something like Mt. Garfield is. The Eagle's Wing leg of this hike takes you to the highest point of all the trails in the group. The Google Earth snapshot above gives a pretty good idea of the profile of the trail. If you add the Google Earth plugin to your browser you can fly over the trail, or any other, by clicking on the Google Map link on this page and setting the view to Google Earth.

The turnoff for the Eagle's Tail trail is within a half mile of the trailhead along the Tabeguache trail. I'm never sure if this turnoff begins the Eagle's Tail or the Pet-e-Kes trail but it leads to both of those plus Andy's Loop.

A little less than 3/4 a mile from the trailhead the Pet-e-Kes trail continues over the ridge and the Eagle's Tail cuts back to the west and begins switchbacking its way the rest of the way up the hill.

At just over 1.5 miles Andy's Loop forks off to the right and the Eagle's Tail continues straight ahead. From this point on the foot tracks greatly out numbered the bike tracks.

The Eagles Tail becomes the Eagles Wing trail around 2 miles at the junction of the High Noon trail. The steepest portion of the hike lies ahead and can be avoided by taking the High Noon trail the short distance over to either the Pet-e-Kes trail or on a little further to the Tabeguache trail. That's one thing about the Lunch Loop Trail System is that there are always lots of options.

The Eagles Connector trail comes in at about 2.7 miles. It is yet another option to get back over to the Tabeguache trail. It is only about another quarter mile or so to the top from this point.

From the high point of the Eagles Wing trail you can look down on pretty much everything else. This photo is looking south toward the Ribbon trail and Bangs Canyon. If you look more directly beneath the cliff you can see where Andy's Loop goes around the base of the mountain and over to the right you can see into Echo Canyon.

The beginning of the Free Lunch trail is at about 3.5 miles. The Free Lunch trail is closed to hikers and has lots of cautions for any mtbs thinking about giving it a try.

The junction of the Lunch Loop trail begins at about 3.75 miles. The Lunch Loop trail is probably the easiest and quickest way to get over to Little Park Road. The fork to the left leads down to the Tabeguache trail. From this point on the trail gets pretty rocky. It made me think that 'rock shocks' are probably about the best thing that has happened to mountain bikes.

From the top of Widow Maker Hill you can see all the way back to the trailhead. The parking lot was full of cars yet I didn't come in contact with anyone since I started out until I was below Widow Maker. And then I saw as many trail runners as I did mtbs.

I love walking out through the clay and bentonite hills in the lower section of the Tabeguache trail. I went through 60 ounces of water and Gatorade on this hike. I noticed that most of the trail runners weren't carrying anything to drink. They probably weren't spending 3 hours on the trail so it must not be any big deal. The Eagle's Tail and Eagle's Wing trails are a lot more challenging for hikers than a lot of trails in the area but they are well worth checking out. If you would like to see them for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.