Vista Grande Loop

Round Trip Distance: 3.1 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 4642 - 4820 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 2 hrs.
Trailhead: Dynamite Trail
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic desert views

The Vista Grande Loop is located in the BLM area just south of the Gateway Canyons Resort in Gateway, Colorado. The trail makes a full loop around a small hill where hikers are treated to scenic views of the surrounding area including 'The Palisade' and the Dolores River Canyon area around the town of Gateway.

The quickest route up to the Vista Grande Loop is from the Dynamite trailhead in the mouth of John Brown Canyon.

Hike up the Dynamite Trail, less than 0.75 miles, to the Vista Grande Loop. For this post we hiked the loop in the counter-clockwise direction.

The trail starts out skirting the east rim of the hill.

The northern end of the brushy mesa has very few trees.

At the trails northern most point it overlooks the sprawling buildings of the Gateway Canyons Resort.

As the trail works its way back along the western side of the hill it is met by the Cutler Rim trail coming up from below.

The two trails share paths for a short distance and then the Cutler Rim breaks off to the right while the Vista Grande trail continues into a small wash.

The dry wash serves as a nice trail.

As the trail begins looping back toward the east it is met by the Lumsden Loop trail. From that junction the Vista Grande trail continues around the hill toward where it began.

Here a rare 'rock tree' can be seen bearing fruit.

It is back down the hill at the junction of the Dynamite trail.

The opposite side of the hill, across the road from where we are parked, has 2 or 3 large metal doors covering what look like large pill boxes built into the sandstone cliff. Maybe that is where the Dynamite trail gets its name. The trails at Gateway can be hiked year round. During the winter months they will be covered with snow at times but not so much that you would need snowshoes. This is the desert so plenty of water would probably be in order on a hot summers day. As far as the Vista Grande Loop goes it should be a pleasant hike at anytime. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.