Devil's Canyon D6 Trail

Round Trip Distance: 2.2 - 4.6 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 4743 - 5038 feet
Cellphone: 1-4 bars
Time: 1 hr. 30 mins.
Trailhead: Devil's Canyon
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic side canyon

The D6 trail is located in the Devil's Canyon Area of the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area near Grand Junction and Fruita, Colorado. D6 explores a side canyon off of the main trail in the area, the D1, connecting to it in three different places. The D6 trail also provides an alternate route to a portion of the D1 trail for those heading to and from the Flume Canyon or the D5 trail.

To get to where the D6 trail begins follow the directions for the first 1.2 miles of the D1 trail. At that point the D6 trail branches off on the right where it heads into a small canyon.

A short distance into the canyon and the trail splits. For this post we followed the fork to the right and returned via the other branch.

As the trail goes deeper into the canyon it follows along the base of the sandstone cliffs.

It's pretty much impossible for us to hike without keeping an eye out for petroglyphs and pictographs. There are some red marks down low on the cliffs in a couple of places that are from campfires that burned close to the rock but there are two other very faded spots that might be something else. We took this picture and blew it up on the computer for closer examination and outlined some of what we thought we were seeing. If you click on the photo and view the high resolution image you might see even more things that we didn't outline.

There are several spurious trails in the middle of the canyon. To get to the other 2 points where the D6 trail connects to the D1 trail cross the canyon floor toward the southeast and there is another fork. Going to the right at this point leads up to the D1 trail.

Just past the fork the trail passes through an old fence line and begins climbing along the cliff.

Another fork in the trail comes up where taking either direction will lead to the D1 trail. The left fork comes out right before the D1 begins making its big ascent up the road cutout. The right fork joins the D1 as it is traveling along the fault behind the cliffs. For this post we followed the right fork up to the D1 trail and back to this point and then followed the left fork to the D1 and back so that we could include both routes.

The climb up to the D1 leads over a few rocky outcrops but the slope isn't too bad and the scenery is pretty.

At this point of the D1 trail you can head back to the trailhead by going to the left or on over to the D5 trail or to Flume Canyon by going to the right. For us it was an about face and back to the last fork.

Back at that fork we took the other branch out to the D1 trail.

Along this route the trail crosses a little hump and then descends quite a bit along the cliffs and through a wash.

The options are the same at this D1 junction as the last. The quickest possible return to the trailhead is to go left at this spot. It should come out to about 1.6 miles to the trailhead from here.

Retracing the route back to the main D6 trail and then staying to the right at each fork leads back to the mouth of the canyon where we began. The distance comes out to 7 tenths of a mile. From here it is about 1.2 miles to the trailhead via the D1 trail. There is always the option of taking a different route back like the D4 trail though.

The canyon that the D6 trail navigates through is a lot of fun to explore. The remnants of fences and such left behind by settlers or cattlemen raise speculations about how they used the canyon. There is a huge cave tucked away under a big spillover in one area of the canyon that can be seen from the D5 trail that travels around the rim above the D6 canyon. It takes a lot of effort to get up to the cave but the truly adventurous might find it interesting. Anyway, the D6 trail and its spurs are there for one of your next visits to the Devil's Canyon area. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.