One-way Distance: 2.7 miles
Difficulty: Moderate +
Skill level:
Elevation: 4956 - 5681 feet
Cellphone: 2-5 bars
Time: 45 mins.
Trailhead: Bean Ranch
Fee: none
Attractions: Multi-use trail

The Beanstalk is the name we are giving to a multi-use trail in the Bean Ranch Area of the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area south of Grand Junction, Colorado. The Bean Ranch Area has numerous interconnecting roads that we have mapped out and assigned names of our own choosing. We jokingly began calling this trail the beanstalk as we were continually climbing it to get to other trails in the area. After that we began making up names for the other routes and trails following the same 'Jack and the Beanstalk' theme. So far besides the Beanstalk, we have Magic Beans, Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum, Englishman, Golden Egg, Jack's Trail, the Giant's Trail, Hunting Ground, Tunnel Point and Bridgeport Overlook. The last three trails are titled after map features that were already named.

To locals Bean Ranch describes the area that can be accessed via the Bean Ranch Road. To get to the area drive about 4.5 miles south of Whitewater on Highway 50 and turn right onto the Bean Ranch Road. Follow the Bean Ranch Road over the hill. The pavement ends after 1.3 miles and the boundary to the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area comes up after another half mile. The large parking area to the right of the cattleguard serves as the trailhead for this and other posts.

From the parking area we follow the road heading west toward the ridge above the Gunnison River. We have spent a lot of time hiking along the roads and in the adjacent canyons over the years but for this post we are riding our mountain bikes.

A 3-way intersection comes up at about the half mile point. Stay to the right and continue on the main road. The first trail on the left we call 'Magic Beans' as it is at the base of the Beanstalk. The middle fork drops over the hill to what we are calling the Fee and Fi trails.

We stay to the left at the next fork although the right fork will eventually reconnect with the Beanstalk after a short distance. There are several good camping spots on the right fork as well as access to the upper end of the Englishman trail.

The route continues heading west gaining elevation as it goes.

At the next major fork the easier route is to the right.

Easier is a relative term in this case as there is still a pretty steep hill to climb. The good thing is that it is less than a hundred yards to the top.

Once over the hill the trail levels off for awhile.

Stay to the right at the next major fork.

One more hill with a rough section of rock comes up as the next obstacle. There is also a fork here where you can go to the left or to the right and end up at the same spot but the best route is to the right.

The top of the Beanstalk comes up at the fork near the ridgeline. The left fork is the beginning of the Giant's Trail and also leads to the Golden Egg, Tunnel Point and Bridgeport Overlook trails. The right fork is the beginning of Jack's Trail and leads to the Hunting Ground trail and another one or two that we haven't named yet. There is also a connection to the Golden Egg trail that circles a bench above the Gunnison River off of Jack's Trail. If you turn around at this point you will be treated to an awesome downhill ride back to the trailhead. Of course, if you embark on one of the other trails you will still eventually end up heading downhill to get back to the trailhead.

In most years the Bean Ranch Area doesn't get a lot of snow making it a good place to explore and get some exercise during the winter months when there aren't a lot of other options. There are numerous places for primitive camping along the various roads and trails. Climbing the Beanstalk on a mountain bike is also a superb way to stay in shape. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your favorite toy or 'Take a hike'.